success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions
It’s the “rather than through one’s own actions” bit I disagree with. Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor in the UK, (I met him once, when I was studying psychology for my undergraduate degree) has spent years researching luck, only to find that you can change your “luck” by changing your outlook on life. Doesn’t that then mean that you are no longer leaving things to chance?
I’ll run through a few scenarios that bug me.
1. I’m ill. A friend says: Oh, you’re so unlucky, you get ill so easily. WRONG. That’s my immune system, not bad luck. SCIENCE. When I started my teaching career, I was stressed and overtired. That led to several bouts of tonsillitis. I didn’t take the time to recover properly after each bout and this led to my immune system suffering. The less teaching I do, and the more I take care of my body, the more my immune system improves. Funny that.
2. My life situation is improving. An old colleague whom I hadn’t seen for years (we weren’t friends) says: You’re lucky you don’t have to work as much. WRONG. That’s teamwork with my amazing, supportive partner, who is willing to take his turn as the main earner because not only does he enjoy his chosen profession, but wants me to find something I can enjoy more. Plus we both work fucking hard to achieve our life goals, and like everyone, we have our ups and downs. Saying I’m “lucky” devalues all of that!
3. I’m having a bad day and everything seems to be going wrong. My mood is horrid, the day continues to get worse and I’m grumpy. Some might say I’m having bad luck. WRONG. My outlook and negative energy is causing the cycle to continue. I KNOW THIS and yet, I still find it hard to break out of the cycle. But through years of yoga and meditation practise, reading, listening to intelligent people, and my aforementioned amazing and optimistic partner, I am slowly learning that only I can make these negative days better. I can choose to ask a friend for help, or take myself outside, or read a book, or do some exercise.
I’m a bit introspective today! I’ll do a something more lighthearted next time. In the meantime, here’s a picture of a cat who doesn’t know he’s born. He’s living a charmed life! ;P