Do you believe in luck? Do you believe some people are luckier in whatever they do? I certainly did, but a recent conversation with one of my friends made me doubt my belief.
What happened? She called me lucky!
“You are very very lucky!” – my friend told me in a voice filled with envy. ”We had to pay a ton of money even for a regular pregnancy and your insurance paid you for pre-conception genetic counseling?”, she protested angrily.
This is not the first time she was commenting about my luck. According to her, I am very lucky to have gotten into the school I went to, I am very lucky to have found the man of my dreams, I am very lucky to have found a job that I liked and more recently I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work from home.
I usually ignore this type of conversation as I know she expects someone to hand her a job without her even applying for it. According to her, she is always the victim and everyone is plotting against her. I usually just listen without commenting.
This time though, I snapped. Lucky? Hold on a minute, I am not lucky…I planned for it. I worked really hard for it. And I am paying $1300/month for my insurance, something that she easily dismissed as luck. She chose her high deductible insurance knowing fully well it wouldn’t cover the first few thousand dollars of treatment. She chose to pass over the better insurance that was available to her because the premium was higher. She chose to not research the hospitals and doctors beforehand because it was complicated.
I just planned ahead. It wasn’t luck or chance. How dare she discount every single thing I accomplished as me being just lucky? What does she know? That is so unfair!
I created my own luck!
I was about dismiss the entire conversation and go on with my life, but I heard a little voice in my head, “Hang on a moment kid, you make that mistake all the time!”
“What? Of course I don’t! I know the difference between luck and hard work!”
“Do you really?”, The Voice reasoned with me again, “Let’s take the three things you have been complaining about in the last month –
- You think your husband is lucky for losing so much weight while you struggle to even lose a single pound.
- You think one of your fellow bloggers, who you think writes filler posts, is lucky for getting a lot more traction, while your 25-30 hour researched posts return lackluster results.
- Your think your friends were lucky to have made a lot of money in the current real estate boom in India.
Do you really think these people were just lucky?”
Umm… Do I really think the success these people enjoyed was solely based on luck?
Well, I wallowed in self-pity and never really sat down to evaluate all the other factors that might have contributed to their success. Somehow on this particular day I was generously unbiased and decided to take advantage of that rare mental state to study how each of my envied subjects might have created their own luck and what lessons I can learn from them to pave way to my own success. As I suspected, I have grossly overestimated my effort in my successes but when it comes to others’ success, I tend to overplay their luck rather than give them full credit for their effort.
How my husband created his luck
I have a medical condition that makes it very difficult for me to lose weight, a disadvantage my husband doesn’t have – Pure good luck.
He exercises every single day, rain or shine; whether he feels good or bad; busy or otherwise. Me? I give up too easily. I concentrate on the negative side of the equation – I am not going to lose much weight anyway, so why bother? I concentrated so much on convincing myself that it is all worthless that I didn’t give myself a fair chance. – Don’t self-sabotage your chances for success.
He experimented with so many different types of food until he stumbled upon something that is healthy and helps him with his weight loss. I only tried what worked for him. It didn’t work for me, so I moved on. I didn’t make an effort to try new things that would work for my body. – Try different things. Good things come to people who try.
How the fellow blogger created his luck
I have been dealing with so many medical situations that have prevented me from giving my full attention to this blog, a setback my colleague didn’t have – Pure good luck.
I might consider a post that gives “couponing & making a list” as great new tips to save on groceries a filler post. But that is just my opinion, who am I decide what is a good post and what is not? It might be too trivial for me, but might be useful for different audience. And also, it doesn’t change the fact that he still wrote a post for his audience on a reliable schedule, week after week, which I have failed to do so far. – Be persistent.
He was not obsessed about writing the perfect post. He was not trying to get every single thing right and didn’t get frustrated when it didn’t work out. I was afraid to fail. I was afraid of losing what I already had, however little that was; I never tried any new bold strategies. – Don’t be afraid to fail.
He reached out to fellow bloggers for help which I have never done. – Maintain a strong social network.
How my friends created their luck
When we graduated with an undergraduate degree, I decided to go to graduate school while some of my friends decided to enter the workforce. Two years later, most of them bought a house or land in India. The price at that time was very reasonable. Fast forward to now; the real estate market is booming. Properties that they bought for $2000 are now selling for $50,000 or more. That amounts to 2,399.78% for the entire period! I had $2000 at that time, but I didn’t think about investing at that time. I was living paycheck to paycheck. – Take calculated risks.
I was focused on one track, get a master’s degree and get a good job. I was not open to any other opportunities. – Keep your options open.
What else can I do to create my own luck?
Make most of the curveball life throws at me: Yes, I had some setbacks but now that I think about it, these setbacks also provided me with some opportunities that as a single minded person I have ignored so far.
Act: Most of my failures can be attributed to my inaction more than anything. I procrastinate, a LOT. Inaction is the surest path to failure.
Practice: So as difficult as it is to accept that I am wrong, the only logical conclusion I can come to is – yes, luck exists, but it is not the only ingredient in most success stories. Luck can be created. Luck favors those who work to seek it.
Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.
What part do you think luck plays in anyone’s success? Can you succeed without luck? On the other hand, can you succeed with just luck?