Up to which point do you influence, take responsibility for, and decide your own life?
Thank you dimensionsdesign for the free image.
If you wanted to question luck, that dialogue could go something like this: "So, I finally got that promotion yesterday, and I feel so very very lucky!" - "Oh, really? Congratulations! But, wasn't that long overdue? I mean, you did work pretty hard at your job plus you managed that last project really well, everybody noticed your potential."
I think in most cases luck is the point where preparation, opportunity, and timing meet. You prepare yourself and your work-ethic to be eligible and on the radar for promotion. At the same time, your boss has to agree that your efforts are better than anyone else's, the budget has to fit, and there has to be a position for you to move up into. Looks like you cannot have complete control over all the deciding factors of the outcome which would invite attributing the outcome to "luck", but arguably, the things you do control play the biggest part. Now, even more interesting is looking at how you react when things don't go your way.
For instance, if your efforts are ignored and someone else is promoted (married/wins the lottery/loses weight) instead, a) do you feel unlucky, point fingers and blame what- or whomever, and leave the company in the dramatic manner of your choosing, b) consider it a reflection of your bosses preference / general circumstances / that job wasn't meant for you after all-destiny, or c) do you hang in there and wait your turn?
You might have heard about "The Secret" and the "Law of Attraction" (Esther Hicks / Jack Canfield) which at first glance sound like wishing for things makes them come true. If that really worked, why not all go out and buy lottery tickets or have that second helping of cheesecake then? Because it's not that easy: you have to send the positively articulated wish into the universe, affirm your belief that you deserve what you wish to attract, visualize it frequently, and act as if your wish is already a reality (without running into debt or stalking your favorite celebrity [call me, Leo!]).
"I've been doing that for ages yet I still don't fit into my skinny jeans!" I hear you lament. True, because even affirmations, visualizations, and acting as if cannot replace the actual doing. They make you feel better while you are waiting for your goal to materialize, but the necessary preparation still includes elbow-grease, making decisions, and taking physical action. That means going out if you want to meet someone, eating right and exercising if you want to lose weight, and putting in the hours or getting the obligatory qualifications for that job.
Alright then, what about gambling? Surely it's pure luck which way the dice fall or what high card is dealt next? Maybe. Except cards can be counted, tables can be manipulated, and people are way too complex to be predictable, plus they have their own minds to make decisions with. "The house always wins" isn't just an empty phrase, you know. But alright, let me ask you this: do you really feel comfortable with letting a card/dog/football team decide whether your kids go to college or you retire happily? Make no mistake, there's no judgment here, just a gentle nudge towards using appropriate stakes, I guess. If you don't mind losing what you put in, go right ahead, I'm sure it's fun. Just remember that it is your decision to put yourself in that position and gamble in the first place, so again, my opinion? Luck has nothing to do with it. I'm quite prepared to believe what I've heard in a few places now that the majority of millionaires aren't filmstars or lottery winners, but regular folk who steadily put away small amounts and successfully invested their savings.
To sum up, I guess what I'm advocating here is to always wish and hope for the best, and to do everything in your power to make it easier and more likely for the best to happen. There are things beyond your control, but there's no need to let them ru(i)n your life. You have the powers of reasoning and common sense at your disposal. Use them. And if things don't turn out the way you want, you have an option d): reassess the goal, if you still really want to achieve it but at first don't succeed, ask the right people for feedback, adjust your behavior, and try again.
Til next time!
PS: for those who have been hit hard by the current economic crisis, this video probably won't cheer you up, but its foresight is scary interesting.