Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Luck By Chance

image by 13dede, sxc.hu

Think Of Luck As Stable, Permanent, By Your Side Always

A dull, boring social gathering can be brought to animated life in very little time by throwing down the gauntlet of "whether success and fulfillment in life is obtained by 'luck' or by 'pluck'". It takes just one person to take a stand, to instigate some other person in the gathering to leap up to their feet and present a diametrically opposite stand, complete with their own anecdotal experiences and philosophy. For every human being who rose to the height of their aspirations by the sweat of their brow, there is another human being who won the lottery with a ticket that they had left behind in the back-pocket of their jeans when they shove it in the laundry machine. And usually, it takes a very tough moderator at the podium to ensure that the animation does not degenerate into mayhem.

image by alifarid, sxc.hu

The spectrum between believers of pluck and believers of luck is evenly distributed. People who believe in pluck think that one's actions directly affect one's outcomes. Period. But people who believe otherwise, think that there is this, the invisible Hand that guides destinies. And should the Hand so decide; the best of efforts and the most strident of actions will not fructify into the desired outcomes. And so this second set of people set forth to locate the Hand, and if that is an impossible goal, then at least to find ways and means to appease It. Taking a leaf out of the psychologist's book, the pluck-believers hold that the locus of control lies within them, while the luck-believers are open to the possibility of an "external" agency too controlling their destiny.

image by nkzs, sxc.hu

Nothing wrong with the doctrine of providence, which is what the belief in an external agency guiding one's destiny is. Everybody is walking on their own path of self-development, deserving all respect. The problem comes when we allow ourselves to be washed by circumstances away from the shore of our aspirations, when we succumb to the choppy waves of problems, and when we begin to drown in the sea of disaster and failure, moaning all the while that the Hand is no longer guiding us. We look at Luck as fleeting and impermanent. It is there for some of the time, and it "runs out" from time to time. This approach has a most unfortunate consequence of loss of persistence. The first sight of some problem, and we throw up our hands. Aw, Shucks! Luck is not by my side this time!

image by haiinee, sxc.hu

This particular category of luck-believers finds it hard to motivate themselves to not give up midway, but to exhaust all alternatives before concluding that there is really no way forward. And after acknowledging failure, this particular category finds it especially difficult to identify the problem in the core concepts of their thinking which led to failure in the first place, so that the core concepts can be reworked upon and the task begun afresh, in the same or a new avatar. Gradually, a pattern builds up which keeps recurring in all areas of their life, till a stage comes when such people give up taking all action and start leading a "vegetable" life of inaction. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, this belief in a) the concept of luck, and b) that luck is fleeting and impermanent. You can't get them to discard their favorite principle, but you also can't see them wither away. Then what do you do?

image by davepd2, sxc.hu

The key point here is the thought in the minds of some of the luck-believers that "luck is fleeting and impermanent". As self-developers, instead of taking any extreme-pole position of discarding the providence doctrine altogether, suppose we shift our thought from the fleeting and impermanence aspect of luck to one of luck being forever stable and forever permanent and forever on our side? Formulating this thought in the mind immediately leads us to strengthen our belief in ourselves. A confidence that, come what may, the victory cup is ours - grows in us. Faced with the choppy waves of problems, we will not succumb. We will not throw up our hands. Instead, armed with the "knowledge" that luck is by our side, we will be driven by the confidence that help is round the corner somewhere, and we have to "simply" seek it.

image by woodsy, sxc.hu

This eclectic approach has two advantages. One, the luck-believers do not have to root the doctrine of providence out from their value systems; usually ingrained by parents and seniors since childhood and therefore very difficult - if not plain impossible - to do so, and it is not required anyway. And two, they get to use the belief of a powerful, "supernatural agency" always being by their side to guide them at all times. If there is somebody you know who is leading a vegetable life of inaction because they fell prey to consistent bad luck, then - who knows? - this eclectic approach might transform them into a dynamo of action.

image by leagun, sxc.hu

[Belief in oneself is the core driver for all successes. It is belief in the self that drove the pilot to successfully crash-land his plane on the surface of a lake so that everybody emerged unhurt and safe. Similarly, it is the belief in the self that drives a tiny little rail engine, entrusted with the task of freighting toys to the next station, to overcome all challenges and complete the mission. Would you like to read the inspiring story of this little blue engine? Here it is: "How Tillie Pulls Out Of The Avalanche".]

image by asifthebes, sxc.hu

1 comment:

  1. The people who talk about luck the most - it seems to me - are those who envy and resent the success of others. Scientific chance has its place in life I suppose but I'm really not a believer.

    I believe the stuff of the cosmos is pure consciousness and at some level, even if it's cellular or subatomic, choices are made instant-to-instant. It's sad to me how many people will hide from their own responsibility and power by blaming luck for the good, bad, and ugly in so many cases.

    We are all so magnificent and in each moment actualize the events and circumstances of our life journey through choosing, even unconsciously. This is my opinion, maybe I'm wrong, but I feel it in my bones so it's how I'll be navigating my time on this planet.