The way I see it there is two kinds of luck. Good luck and bad luck. Both can be totally random and happen by chance. Both can also be created and influenced. We use the word luck and lucky quite frequently but what does it really mean? Many may think I’m one of the lucky ones because I survived my circumstances. I think it was a combination of blind luck and a lot of hard work and determination.
a) a force that brings good fortune or adversity. Luck was a big factor in the outcome.
b) the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual. The loser muttered something about bad luck.
I am 17 years clean and sober and initially it came from a desire deep within my soul. I made a conscious choice to change. Words of encouragement helped drive my desire to succeed and the Salvation Army gave me the guidance and tools to influence my journey. The “luck” came in when; an individual handed me a list of numbers for recovery centers months before I even looked at it, and that there was a bed available for me at the Salvation Army when I ultimately made my choice. How much did luck have to do with where I am at today? Let’s take a closer look at luck.
Blind Luck Happens By:
- No skill is involved in the outcome
When we find money on the street, win at a slot machine, or hit the winning numbers in the lottery. It’s completely random and by chance. It’s something beyond our control and shows up every so often out of the blue. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. For example:
- We are walking down a sidewalk and we notice a hundred-dollar bill fluttering in the plants. We bend down and pick it up. We look around to see if anyone is around before pocketing it.
- We go to the store and find an item that is somewhat hidden with the price marked down incredibly low. We do a double check on the price to make sure our eyes aren’t deceiving us.
But consider this…were we lucky or just at the right place at the right time? If we are more observant of our surroundings, do we have a better chance of getting lucky than if we are oblivious to what is going on around us?
Do You Consider This Blind Luck?
- Near tragedy
- Having loving parents
A Close Call
When thinking about blind luck I also think about the near tragedies that can happen to us. Falling asleep at the wheel while driving and waking up just as our car starts to veer off the road. What wakes us up before something happens that could be dangerous for us? Is it the wheel hitting the divider? Or does something beyond our understanding nudge us to wake us up?
Or maybe we pass an accident that just happened and realize if we left just a few minutes earlier it could have been us. Did something hold us up from being on the road a few minutes earlier – so therefore we were lucky? It ‘s interesting to think of the possibilities that come from experiences like this.
I happen to think we are lucky if we are born to good, loving, supportive parents. That is something that can appear to be random, and we have no control over. When we tell someone, they are “lucky” they got good parents it comes from a place of longing. Someone who has amazing parents and has no knowledge of anything different may not be so inclined to make a comment or think like that. They may think it’s the norm. Growing up in a dysfunctional or abusive household would make someone more cognizant of what someone else may have. They might consider it to be good fortune or “lucky” to have parents who behave differently than their own.
Have You Experienced Blind Luck?
I have had a few blind luck experiences that easily come to mind. They were rare, super lucky and at very random times in my life.
In 1987 I was at my company’s Holiday party and was lucky twice in the same night. First luck of the night; I was sitting on a chair at my table that had the “X” underneath it, so I won the centerpiece gift that one person at each table received. The luck continued when they were calling raffle numbers out to give gifts away. We didn’t buy these and each of us had 1 ticket. When they got to the grand prize, which was 2 roundtrip tickets for anywhere in the U.S. plus $500 spending money, they called my number. It was the Grand prize of the night, and I got it!
Back in the late eighties I went to play bingo with my husband. It was the last game of the night, and it was a blackout bingo (meaning you had to cover every number on your card). The prize was the “big one” that rolled over each week if no one hits bingo by the 59th number. My husband was closer to covering his numbers than I was and once we got to number 53, 54, I was thinking he might get it. But I was also getting numbers and I caught up to him. As the 59th and final number was called I had the number and got the blackout. No one else called out but me so I got the jackpot on my own. I think the prize was $1,200. For me, that was HUGE. I felt lucky!
When I was in my addiction and homeless, I got pulled over by a police officer. He checked my license and found I was driving on a suspended license. Because of the way I was acting he put me in the back of the police car while he checked out my vehicle. I may have had crystal meth in my vehicle at the time but because I had so many containers (which was the contents of my life) loaded to the brim in my vehicle, I just remember seeing the officer roll his eyes as he swung his arms up like, “What am I supposed to do with all this?” I guess he didn’t want to go through the trouble, so he let me go. I remember feeling very lucky.
CREATING OR INFLUENCING LUCK
How many times have we said to someone that they are “lucky” for finding their perfect partner? Or that someone’s “lucky” they get to go see a band we’ve always wanted to see? Maybe it’s just a figure of speech because is it really considered luck? Many fortunate things in life happen due to a will, desire and hard work. Essentially setting yourself up for success.
Can we actually create or influence how lucky we are by improving our odds of success?
