I’m sure some of you clicked on this post because of what the title implies. Either from serious concern, interest or curiosity. Well, for all of you that are thinking that this post is about what this phrase generally means, you’re going to be let down. But only for a second because this post will still relate to you. And anyways.. You’ve already read this far so I bet you are at least slightly interested in the direction of this article.
This post, believe it or not, is about luck. Just luck, not any other metaphor. It’s about the four leaf clovers, the horse shoes, the rabbits foot and the pennies that are found heads up. Luck is something that we all hope to have in our lives. But, if you’re like me, you’re wondering if you have even 1% of good luck in your whole body. I can acknowledge that I am very fortunate but luck is not fortune. Luck is success or failure by chance rather than by one’s actions, while fortune is chance or luck as an external arbitrary force affecting us.
So, if you are like me, you are most likely stringing these thoughts together: broken mirrors, black cats and walking under ladders. You might be thinking of the last time that you encountered any of these things. Maybe to give you some clarity as to why you haven’t caught a break lately. Maybe to backtrack and see if you have some reason to deserve bad karma. Or, if you’re like me and you adopted a stray black cat a few years ago… well you’re just thinking you’re fat out of luck.
I have almost non-existent luck. I only say almost non-existent because if my luck gets any worse, I’m screwed. You may think I’m overreacting but I’ll back that up by recounting the 7 days of my spring break this past year, just as an example. It started when I went to a dentist appointment where I sporadically had to get dental surgery. I then tried to cheer myself up by baking muffins… only to have the oven break. So I decided to watch Netflix… but the router stopped working for 5 hours. I then tried to make a smoothie… only to find out the blender was broken. And then, 5 days later when I was finally feeling better, I went for a walk with my parents and asked to pet someone’s dog that was walking by. For the record, I live in a ghost town, so seeing someone out is a rare occasion. When I leaned over to pet the dog, she jumped up, we slammed heads and… I got a concussion. Yup. Sounds too unfortunate to be true. But when it’s my life? Anything is possible. My teachers probably thought it was the most creative “my dog ate my homework” excuse they’ve ever gotten.
It’s in these moments, despite the degree of anyone’s unluckiness, that it’s typical to think, “why do I deserve this?” or “what does the universe have against me?”. But maybe, we are focusing on the wrong thing, maybe, we are missing the big picture. That big picture being that luck is just a matter of perspective. I remember reading a fable once. It was about accepting even the unluckiest forms of luck as luck itself.
The story was about a farmer and his son. I don’t remember all the details but this is the gist of it: the farmer asked his son to pick apples off the tallest tree. His son fell and broke his arm. Everyone said this was very unlucky but the farmer just said that the world worked in mysterious ways. The next night, when his son would usually sheer the sheep, he wasn’t able to because of his broken arm. The next morning the sheep were killed by wolves. Everyone saw this as unlucky. The farmer, however, thought it was lucky. If his son hadn’t have broken his arm the day before, he could have been killed by the wolves as well. The story went on like that, except written much better. But still, kind of mind-blowing right?
This theory raises the ideal that maybe, luck is relevant to our situation. This story encourages the perspective that despite the unlucky, initial situation, there’s is something much more behind that one event. That maybe, in a strange way, unluckiness can be seen as luck if it saves you from even worse luck. The thing is.. we don’t know. And for the majority of us, we will never know. Maybe this is just the hopeful thinking of one incredibly unlucky individual. Or maybe, it’s just better to think of the world as wanting the best for us.
If we never know what the universe is doing, we might as well soak in the most positive version of it right?