We all know the story. Once upon a time there was an orphan girl with an evil stepmother and two horrible stepsisters. One day, a fairy godmother made her a dress and some very breakable footwear so she could attend a royal ball. The girl had a great night partying it up with the prince but unfortunately had to leave before midnight. She ran away, losing her glass slipper in the process. In the days that followed, the prince eagerly searched for the rightful owner of the shoe. Upon finding the girl, he instantly married her and they lived happily ever after.
How lucky was Cinderella? She got the shoes, the guy and the palace. So unrealistic, or is it?
The real world isn’t exactly a fairy tale. Nevertheless, a story like Cinderella’s actually holds more truth than you think. Here is why:
- Cinderella might have gotten her happy ending eventually, but let’s not forget she worked her ass of all her life. It might be true that good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who take initiative and actively pursue their dreams. Life doesn’t come with an elevator, you have to take the stairs. And that might not be such a bad thing, because if you work for it, you appreciate it more.
- Cinderella had a goal. She knew what she wanted and she went for it. Whether you want a donut, a house or a singing career, only if you know what you want you can act on it. In the end it’s the will, not the skill and that means putting in the work. Your actions reflect your priorities. When you spend time on something and you persevere through hardships, you must really want it.
- Working hard doesn’t mean you don’t get to ask for help. Cinderella got help: a fairy godmother as a stylist and some mice as motivational speakers. Accept help in the right way though. Ask how, not what. The goal of sourcing help should be to learn and not just to get the answer. That way asking for help is only another opportunity to grow.
- Working hard also means taking risks. Cinderella took a major risk going to the ball. She probably had never even walked in glass slippers before, let alone danced in them all night. Dare to take a risk, don’t wait for luck to strike. It’s true that risks don’t always work out, but at least you’ll know you tried. And failing is just a perception. You don’t really fail. You either win or you learn.
- Lean into discomfort in order to move forward and become stronger. Before she got her perfect Disney princess personality, Cinderella must have gone through some hardcore personal development. What you learn by climbing up those stairs to reach your goal shapes your personality. Take time to learn and don’t rush. Invest in yourself so you can grow as a person. Start to take some responsibility for your own happy ending.
Sometimes when the evil stepmothers of this world turn up all you might want to do is give up. But if fairy tales teach us anything it is to never ever lose hope. That’s not unrealistic, it’s just hard. Be aware that life has its magical moments but also its hardships. That doesn’t mean you won’t reach your goals. Know what you want in life, put in the work, don’t be afraid to ask for help, take risks and invest in yourself. You are capable of writing your own fairytale.