Do you believe in luck?

Ever been told you’re lucky? I’ve heard it a few times recently, especially now I’m going back to freelancing. Generally it’s said with good intentions, along the lines of “You’re so lucky to do what you do” or “You’re lucky to work from home”. But I can’t help feeling mildly irritated when people say it.

Here’s the thing: I don’t believe in luck. Not really. It’s phooey. I believe in chance, but luck seems a little lazy. Like we’re all waiting for life to land in our laps and have no control over our own lives. It’s all a little patronising – as if you did nothing more to deserve something other than be lucky.

My thinking is, ‘lucky’ people tend to have an optimistic outlook on life, make decisions based on common sense and yet be open to taking the odd risk too. Bad things happen to them too, but they might be able to see that silver lining more – or at least learn from it. Perhaps ‘lucky’ people are more grateful for all the things they’ve achieved so far – while unlucky people count all the reasons why they’re not grateful. Can you think of many successful entrepreneurs who have a pessimistic view on life?

Derren Brown’s The Secret of Luck

Recently, Derren Brown had a great series of programs called the Experiments that looked at human behaviour (well worth watching, even if you’re not a Derren fan). The one that caught my interest was The Secret Of Luck (4OD link here if you want to watch the whole thing before I spoil it in a second).

Derren discovered that people in the village he visited considered themselves either lucky or unlucky. However, further tests proved that those who were ‘lucky’ were the ones who were more open-minded to opportunities and therefore had more chance of being lucky. When he targeted one of the unlucky men and explained this theory, his outlook started to change and he became ‘luckier’.

What do you think? Do you believe in luck?

p.s Funnily enough, just as I was writing this, Mayi Carles’ latest video popped up in my inbox on a very similar theme! Watch the video from about four minutes onwards for her take on luck and what kind of characteristics do ‘lucky’ people have.

One Comment

  1. Judy Johnson
    May 13, 2012 @ 15:03:00

    I somehow missed this! Really great post and something I think about a lot.

    ‘Luck’ is such a bugbear with me as I consider myself/my family to be pretty unlucky (ignoring the big stuff like yay we have a roof over our heads and don’t starve, but you know what I mean) and I have friends who can’t see how ‘lucky’ they are, in my eyes at least.

    I think you’re right in what you’ve said about luck vs optimism, but it’s a bit of a chicken and the egg situation… if I’d had a few more things to be happy about in life then I would probably be far more optimistic because I’d have grounds to feel positive! As it is, I’m a bit disgruntled about various things and so tend to err on the side of pessimism because that way I’m less disappointed – and because I feel like I grew up learning the hard way that even if you work damn hard and make some tough decisions, it won’t necessarily work out.

    On the other hand I totally see that if I could change that mindset and be a bit more optimistic, I’d probably be a bit happier and the wonderful notion of karma might just see me right and send me some luck, whether it’s real or not :) I find that the most inspirational people to me are ones who have had a really rough time but don’t give up and still have a slice of optimism about life – I need to do more of that.

    P.S don’t hit me. I’m trying this whole optimism thing…

    Reply

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