If you converse with people who have had many successes in life, you’ll usually hear something like, “Luck has nothing to do with it, it’s all about hard work and preparation.”
My friend Andy, who likes to visit casinos, basically agrees. Last weekend, he boasted about winning $1,000 at the casino in Sioux City, Iowa. I asked how he was able to come away with such a tidy sum. He said that while he doesn’t “count cards”, he understands the human equation in blackjack. Andy says that he only plays the card games at casinos. He refuses to play the slots, because there are no live, humans involved in them. Slot machines are mechanical and use computer software. There is no amount of skill needed to play the slots. Casinos’ main sources of income are the slot machines.
I asked my friend if he ever plays roulette. Andy said that he sometimes does. He explained that while the roulette wheel is a mechanical device, the human ingredient is still present. You still need to judge whether to play high or low numbers, red or black, and remember the house edge while keeping an eye on the croupier. Andy said he usually has bad luck at the roulette table, so that’s not his thing.
Andy’s weekend of good luck at the casino got me to thinking about the overall subject of luck. Yes, there is the luck that some gamblers enjoy. There is the luck that happens as a result of preparation and hard work in a career. But there are other varieties of good or ill fortune.
There are the aspects of geography and birth–where you are born and to whom you are born. These two factors are very important in determining the opportunities available from which to work when creating a life.
You don’t need to travel to an underdeveloped nation to realize this fact. One only needs to drive through various neighborhoods in different parts of one’s hometown or city of residence. In order for a person who was raised “on the wrong side of the tracks” to attain the same level of success as a prosperous person raised “on the right side of the tracks”, requires more tenacity and more actual work. This also extends to network building, because good luck is often the result of who you know. So, although our national philosophy states that everyone is created equal, in reality, we’re not born equal. You might say that luck of the draw depends upon where you are born, to whom you are born, and the availability of opportunity to express one’s inner desire.
We can add to the geographical and birth factors, a person’s innate personality. Some individuals seem to possess the inborn daring to succeed at any cost. This is independent of whichever side of the tracks one is born and raised. We find people with this type of personality across the spectrum of social hierarchy. They seem to be the product of a certain type of genetics. This conclusion is not based upon any personal scientific study; it’s just a product of my personal observation of peers and coworkers.
So, now that we’ve mentioned the geographical and biological aspects of so-called luck, there is still that particularly ethereal type of luck that is difficult to explain in words, but is felt at the intuitive level. It is this type of luck that challenges the frontiers of my very skeptical ways of thinking. I’ve been bamboozled in the past, so I try to analyze situations carefully before acting.
Yet there are those odd tuggings at the gut level that I pay attention to. These wordless sensations help advise when I should refrain or when I should jump-in and commit myself to an opportunity. If I follow my gut-level feeling about whether or not it is worthwhile to take the risk, I don’t get burned. It seems that these tuggings are somehow related to luck. This is a curious phenomenon that needs more objective observation.
It is the consideration of all of these factors that is called “weighing one’s luck”. It is a sober, clear-eyed assessment of the state of one’s physical situation in association with one’s personal temperament. It’s a matter of guiding one’s own path while waiting for the rendezvous with luck to happen. While luck is unpredictable, bad or good luck seems certain to arrive.
So, if bad luck appears, it’s time to withdraw and reconsider your plan so as not to ruin the good luck that is on its way. If good luck shows up, the time has come to boldly move forward. Do not waste an auspicious moment, because good luck is fickle. It may or may not appear often in one’s life.
Although a great deal of thinking has gone into writing about luck today, the subject of luck still seems like a lot of woo woo. Then again, my thinking is highly subjective and somewhat biased by gut-level feeling.
I hope you have an auspicious day.