What’s your definition of luck?
When I told my mom the other day that I was going to write an article about “Luck”, she smiled and said “You’ve had so much luck in your life, it should be an easy topic for you to write about!” Hmmm, I had a stupor of thought when she said that!
When I asked my Facebook friends what they thought of when they hear the word “luck” this is what they said “Vegas, the Lotto, and Walking on the Edge.”
Did you know that “luck” is a noun AND a verb? The noun definition is “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” The verb definition is “chance to find or acquire.” Notice the word “chance” is in both definitions. Chance has multiple definitions and they all include the words, accidental, absence of obvious design, and fortuitous! Chance, by definition, means “The way that events happen when they are not planned or controlled by people.”
Do you consider yourself lucky – successful brought on by chance rather than your own actions? Most people think of luck as a consequence of chance, but I really prefer the idea that “Luck is where hard work meets opportunity”, a quote attributed to Elmer Letterman and any number of folks according to my Google search! I believe I’ve worked hard at “being lucky” and when I explained that to my mom, she agreed.
When I was a kid, I was “lucky” to be athletic and play tennis and swim. In reality, I was born with good genes, and I worked very hard at tennis and practiced my swimming techniques many hours per day.
When I was a teenager, I was “lucky” to be on the honor roll and get selected into one of the most prestigious private schools in the North East. In reality, I studied very hard for my grades and when I got to Phillips Exeter Academy, I was met with some of the smartest kids in the United States and I worked my buns off for the next two years to prove that I could be “one of them.” Incidentally, even in a school full of “smart kids”, half of them were going to be in the bottom half of the class and we had to work hard at accepting that fact – no luck there, it’s the truth!
When I was in my mid-twenties, I was “lucky” to be accepted in the United States Air Force Intelligence program. According to my recruiter, I was lucky to be one of 5 young women in my class and YES, I worked harder than most because I wanted to be the BEST in my class. There was nothing “lucky” in any of my preparation and selection– there was only HARD WORK!
When I was in my early 50s, I was “lucky” enough to become an owner of an international company. I was also “lucky” to be inducted into the widow’s club, the single’s club, and the totally exhausted working mom’s club. This time I truly believe in luck being by chance because I certainly didn’t work hard to be included in these groups. I did, however, work hard to succeed and move forward out of all of them though.
I recently read that Oprah Winfrey said “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.” Preparation equates to hard work in my mind. Many people say that Oprah is lucky – she’s one of the wealthiest women in the world, she wears beautiful clothes, she has influential friends and she can do anything she wants, whenever she wants. However, look back at her life to truly understand how she came to be in all of those “lucky” positions. She grew up in poverty and endured horrible abuse. She worked hard in school and in every job she was offered. When given the opportunity to STAND UP and SPEAK UP, she did it and does so whenever and wherever she can today.
We can be like Oprah, or Ruth Bader Ginsberg, or Maya Angelou. We can be like J. K. Rowlings, or Pele, or Chris Gardner. We all have something that has happened in our lifetimes that might keep us “down in our luck” yet if we stay positive and strive to combine hard work, preparation and opportunity then we’ll truly be lucky and we won’t necessarily have to be Irish to be successful this month!