- Finding the perfect partner
- Surviving a tragedy
- Getting a home
- Landing the job you’ve always wanted
- Tickets to see a legendary band
The Perfect Partner
You may have been fortunate enough to find the right partner the first time around. Or you may have had to go through many partners before finding the right one. I think some luck was involved because you had to meet to begin with. But after that, it is all on you. Because I have not found the “perfect” partner I cannot expand too much in this area, but I’ll share some of my thoughts. I think for me, I had to go through a lot and learn about myself before I could recognize what a good partner was. Because of my terrible childhood, I was very closed off, but I didn’t know I was closed off at the time.
I think we tend to gravitate towards individuals that bring a familiarity that was like our upbringing. The reason I believe this is because that is all I ever knew. It is not blatantly clear to us why we are attracted to a certain type. We just are. When I look at whom I’ve dated in my past, I always seemed to pick guys that cared more about themselves than anyone else. It was a familiar trait of my father. They had qualities of egoism, arrogance, selfishness, entitlement, and narcissistic tendencies. We may not “think” we are choosing individuals that are like the people who raised us, but I think subconsciously we are. I found this as one of those “aha” moments for me.
By realizing that I pushed the good guys away and gravitated to a certain type that wasn’t good for me, it made sense. It might be what I thought I deserved. If you are mentally healthy, know yourself and what you want in a partner (and can allow good things in) – I believe good relationships will come to you. We may need to work on ourselves more so we can love ourselves enough to realize we do deserve a loving, caring partner. Once we grow internally, we will be more apt to select better people for ourselves.
Surviving a near tragedy is blind luck, but I think surviving a tragedy is influenced.
If you suffered an accident and survived, it may have been blind luck. But if the accident left you with physical and emotional damages you now must work harder than most to get yourself back, mind, body, and soul. This is not blind luck. This is work on your part. You must want to get better and work hard to get there. There is no easy way around it and it won’t just happen for you. It isn’t just healing the body, but the emotional damage too. Healing the mind might be the hardest part. There will be fear to overcome so you don’t limit your future. It may be lucky that you survived, but the success of recovery is created and influenced by you.
Home Sweet Home
There are many ways to get a home. One might be that you inherited one. That seems lucky, and it might be. But if it is someone you loved and you had a choice, would you rather have them back then have their home? I guess it depends on who left the home and if you feel lucky or grateful. I think I would lean more towards gratitude than luck.
Most individuals that want to own a home plan for it. They save money for a down payment and once they feel financially ready, they find something within their budget and make the purchase. Many of us want a home of our own but we do not take the steps needed to get there. It has nothing to do with luck but only the desire and motivation to make it a reality. If you want to stop paying rent to someone else and invest in yourself, then start planning now and stick with it. It is surprising once we put the wheels in motion and stay with our plan how the “dream” starts to become a reality. You’re never too late to set yourself up for success. Just begin.
The Perfect Job
Dream jobs don’t normally just land in our lap. We usually earn them. It takes desire to go after our dreams. Landing the perfect job may feel lucky – but don’t sell yourself short. It took drive and determination to put yourself out there and not only apply for the position, but convince them that there is no better person for the job.
If the dream job is to start a business, then hard work will get you there. It may not come easily. Setting up a plan and not giving up are the biggest things that can be influenced. Often, we think of doing something bold, but that is as far as it goes. Entrepreneurs are out there creating a business for themselves; if they can do it, you can too.
Front Row Center
Getting a great seat at a concert might be considered random luck…but going to a concert? – Not so much. If your favorite band is coming to your city, buy the ticket! Create the opportunity for yourself.
Do you ever feel like sometimes it’s always something? A black cloud is following you overhead? The universe is against you? When we feel like we’ve been hit with bad luck, it seems like a streak of one thing after another. Unfortunate things happen that is beyond our influence and certainly can be random.
Maybe it happens to teach us something about ourselves. Maybe it will test our patience and attitude. Or maybe we are lacking in gratitude for the good things that happen in our lives. I do believe that bad luck can be created and influenced. If you set yourself up for disaster or failure then it is certain to come. With great risk there can be great reward but also great defeat.
We can all use more luck in our lives. Good fortune makes us feel happy. The times we are down on our luck tend to make us thankful and grateful for the times we feel the pendulum swing the other way. What about divine intervention?
Is something or someone helping us in ways that are beyond our understanding? I tend to believe we are getting help from above. Call it God, a guardian angel, or the universe. Something’s bigger at play. Some things happen or occur in such perfect timing that it makes it nearly impossible to believe that it was just by random chance.
So the question remains: Did luck have anything to do with where I am at today? Getting my family back, my desire to go back to college and get my Bachelors Degree, find a job where I could thrive, and to write my book are all things I worked hard for. They are successes I earned because of my choice to recover my life. I influenced the outcome.
Whether you receive blind luck, luck through your influence of hard work and determination or help from above, it is a time to rejoice and always be thankful.