Be Smart About Art

If life gives you pigeons, make pie

written by: Susan Mumford March 29, 2015 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 4160 views

If life gives you pigeons, make pie

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here

I enjoy meeting people, discovering their interests and exploring ideas. Recently while attending a networking reception, I found myself in conversation with a man who finds his work unfulfilling. After making it clear that he doesn’t enjoy the day job, he moved on to talking about how people are only successful if they have good luck. According to his worldview, some people randomly have good things happen to them, and others draw the short straw in life. Too bad, that’s how it is.

He went on and on - quite the conversation killer. I quickly moved on: “Right then… good talking with you. In the interest of networking, let’s carry on meeting people. Enjoy the rest of the event.” He awkwardly responded with a nicety and moved onto the next unsuspecting victim.

There’s a problem with his view: that life happens to people.

If you’re unhappy in your job, do something to change it. If you’re not having enough shows, go and stage some. If you’re not doing as much as you want in your art career, create time to get stuff done.

Successful people are often told by admirers, “you have such good luck.” Know what the fans don’t see? The numerous hurdles the successful people had along their paths. When you put yourself out there, you create good and bad luck. It’s the good stuff that most people see.

This brings to mind a story from my early days as a business owner. I had accepted an invitation to attend a Summer’s networking reception overlooking the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament. It was splendid! Following the formal event, a number of attendees moved onto a local business club. While parking my bicycle outside the venue, I felt something hit my beautiful new sandals. Uh-oh, a pigeon had done its deed from above. Taking the incident in my stride, I cleaned up the mess and carried on with the day.

Only hours later, I was walking home when something splattered my hair. You guessed it; pigeon number two had made its presence known. What on earth?! Twice. In. A. Day.

Walking along the street in search of a venue with loo for a quick tidying job, I pondered to myself: “What does this mean?” Clarity struck. I was putting myself out there in life. I wasn’t sitting in an office building from 9-5 day in, day out. I was going out and making things happen. And when you do that, you expose yourself. Some bad luck is going to come your way.

I came to see the two pigeon incidences in a single day as a positive reminder that I wasn’t waiting for opportunities come to me; I was going out and making life happen. It’s a matter of perspective.



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Hi Susan

I recall a similar situation which happened to me full many a year ago.

My friend Bill and I made our way to a Middle Eastern Bazaar. We had come there looking for Roman and Byzantine coins which we both knew and understood.

As we walked along the narrow passageway on the way ......... A direct hit was scored, by a passing pigeon, on Bill's head! Being his buddy the sum of my assistance was to dissolve into unstoppable jollity. I told him that in ancient times such an incident was a presage of exceeding good fortune - which we could expect to find later that day.........

Five minutes later we were in the Bazaar looking at a dealers stock. For a nominal sum I bought an exceedingly rare and valuable 7th century bronze coin!

When I see Bill today, more then 25 years later - I repeat the tale with a smile ..... Observing that the "brown stuff" fell on the wrong head that day!