With St. Patrick’s Day comes a time to ponder some of life’s most precious essentials-, parties, beer, and Irish heritage (both real and faux) are some, but another idea brought up with this holiday is that of luck.
However, what exactly is “luck?” Is it even real? Perhaps too often, we use the notion of luck and ignore the possibility that our circumstances are, quite logically, results of our own actions. Whether it’s good or bad, luck is the title given to something that is entirely self-made.
As someone who is tragically notorious for having “bad luck,” it took me a while to figure this out. Like most individuals, when hit with a series of events deemed unfortunate, I’ve experienced firsthand how simple it is to immediately place the blame on “luck”. When I shatter my phone screen on Friday the 13th, when my car battery dies as I’m rushing to meet my best friend at the bar for her 21st birthday, when I lose my wallet containing crucial supplies including ID’s, credit cards, cash, and keys.
Faced with this trifecta of misfortune in a 48 hour span, one might find it easy to say my “luck” is substandard. As much as I’d like to enjoy the ignorance of agreeing, I see a major flaw with the notion of this silly little word we call luck.
The harsh truth lies in the fact that all of these instances- no matter how ridiculous, were a product of my own poor decision making. The cause of a shattered phone is due to a case that wasn’t properly on, lazily placed in an open pocket. A car battery that wouldn’t have died if I wasn’t so rushed to get to work, causing me to forget my lights were on. A lost wristlet due to carelessness, and lack of being aware of my own belongings.
Of course all these examples are specific to my own, often quite absurd lifestyle. However, I believe that in most situations where one blames “luck”, we fail to take a step back and look at the bigger picture that is: just how are we living our lives? Didn’t we kind of ask for this to happen? If we were a little more honest with ourselves, I’d bet we could often come to the conclusion that we should probably have seen these occurrences deemed “unlucky” coming.
If we get a speeding ticket, it is because we were speeding. If we spill coffee on our white shirt in the morning, it’s probably because we weren’t cautious enough. If we lose an assignment that’s due later that day, chances are we weren’t organized in where we kept it. Now, I’m certainly not saying this is always the case. But a vast majority of the time, it’s more than probable that the bad things that happen to us are due to nothing other than, well, us. Luck plays little factor when compared to the power we have to control the outcomes of our own situations.
What it all comes down to is two simple ingredients to generating our own “good” or “bad” luck: choices and perspective. The decisions we make, hand in hand with our outlook on the results of them in the aftermath, determine everything. Yes, my car battery may have died- but I could have been in a car accident. I could have not had anyone reliable to call and come help me. I could have approached my car to see a giant dent in my door from a hit and run. So, when you look at it this way, couldn’t solely having my car battery die actually make me lucky? It’s simply an occurrence, with both a positive and negative side.
My choice to rush to work, thus leaving my lights on, was the cause; the effect was a dead battery. The perspective could be that it was “bad luck” without acknowledging my own mishap, yet the simplest spin on the situation could create an image of “good luck” in examining the positives and knowing it could be worse. In reality, luck really had no say. I have the say. My actions determined the event, and my perspective on it afterwards determines what the event was to me.
We throw blame around too casually in life. As a generation, we’re quick to say something happened because we are unlucky, or that someone has good luck when they have it all together. However, starting this St. Patrick’s Day as “luck” is of the essence, I’d advise you to challenge yourself and think about luck and life a little differently.
Think about creating your own destination, and about making choices that will propel you in the direction you want to go. We shouldn’t be so quick to forget that we are the leaders shaping our own world, fabricating what happens to us and how it effects us. The time has come to acknowledge luck for what it truly is; a nonexistent entity, and a lie standing in the way of our control over our own lives.