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What’s luck got to do with it?

POSTED BY: Peter Bath, D.Min., MBA

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…"
—Rom 8:28

“You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?” Clint Eastwood asks the question in Dirty Harry, and you might do well to reflect on it.

Most speak of it every day: “Is today my lucky day?”, “Wow, I got lucky on that one!”, “Lady Luck smiled on me today!”, “Knock on wood”, or when things go bad “It was just a run of bad luck…”

What’s luck got to do with it? For a number of folk, “luck” becomes a force upon which they rely, more than they might realize. In an attempt to explain life’s twists and turns, it seems that what we don’t understand we often attribute to “luck” either good or bad. In attributing power to “luck” you deny the responsibility you and I have in life.

What’s luck got to do with life?  For some it is the “out” that excuses bad choices, bad planning or bad execution. For others it is a way of saying…”It’s not my fault!”

Are some people luckier than others? English psychologist Richard Wiseman conducted a longitudinal study on “luck.”

Over a ten-year period, Wiseman kept track of 400 men and women volunteers. These people, of all ages, who "considered themselves especially lucky or unlucky," kept diaries, submitted to interviews, completed questionnaires, took tests, and participated in experiments. The results? Lucky people are “lucky” because they follow “some basic principles."

His results dovetailed with the "Positive Mental Attitude" …advocating steps like taking advantage of opportunities that come one's way. As Wiseman points out, "Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they're too busy looking for something else." In other words “lucky” people; work hard, save money, utilize personal talents, and do not expect lottery winnings to fund life on “Easy Street”.

When it came to misfortune… The "lucky" people looked at the bad things that came their way, and after a time concluded, "It could have been worse." The unlucky ones let problems and trials immobilize or even devastate them.

Luck is not a plan by which you lead your life, at least not intentionally or successfully.

Gratitude and thoughtful determination are, however; the traits of those who accomplish more than might seem possible despite setbacks that occur along the way. For them and for you, life is not a win or lose proposition, where luck plays the decisive role. Rather, the decisive factor is your faithful daily effort, such that even when you are in the midst of difficulty you can find the blessing and strength to carry on.