Is it luck?

Your friend was able to get into that prestigious college. The girl who sits next to you in class received the highest grade on the last exam. On the way to class a man sped by you driving a brand new sports car. The guy living next to you is dating the best-looking girl you’ve seen on campus. These people sure are lucky, aren’t they?

But there is no luck, at least not in most everyday situations (unless you’re a daily Russian Roulette player). Yet people are quick to assert that anyone better off than them was simply the “luckier” one.

Luck implies good fortune is beyond the control of those who receive it. The people described as “lucky” above simply knew how to develop their own opportunities. They created their own good fortune.

Luck doesn’t fill out a college application for you. Luck doesn’t give you high grades (although in a week many of us will be praying it does). Unless won in a raffle, luck doesn’t take out an auto loan and get you a vehicle. And, unfortunately, luck isn’t going to find you a date this weekend.

If life were like “The Price is Right,” would the “haves” be the ones consistently landing on 100, while the “have-nots” are grandmas unable to even move the wheel who end up on the floor with broken hips? Why do the “have-nots” think the “haves” are better at spinning the wheel of luck? Because blaming the eternal cosmos for their own shortcomings is easier than admitting they failed to develop the opportunities for themselves. Most people are not able to recognize the multiple opportunities they are given each day.

Little things take away from our ability to take advantage of these opportunities. Fear, nervousness, doubt, procrastination, other negative emotions and insecurities prevent us from doing things we know could improve our lives. And when others are able to overcome these things, we call it “luck” – and deny the reality that we could have taken a similar path and arrived at the same destination.

Seemingly tiny missed opportunities add up in the long run. These little opportunities pave the way to the bigger ones, the ones you’ll claim other people got through luck. If you want to be in their shoes, you need to start making the most out of each and every day. For example, that pretty girl you’ve been attracted to all semester but you’ve been too scared to make a move on?

Unfortunately, you’ve waited too long and missed your opportunity. She and I started dating last week. Turns out she was just waiting for someone to ask her. I suppose you could call me “lucky.”

Read the Ka Leo version here.

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