You can pluck fruit from trees, and feathers from chickens. And you can of course also pluck up courage, which was how the word ‘plucky’ was conjured up in the early 19th century, to mean having courage and spirit in trying circumstances.
It’s a fine word, I’ve always thought, which seems to sound like what it stands for.
However I rather suspect that ‘trying circumstances’ are what most of us would think of as our daily lives, even though the challenges we face may be as nothing compared to a kid living on the street in Calcutta, say.
The thing is though, it’s not terribly feasible that you’ll go through life jumping from one success to another with the ease of a honey-bee instinctively gliding its way between pollen-rich blossoms.
The first time you try something, whether it’s baking a cake or riding a bike, you may not meet with the result you’d expected.
Perhaps your sultanas will sink to the bottom. Maybe you’ll scrape your knees and elbows (this latter having to do with bike-riding, you understand – it would indeed be most unfortunate to do yourself this degree of damage in the kitchen).
It’s when things don’t go your way that it pays to be a bit plucky: to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
Strategies for doing so may include having a quiet inner belief that you’ll get there – as you almost certainly have in the past. They may also embrace the idea that ‘right first time’ is a less helpful approach than it is to believe in ‘trial and error’.
Think about a time when some may have considered you plucky. What made them believe this? What were your strategies for bouncing back in the past?
And how might you use them in the present?