I'm not going to wake up tomorrow having won the lottery (and simultaneously gotten out of debt and exorbitantly rich); eloped; created my own business or non-profit (and, therefore, the perfect career); and gotten the chance to vacation anywhere and any time I want. The odds of that happening are not in my favor, and not just because I haven't played the lottery in two full years.
The fact that, that is true -- that everything I want isn't going to come to fruition tomorrow, doesn't at all mean that life itself is hopeless. It just means that success in life comes via baby steps and slow-but-steady progress (#453). It means that you don't build a career in a day; you build it over decades. And "happily ever after" isn't something you acquire in a moment; it's a way of living intentionally, day by day. Likewise, financial security is a constant and difficult but rewarding endeavor, and vacations are special occasions, rather than constant. In other words, there is no shortcut -- only hard work and patience.
During this process I have come to embrace this knowledge as freeing instead of disappointing. Suddenly I can put less pressure on myself -- and others! -- in this very moment. One bad day isn't going to derail my relationship, career, financial well-being, chance to take a vacation or general happiness. It's just a bad day. Likewise, I remain humble in the good days, because I still have to put forth my best effort the next day. All in all, I learn to live life one day at a time, and as Ida Scott Taylor said, "One day at a time: that is enough."
There still are days, of course, that I feel hopeless or overly arrogant, but those days happen less frequently since I've learned these important lessons. I find myself grateful and humble far more often, and that is something to be grateful for.