Sometimes you have ‘good luck.’ You thought you were lucky when the weather was perfect last Sunday, allowing you to spend some time working in the garden. You thought you were lucky when your lottery ticket won a jackpot prize. In these moments, you benefited from positive happenings that were completely beyond your control.
Sometimes you have ‘bad luck’. You thought it was due to bad luck that you had a flat tyre on your way to work. You thought you were unlucky when your flight was postponed and you had to sit at the airport before boarding. In these moments, you were experiencing negative happenings completely beyond your control.
Yet, too often, we incorrectly use the words, ‘bad luck’, to avoid taking responsibility for our choices. In this manner, we lie to ourselves and shift the blame onto others for the ‘bad luck’.
For example, you may be interested in becoming more physically fit, but do not make time to exercise. When you run into your athletic friend at the grocery store, you say to him, “You are lucky to have time for work-outs. Between my work and family commitments, I never find time to go to the gym.”
What happens here is, instead of accepting responsibility for your choice not to exercise, you blame your work and family commitment. “Just my bad luck!” a friend told me yesterday. “The dry cleaner ruined my shirt.” Another friend related how she got off to a late start that morning, “My neighbour phoned and talked about her problems for over half an hour. After that, nothing worked to schedule. It always happens!”
‘Good luck’ is largely the result of taking appropriate action in time. When we’re passive, and don’t take sufficient charge of our affairs, we’re victims to all kinds of ‘bad luck.’ Take, for example, the friend who complained about the dry cleaner. “About two months back, he ruined a jacket, too,” he told me, unconsciously revealing that he knew he was taking chances with this particular cleaner. My other friend, who got involved in her neighbour’s problems and wasted the day, revealed her pattern by her comment: “It always happens.” She allows it to happen.
When we permit ourselves to accept such ‘bad luck’ situations, there are reasons, usually. We may feel we can’t or shouldn’t take action. Some of us have unconscious fears. Others tend to blame society for things that go wrong in their lives. For example, we know that many people consume liquor regularly, and as a result alcoholics are created. But, we place the blame on the Government for not taking action. It leads us away from looking within and facing our own part, why we ourselves drink regularly.
We must recognize our own role in creating less-than-perfect situations. Only then are we able to make changes.
Where fate, destiny and luck are concerned, we have been given certain resources, abilities and disabilities. What we do with what we’ve got, helps determine our so-called ‘bad luck’.
The fault, as the Shakespearean quotation goes, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
The more we act to change our bad luck, the more we take charge and the more secure we feel. All kinds of signals will help us recognize when to let go of a bad situation. ‘When we repeat frustrating failures and errors in our lives, the accumulation of bad results often makes us conclude that we have bad luck due to our spouses, or thousand other things, including the celestial stars.
So, if you begin to see a pattern of things going wrong, ask yourself, “What is my role in this? Why do I feel trapped in this situation? What makes me complain about it?” Be self- critical. Self-criticism involves the ability to evaluate and criticize your actions and relationships.
Perhaps, you have problem-ridden friends and relatives who are emotional dependents - who lean on you so heavily that it’s an emotional drain on you. You ought to examine your excuses for wasting time with emotional dependents. Psychologists tell us that people get sucked into others’ problems because they really want to be, and it avoids them from doing more serious things.
Of course, it is possible to be caring for others without letting them absorb all your time. So, if you feel pressured and overburdened, examine your own role to see if perhaps, you’re not being too agreeable.
So, the moral of the story is, most of us have taken ‘bad luck’ in the wrong perspective. For example, when we are uncomfortable with our financial situation, we are often reactive around people who are financially secure.
We say things like, “They are so lucky that they can afford to go on vacation.”
When we are not happy at work, we say things like, “She is so lucky that she has such a great job,” about people who prosper in their careers.
When our children struggle with behavioural problems, we say, “They are lucky they have such well-behaved kids,” to parents who care for their children.
The real truth is, luck doesn’t get you to go to the gym: making time to exercise is a choice. And, going on vacation is not about luck, it is about saving money and scrimping on some desired things today, so that we can enjoy a trip in the future.
If you love your career, it is because you worked hard and gave dedicated service leading to your current position. However, you probably have to work harder and develop stronger skills in your profession to be competitive for a better position in your organization.
As you can see, luck, whether good or bad, has nothing to do with any of these!