Like it or not, there is something that can only be described as good fortune. There’s also hard work, learning, training, and an open mind for opportunities; but I have little to no doubt as to the part luck plays in our lives. That being said, putting everything to luck is unwise and borderline dangerous. Yet ignoring it is also just as foolish.
Luck may be just a name we give to a culmination of things we do not fully understand; whether it be karma from a previous life, alignment of the stars, or favoritism with the Gods. Either way, that sum of all these factors, which we cannot comprehend, is still… luck. Napoleon Bonaparte was credited to have said (about an officer he was asked to promote,) “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?” Though some suspect Napoleon never said such a thing – it was just a creative line from a Hollywood film, he did write, “All great events hang by a hair, I believe in luck, and the wise man neglects nothing which contributes to his destiny.”
I side with Brian Walden who said, “In life, timing is everything. Being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference. I’ve always believed that luck plays a far greater part in a successful life than conventional moralists are willing to admit.” Along these lines, I once heard a theory that if it wasn’t Einstein who would have come up with the theory of relativity, someone else surly would have stumbled upon it; that things happen when the timing for a discovery is ripe. Who makes the discovery, is either completely random, or left to the good fortune of that particular person. Thus, not to take away from my hard labor, I rather also not beat myself up if things do not always turn up the way I wish them to be.
The I-Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, explains that we all have our moments of opportunity, and times when we need to lay low and wait for the storm to pass. The wise man knows when to take an unfavorable risk (period of Yang) and when to stay away from a sure bet (time of Yin). I also favor a perspective I once heard from a Feng-Shui Master. She explained that we are all born into envelops of various sorts: an envelope of fortune, one for health, another for family, career, etc. We can each, according to our born Karma, excel up to a certain point; to the limits of that envelope. But for some of us, try as we might, we will never be a Bill Gates or a Van Gogh; that utmost limit is out of reach, not set by our efforts but rather is predetermined for us. That being said, I still strive, as the US Army slogan goes, be all that I can be.
A couple of fun quotes for conclusion:
“I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I cannot improve on those spoken for many years by a true legend who preceded me at CBS News. He would say, simply, ‘good night, and good luck.'”
— Mike Wallace
Learned from: a chat with a lucky friend who refuses to acknowledge his good fortune…