“LUCK: When preparation meets opportunity.”
This past month has been pretty stressful for me. I’m not sure what it is about September, but it’s the time in my life when everything seems to come tumbling down around me and I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Everything happens in September. I’m not kidding. In 2006, I came home from Halifax because my aunt was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Exactly one year later, she died and I gained custody of her daughter. In 2008, a friend and colleague was diagnosed with breast cancer and I was diagnosed with a mysterious tumour in my hip bone. And every year since then something happens. This year the “stuff” has been in the financial and personal realm. Thank-you universe for keeping my loved ones healthy.
So this has been a hard month. Yesterday, while it seemed yet one more thing was weighing on my shoulders, two possible solutions presented themselves. Amazing! Since I was young, I have always found that if I keep open to possibility, things just work out. Some call it “luck” others call it “the secret” and others call it God. I’ve just realized that when you want something to work out, and you believe in it working out, you believe there is a solution, you believe you have the ability to figure it out, things work out. The first explicit incidence of this I can recall is when I was shopping for my first car. I had saved up $1300, I was 17, and I wanted my own car. My mom and I went car hunting one day. By lunchtime, I was feeling dejected, disappointed, and frustrated with the lack of products that suited my idea of the “perfect first car.” Over lunch, we chatted about what I envisioned and what we had already viewed. My mom said simply, that I should realize I’m unlikely to find the exact car to fit my wish list on day one of shopping. This was unsatisfactory to me. I wanted the car, and I didn’t want to spend weeks looking for it. My mom told me that’s not how the “real world” works. And maybe she’s right, however…
Later that day, I happened to have a conversation with the mother of an old friend from elementary school. I can’t recall the reason we ended up on the telephone, but it had been a long time since I’d talked to this person and we were briefly chatting about what was occurring in our lives as of late. I mentioned my search for a vehicle. She immediately replied that her father, my friend’s grandfather, had a habit of buying old cars and fixing them up for his grandkids. He had done just that with a car that fit my wish list perfectly, but all of his grandkids were already outfitted with cars. I scheduled a meeting that evening, and by the next day, I was the proud owner of a little sporty hatchback! It was a beater, and it was purple, but it fit my wish list perfectly!
After that day, my Mom started referring to these incidences as “Darby’s World” events. She would quip “Only in Darby’s World” when something worked out in my favour. After that, I started thinking about this phenomenon. I did some reading, and came across one study (cannot for the life of me remember where or by whom) where they studied “luck.” They divided people into two groups after putting them through a regimen of psychometric testing supposedly to measure how “lucky” these people were. Then they randomly assigned the people into the “luck” category and the “unluck” category. The participants believed this sorting was based on their performance on the testing, and that those in the lucky group actually were more lucky based on the measurements. Then they followed these people for a period of time, keeping track of “lucky” events in their lives. In the end, they found that the “lucky” group had more incidences of lucky events, such as winning the lottery and so on. The explanation given for the phenomenon was not that there was something categorically more lucky about the lucky group, per se. The explanation was that the people who believed themselves to be lucky were more likely to open themselves to opportunities. If they felt lucky, they’d buy a lottery ticket. On the other hand, the “unlucky” group were less likely to do things like buy lottery tickets because they thought “well I’m unlucky, I’ll never win, why would I waste my money?” To me, this explains the “Darby’s World” phenomenon perfectly, and I think it can be anyone’s world. You can’t win if you don’t play the game, right?
It’s not that I’m more lucky or lead some kind of blessed life. Bad stuff happens. I lose sometimes. Things don’t always work out the way I planned. But, because I have an understanding that opportunities can turn to luck simply by opening myself to them, when there is something in my life I desire, I open myself to solutions. Some might see this as a simply optimism vs. pessimism viewpoint, but I think it’s more. The world opens itself to us, and it’s up to us to step through those openings and make opportunity realities. When you believe that things can work out in your favour, you are more likely to see past the barriers to the solutions. Yesterday, I was stressed and worried about the weight of the burdens on my shoulders. These things have been weighing on me for weeks. I verbalized them to Scott and said “what are we going to do?” Within hours two solutions presented themselves to us without our really doing anything. The world opened itself to us. We stepped through and we’ll see where these opportunities lead. But what if we didn’t step through? These opportunities may not yet be official solutions, but now they have the power to be. If we hadn’t accepted what was being offered in opportunity, we’d still be back at square one.
The point of all this? Be open to possibility, to opportunity, and to solutions. Be one of the lucky ones.