A little thought can make all the difference

Good Luck or Bad Luck?

In a post last year, I told of an employee who felt he was unlucky because of the accident he was involved in. In truth, he was incredibly lucky that he wasn’t killed.

dirtyharryLuck is a funny thing. We use the terms good luck and bad luck to signify opposite concepts, but when we use the term “lucky” it is always with the connotation of having good luck. Like when Dirty Harry said to the punk, “you have to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ “.  But are we either lucky or unlucky?

Today I offer a list of things that have remote odds of happening, yet if they do it is usually attributed to good luck or bad luck.

  1. Winning a big lottery, like Powerball or Mega Millions. You initiate your luck by buying the ticket first.
  2. Having a cancer detected early while still treatable. You have to be proactive with your health.
  3. Winning American Idol. You have to have the talent, you have to audition, and you have to outperform (for the most part anyway) all the other contestants.
  4. Getting struck by lightning. Your home getting struck by lightning. I knew someone who had that happen. That’s just plain bad luck.
  5. Having really bad weather on a day where it is very inconvenient to have bad weather. Your wedding, for example. You can have a plan B, but it still feels like bad luck. My parents were married in Cleveland in the first week of January. It was in the 60’s that day. Good luck I guess.
  6. Having a tire go flat on your way to somewhere important like a job interview, a final exam, an appointment you have already had to re-schedule three times. Bad luck, unless of course you knew the tire was low and you had been having problems with it. Then it’s just bad planning.
  7. Being in a 1960 Chevy with 8 other kids one night when a driver plows into you from behind at a stoplight. Actually, possibly another case of good luck. Everyone walked away uninjured, probably because we were so tightly packed in there.
  8. Getting invited to Tiger Wood’s Apology Conference.

We use “luck” to explain the long-odds outcome, or the unexplainable. But you can’t count on luck. In most bad-luck scenarios, you can look at them afterward and identify the one or two things you could have done differently to avoid the unlucky outcome. Or the things you did that paved the way for luck.

Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya?

Anna at abdpbt is responsible for the effort to Fight Listless Mondays. Find other list links on her blog. Her lists and the others linked there always give you something to think about, and may even make you smile!

4 Responses to Good Luck or Bad Luck?

  1. AlexisNo Gravatar says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of luck. On the one hand I feel like “the harder you work, the luckier you get” like with an American Idol contestant, but then again, sometimes just being in a certain place at a certain time can really throw you a curve ball…good or bad.

    Nice list and good food for thought as I go through my day.


    TimNo Gravatar Reply:

    I have used the “harder you work the luckier you get” idea with my kids from time to time. It’s like how some people are considered an overnight success, when in fact they have paid their dues. Then there are the cases where someone finds the short cut, not because they were looking for it, but it just happens.


  2. abdpbtNo Gravatar says:

    My husband always says, “Luck is the residue of design.” I always want to punch him when he says that, though.


    TimNo Gravatar Reply:

    We make our own luck, right? I could follow a path of logic that points to lot’s of decisions I made in my life that led to me being in the place I met my wife, but that was not the intent of all those decision. Being there, at that time in our lives, was lucky (for me anyway) and was a consequence of all the events prior. That sort of makes ‘residue’ an interesting word choice.


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