What is Luck?
What is luck? In her latest column adventurer Megan Hine dismisses many notions about luck versus the reality of hard work and struggle. Inspirational stuff.
Luck; a beautiful and magical word conjuring images of horseshoes, leprechauns and rainbows.
Luck; a word also used to undermine the efforts of others or your own hard work. ‘He’s so lucky to have that position, she’s so lucky to have that body’.
Luck, chance, fate whatever you call it does exist for sure. It is a catalyst, it is those chance meetings which connect you, the numbers of your lottery ticket aligning. Luck as I see it, however, is but a fleeting moment in time. Luck does not decide how you spend your lottery winnings or determine whether you are happy with the change of lifestyle. Nor does luck after a chance crossing of paths keep you in a job position or keep the respect of your colleagues or team members, luck does not create a toned body or strip the body of fat. Luck is not responsible for any of this, your own hard work is, combined with the willingness to occasionally step out of your comfort zone and take a risk.
I recently carried out a podcast interview with a female interviewer who’s opening statement was, “You are so lucky to travel so much, it’s like a permanent holiday, you are so lucky.” My reaction to this internally was quite complex, with this simple (and understandable) statement she had inadvertently in a single sentence undermined and dismissed my whole career and showed she had no understanding of what I do for a living or the at times difficult path I had trodden.
From the outside, it is easy to think other people’s lives are far better than our own. We see the snap shots of their adventurous lives or perfect family, beautiful wife or husband, or their hot body. We see the parts of their lives they choose to showcase on social media or in our interactions with them. We don’t see their daily struggles, the compromises, the things they have given up, the heartbreak, because as humans we are so damn good at hiding these things, bottling stuff up and not sharing.
‘Hard work’ is what it says on the tin, ‘Hard’. Sometimes it is hard to find the motivation or time in our busy schedules to work towards something, so rather than admitting we have bitten off more than we can chew or recognising our own short comings or acknowledging our busy schedules are in the way, we revert to attributing the success of others to luck, therefore justifying our inability to achieve what we perceive that other person has.
This interviewer for example was quite possibly slightly jealous of what she perceived as a lifestyle she would like, not understanding the reality of my lifestyle. Putting it down to ‘luck’ validated these feelings and brought me down to what she perceived as her level. She never saw me living in the back of a van struggling to pay fuel and maintenance fees to keep it running early on in my career so I could log days for my guiding qualifications. She had never had the responsibility for the safety of an entire film crew running around in a dangerous environment with helicopters, ropes and wild animals all under your name should something go wrong. How could she possibly understand the inherent stress of this or know the reality of my life from the few Instagram photos I share? Luck does not keep me travelling and living my life in the way I always imagined, sheer hard work, focus and compromise does plus a large dose of stubborn determination.
Buddhism founder Gautama Buddha taught his followers not to believe in luck but in cause and effect, where every single action has an effect either material or spiritual. This idea of moral causality is central to Buddhism and fosters an accountability to take responsibility for one’s own actions and reactions.
Next time you think ‘he or she is so lucky’, catch yourself and really look at that person. What part of their life is luck? And don’t forget it takes hard work, choice and dedication to be an arsehole or pathological schmoozer too. We all know someone who has worked their way up the career ladder, not because they are particularly good at their job but because they are extremely good at networking and saying the ‘right things to the right people’. Again, not luck. Rather than wasting precious time and energy on coveting the lives of others, how about choosing to focus on developing the life we have, taking full ownership for the actions we take and mistakes we make? How liberating and authentic that would be!
“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard.” Shonda Rhimes.
Read Meg first
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