Friday, June 24, 2011

Luck of the Draw

If one believes in luck then one must believe not only in good luck but also in bad luck, or at the very least in lack of luck. I won’t even touch upon the debate whether there is luck in this world. From my experience there is, both good and bad.

Knowing that there is luck in the recipe of our daily lives helps remind one of both the good and bad times. This is especially useful when one’s luck seems to be running out or waning. For example, casting one’s mind back upon more advantageous days recalls not only that the possibility of success exists but also - and perhaps more importantly - that the reason for that success was then no more compelling than it is now. That is, it is more probable than not that any fortune one once enjoyed was as much a product of luck as one’s current misfortune. Barring catastrophic events in one’s life, it is safe to say that one’s abilities are constant and it is therefore only the work of external forces which have any influence upon us in one direction or another.

These external forces are not of course the property of any one of us. They are random factors which effectively have no connection whatever with any one of us in particular. Their effect however can be both empowering and withering. This is a healthy recollection since it stabilizes us in both happy and unpleasant times. In good times, it reminds us to be vigilant and modest; in bad times, it reminds us to be patient and hopeful. There are few instances such as the demise of the typewriter or winning the lottery which can be blamed or founded entirely on one event. For the most part our destiny in unknown and unpredictable (as much as we are fond of thinking otherwise). Throw into the mix the adage that “it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow someone some good” and you have the makings of plan.

It is easy to become despondent when caught up in the turmoil of a storm. How quickly we lose faith in ourselves! At such times it is useful to remind oneself that our personal fortunes are very much a reflection of the surrounding landscape; that is, what affects us likely affects others, whether favourably or unfavourably. It doesn’t require much imagination to appreciate that the local economy involves the interconnection of many factors, and that many of the constituent elements depend upon one another for their respective health. Sometimes understanding current trends is as easy as reflecting upon one’s own patterns as an example of what is happening in the broader context.

While it is arguable that ability, training and experience are the only components of any prescription for achievement, there are simply too many exceptions to that philosophy to sustain it. Luck looms manifestly in any scenario. In the end our desire to predict the future must be put on hold as we await to see the luck of the draw.

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