I Wish You Success

by - 7:47 PM

When I was a kid I used to 'taste' words. A new word had to be tested first. It was rolled around on my tongue, stretched and shortened, repeated until it was mine. Some words tasted great, others felt bad in my mouth. 'Emmer', the Dutch word for bucket, never felt right, whereas 'waarom', the Dutch word for 'why', become one of my favorites rightaway.
As I grew up and started new languages, I added another element to my word tasting: the literal meaning. Some words are great in one language, while they're absolute rubbish in another language. For example: the Dutch word for vacuum cleaner literally means 'dust sucker'. I'll take that over 'vacuum cleaner' any day. But to be honest, i usually think that English and Spanish words are better than Dutch words. Dutch ahs the tendencay to sound harsh and slightly angry. English sound friendlier. Except for this one case: wishing someone good luck.

My best friend doesn't speak Dutch, so whenever I have an exam he says 'good luck'. I know he says it with only the best intentions, but it irks me, as a Dutch girl, to no end. Because here in the Netherlands, we know the concept of wishing each other good luck, but we use completely different words to make it reality. We wish each other success. When someone has an exam or assessment, we simply say "Success!" to them. I don't know about you, but success is something I'd rather have than good luck.

It's the sound of 'good luck' that irritates me. As if I only need good luck to achieve awesome results. As if my result depends on coincidence and luck rather than skill and hard work. No, I don't like the sound of that. The words taste right, but they're not the words I'm looking for when I want to wish you all the best and great results.
Success is what I want to wish you. Because I know you have the skills to achieve awesomeness. You don't need good luck for that, you've got matter in your own hands. You deserve credit for all your hard work, you deserve the success you've been working so hard for. So that's what I'll wish you. Success.


We've probably never met. Maybe we never will. I don't know what's going on in your life, but I know one thing: you can do this! You can make all your dreams come true, not matter how big they are, if you work for it. So go, make your dreams come true. You don't need good luck for that. I won't wish you good luck for it, not now, not ever. No, I'll wish you success instead. Time and time again.

Stay Awesome!

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4 Fellow Ramblers

  1. I love this perspective :) I think it's an Ireland thing that we talk about luck all the time, but I prefer your way of looking at it. People here always say 'good luck with' (whatever) at the end of a conversation, and if the person isn't going anywhere in particular, you just say 'good luck to you'. The Irish phrase for good luck is 'may the road rise to meet you', which I think shows how low our expectations are - we're dependent on luck even to get on the road :)

    I can relate to some languages expressing the sentiment better than others. I read an article the other day about how Irish has weird words for animals, for example 'ladybirds' (lady-bird, that makes no sense either..), is 'boín Dé', literally meaning 'God's little cows'. I hope that brightens your day as much as it brightened mine :)

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    1. I didn't know it could be used to end a conversation. That's so interesting! For some reason I love hearing about figures of speech that are used in a different way in other countries. 'May the road rise to meet you' sounds kind of philosphical to me - that, or lazy. As if you'll never get on the road if the road doesn't get to you first XD
      And yes, God's little cows did brighten my day. I always thought they were called 'ladybugs', so I learned two new things today :)

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  2. I love your first sentence!
    In Chinese we usually say 'jīa yóu'. The literal meaning of 加油 (jia you) is 'filling a machine with petrol" , so as to have more power to run longer, but it is kind of like saying "go for it" or "you can do it".
    I do know that in Japanese they say 'ganbatte', it literally means, “Do your best”. It's interesting how the English phrase is sort of spiritual and wishing for some good luck to be brought to you, whereas the Chinese and Japanese version emphasizes your own efforts.

    And 'jia you' can be used in a lot of situations- before exams or tests, as a form of encouragement; when someone feels tired, like during a camp where everyone is drained out, as a morale booster; during a competition as a form of a cheer...

    Come to think of it, there are a lot of words in Chinese that are really interesting when directly translated. Cobra is 眼镜蛇 which literally is 'eyeglasses snake'; owl- 'cat head eagle'; kangaroo- 'bag mouse'; lizard- 'wall tiger'; giraffe- 'long neck deer'... there's almost an endless number of words that are really interesting when directly translated to English.

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    1. Thank you!
      'Do your best' is something we sometimes say in Dutch too, but 'success' is more commonly used. I think it's all a cultural thing too, whether a language puts emphasis on something spiritual or your own efforts.
      After hearing all those awesome names for animals I'm kind of bummed out that I gave up on learning Chinese XD

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