Lucky Lucky Me!

What is luck? defines it as: “the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities.” This is probably how most of us would define it too, if we talked like that. The problem with luck is that, though it is often referred to as a force, most of us think of it as an arbitrary one. We imagine luck like wind, blowing through the air around us, gentle brushing some with good fortune and mercilessly knocking others down without warning. Luck, to most of us, is a capricious creature; some people it likes, others it hates. Lady Luck smiles on her blessed and crushes anyone else beneath her heel.

But let’s not be ridiculous- we’re rational people here, luck is just what we call it when things work out well for us. Whether it’s through serendipity or a sudden chance, when something goes well for us we say, “What good luck!” And when something doesn’t we say, “What rotten luck.” Really, folks? I understand if you believe in a higher power that shapes things; one that interacts with man on a day-to-day basis and decides who gets what and what is fair. That kind of Paternal or Maternal deity is something I can get my head around someone believing in. But “Luck”, a random force that bestows gifts and damnation willy-nilly for no apparent reason? That’s just caveman silliness.

The great G.K. Chesterton wrote: “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” This is the key to luck, or rather, what we perceive to be luck. Luck is after all, an issue of perception. Events are events, they happen. We may have a lot to do with how they happen and when, but there are times when the outcome is out of our hands. (At times it can seem that there are more of these than the ones we have a say in.) In those cases we can be either “lucky” or “unlucky”, things can work out in our favor or against us. But what we need to understand is that it is not a question of some unseeable force- it is simply a question of decision.

Perception, as I said, is the key. Most of us can’t work on how we perceive things on the physical level- we see how we see and we hear how we hear- you could get glasses or a hearing aid, but they’re not really changing how we do the act, just augmenting the information coming in. When it comes to Mental Perception, though, we’re in luck. Pavlov and others proved that we can “trick” our brains into making associations and connections based on reinforcement, we can literally teach our minds how to think about certain things. This can’t, of course, change how the actual stimulus actually is, but it can allow our perception of it, our response to it, to be adjusted.

Your car breaks down on the way to a meeting. Your computer crashes the night before a big paper is due. These are unforeseen events that can seriously mess you up. But that doesn’t mean they’re unlucky. Maybe the meeting was going to be a disaster and by re-scheduling it you have a second chance. Maybe the paper you are forced to write in the solitude of the library will end up being a finer piece of work. You certainly won’t know until the papers are given back or the second meeting. You’re definitely not helping things by whining about your “bad luck” or getting angry.

Things happen. They are neither lucky or unlucky, they are neither good nor bad, they just are. How you decide to perceive events is what really matters.

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3 Responses to “Lucky Lucky Me!”

  1. mike says:

    I find that sometimes the seemingly disappointing instances that come my way really turn out to be the best. I recently missed a flight which ended up leaving me stranded in the airport for over 6 hours. During the wait I met a guy who ended up become a great client. I’m sure their are others with similar stories.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Auto Maintenance Man, Ego Friendly. Ego Friendly said: What is Luck? How do we get it? […]

  3. abbie says:

    i dont believe in getting luck for nothing, people work hard for what they have people earn luck people who deserve luck recieve it n those who dont that do need it are shared luck by others more forunate. ‚ô• always think positive and work hard and u shall recieve luck which is really just fortunes in return for effort

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