A couple of weeks ago, I came across a reading that talked about “luck” and what it means to be “lucky.”
I’ve never been exactly sure about where I stand on the topic of luck, fate and free will but what I do know is that as certain events occur throughout my life, my ideas and thoughts on this topic shift.
I’m influenced by what I experience and from what I’ve experienced, I’ve always felt somewhat off when I’ve worked hard to succeed at something and someone makes the comment “oh, you’re so lucky.”
Think about it this way: someone trains at their sport for years and after three failed attempts to pass the Olympic trials, they succeed. Immediately following the good news, an observer approaches the athlete and says:
“Congrats! You’re so lucky, good for you!”
Lucky? Do years of training and failure sound like good luck?
This is how I imagine one might react in this situation.
Here’s another situation: a young girl reads and researches cooking all throughout her childhood. Every chance she gets, she’s watching the Food Network and scribbling down recipes as quickly as her little hands will allow her. One day, after countless bouts with burnt pans and overcooked dishes, she cooks what she feels is the perfect salmon dish. After entering her dish in a local contest, she wins. An older and more seasoned chef—no pun intendedwalks over to the girl (after recently losing to her in the contest) and pats her on the back telling her that “she can thank beginner’s luck for her big win today.”
With both of these situations, hard work is what allowed the lucky break to take place.
I think that I’ve had a skewed understanding of what luck is up until this realization.
I think I thought that luck is some blissful, good fortune that we have no control over.
Sure, things happen and someone who has never played soccer can automatically make an insane shot their first try when they’re just out on the field messing around with some friends.
These instances happen and in these cases, I do believe that sometimes, amazing moments occur by chance when no hard work, research or time was spent leading up to the moment.
However, on the whole, my point is that in certain situations, you set yourself up to be lucky. All the preparing that leads to the lucky break is how one becomes lucky. Hard work = luck.
The multiple failures and years of practice that the athlete spent preparing for the trials lead them to their good luck.
The years of researching, learning and passion that lead the young chef to win the contest led her to her good luck.
Twyla Tharp, American dancer and choreographer, says “you don’t get lucky without preparation, and there’s no sense in being prepared if you’re not open to the possibility of a glorious accident.”
Essentially, luck is a skill and just like any skill, you have to hone it and practice it in order to not lose the mobility and use of that skill. By using this skill, we can set ourselves up to be lucky. It’s as if the hard work and preparation is 90% of becoming lucky and the last 10% is just showing up to be present for the glorious moment.
In another quote, Twyla says that “generosity is luck going in the opposite direction, away from you. If you’re generous to someone, if you do something to help him out, you are in effect making him lucky. That is important. It’s like inviting yourself into a community of good fortune.”
These two quotes brought me to my current understanding of luck and how I perceive its role in my life and the life of those around me. Whether we’re setting ourselves up to be lucky, or we are showing generosity towards another (setting them up to be lucky), we are making our world and their world a better place.
As it turns out, I believe in luck.
I believe that luck is a product of hard work and persistence and in order to be lucky, we have to embrace the chance that luck is entirely possible and probable if we just put in that 90% and show up for the lucky moment to take place.
The harder you work, the luckier you become.