I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it ~
More times than I can count I have had people tell me, “You are so lucky.” And this sentiment is issued with varying degrees of scorn, appreciation, disdain or frustration. An old friend of mine used to say to me, “If this story doesn’t end with you getting a ticket, I don’t want to hear it,” when I would explain why I was late to work, having been pulled over again (no tickets.) An acquaintance in Hong Kong who I am around here and there always, always goes on about how lucky I am with just about every element of my life (I find this tedious and a bit insulting.) I hear students say it all the time, “That guy is so lucky – he got into Stanford!” (Oh yeah, that was random. Riiiggghhhtt.)
Like Thomas Jefferson, I am a big believer. And also, just like the old guy, I have found that the harder I work the more of it I have.
Ex #3 used to say to me all the time, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I think about this often. He was in oil exploration, so I see his point. I also understand how you could be quite taleted and theoretically, very unlucky and then always be coming up short. But I have to question such talent. I have decided, I would rather be good… luck will follow.
I started thinking about luck the other day when I was reading a blog by one of my oldest friends, Moneky Mama… As I read her post about her dad, who is kinda like one of my dads, I was just thinking, “Man, we were so lucky to grow up around the people we did and the way we did and where we did and when we did.” I felt a bit nostalgic, truth be told. And when I think about my family, and my friends, I do feel so ridiculously lucky. And the same when I think about the work that I do, I feel really lucky that I seriously enjoy my work. Srsly. (Not to be confused with loving my job, by the way.) But actually, no. I feel fortunate. Not simply lucky.
Lucky: Occurring by chance; fortuitous
Fortunate: Bringing or indicating good fortune; resulting favorably; auspicious
These are fairly synonymous terms, I know, but I read something different into them. Being lucky seems like total happenstance, whereas being fortunate, to me, seems consequential of things less random or arbitrary. Perhaps I am being picayune. Perhaps not. I am grateful everyday for the life that I have and the people I have in it. Every single day. And that is pretty freaking cool. I am also immersed in a culture that is consumed with the idea of luck – but I wonder if anyone has ever considered the relationship between the Chinese (Asian, even) work ethic and their obsession with luck. My Chinese friends have myriad mechanisms to encourage good luck and good fortune, but they never rely solely on luck no matter how much they believe in it… they honestly, totally, wholeheartedly work for it. I think they are definitely on to something.
Is it an accident that I have so many awesome people in my life? Is it arbitrary that I know so many people who are well connected and willing to help? Is it just good luck that I have skills that allow me to always have a job, a home and a lifestyle I desire? I defer to the Jefferson on this one. I have worked hard, and I have been careful (mostly) with decisions I have made. If I have not made my own luck, I am certain I have contributed to it. I try to avoid acting like a total jackass and accept that when I do, I am decidedly less lucky. Coincidence? You be the judge.
I realize that this whole thing could come across as ridiculously arrogant, (which I am sometimes) but that is not really the intention. The last few years I have watched the cycle of gratitude and good fortune and the way they feed off each other. In my life this relationship has manifested itself in tangible ways time and again. Am I lucky? Maybe. Am I grateful? Definitely. Rather be lucky than good? Eh – that is your judgement to make… But if you think luck just happens, you have been eating too much of that manky cereal with the stale marshmallows.
[However, if it is simple, dumb luck that prevents me from getting tickets… who am I to moan about it – call me lucky.]