Making luck

March 11, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

Can we make luck in the same way we make other things like love, fun, and music?

Luck can seem so random at times especially when the dictionary defines it as “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”

What would happen if we viewed luck more as a result of preplanned circumstances than chance?

In my life, there’s certainly plenty of unexpected pleasures and disasters but, for the most part, good luck feels more like a reward for hard work and generous acts while bad luck often accompanies negative energy.

When you take a moment out of your busy life to help someone else learn something—perhaps answering a post on our forums—chances are better you’ll get lucky the next you need some help too.

I believe a percentage of good luck comes as a result of applying positive energy and the opposite occurs when we expend negative energy.

We can’t make luck but we might be able to steer it in a good direction if we’re generous with our time and energy.

Tomorrow just might be your lucky day.

Will it be good or bad luck?

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17 comments on “Making luck”

  1. Que será, será
    Whatever will be, will be
    The future’s not ours to see
    Que será, será…
    But maybe you’re right, in certain circumstances by helping others you make your own luck. Therefore QED, you are a very lucky man Paul 🙂

  2. I’ve always subscribed to this quote: “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity” (Roman philosopher Seneca).

    This quote reminds us that we make our own luck. The difference between lucky and unlucky people, we’ve seen before, is all in our perspective.

  3. Yes, we can make our own luck.

    All paths we take in life eventually lead to success. Some paths are longer, harder, and filled with detours. Additionally our final destination is frequently not what we envisioned.

    What we label as “Luck” is predominantly the reward bestowed upon those not willing to give up, and those who can take lemons and make lemonade.

  4. Luck in most circumstances can be related to preparation. I often wonder if Murphy and Karma are related, (married?)

    For me…
    Good Luck in the synergy of the M700’s with a pair of Apogee Centaurs.

    Bad luck when changing the front end to a GCD. (Complete loss of sound stage)

    Good luck when communicating with the great people at PSA.

    Bad luck in they have no ideas beyond what I have tried to date.

    Good Luck in that I’m coming up with a plan and still believe in PSA.

  5. If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all. 🙂
    Luck is by definition unplanned.
    In February 1990 I was driving to work one morning in the middle lane of an interstate at the speed limit of 50 miles an hour. It was starting to rain. A guy in the left lane fell asleep at the wheel of his car and swerved hard to the right. He hit the rear fender of my car behind the rear wheel and sent my car into a long slow counterclockwise spin. The car was hydroplaning on the oil on the ground floating on the water. I had antilock brakes. I jammed on the brakes. I pumped the breaks, I steered into the swerve, I steered out of the swerve but no matter what I did I couldn’t slow the car down and I couldn’t regain control over it. A tractor trailer jackknifed to avoid hitting me. The northbound and soundbound lanes were separated by a concrete divider and I was going to hit it head on at full speed. I expected to die or at the very least go through the windshield and suffer severe brain damage. My life as I knew it even if I somehow survived was going to be over over. Well I did hit that wall and my car continued to spin. It came to a stop pointing diagonally towards traffic. The other car, a Dodge Daytona had gone left and scraped along the concrete. Everything up to the firewall was completely sheared off. My car was also totaled but the energy absorbing and directing crumple zones had left the passenger compartment intact. None of the glass was even broken.

    I was dazed but alive. I had hit so hard I found my eyeglasses under the passenger seat. One piece of luck was that a law had been passed in New Jersey a while earlier that you had to wear your seat belt and shoulder harness or you could get a ticket. I didn’t realize that the shoulder harness would pull me tight to the back of the seat and the only part of my body that touched the car was the top of my knee which grazed the underside of the dashboard leaving a slight red mark. I was dazed and walked out of the car. I was surprised I was alive but I didn’t realize how badly injured I was. Luckily on a job I’d once done rebuilding a toll booth plaza as a field superintendent I knew how to walk across an interstate highway with traffic without getting hit. I looked to see what happened to the other driver. All I saw was a smashed windshield, A face tilted back in the seat covered with blood, an earring, a pony tail, I thought it was a woman. I learned later it was a man. I walked across the highway past the shoulder of the road and waited for the police. Another piece of luck, someone from my office had witnessed the accident and also gave the police a report. I rode with the tow truck driver to a service station that was contracted to receive smashed up cars until they were delivered to the insurance company. I removed my personal belongings and took a cab home. I refused an offer by the cops to go to a hospital. I didn’t think I was hurt at that point.

    In such a situation your insurance coverage makes you a walking cash register. A chiropractor took an X-ray of my spine the next day. He showed me a chart of a normal spine and my X-ray. It was twisted up like a pretzel totally curved over and consistent with the accident. I needed to go 3 times a week and as it turned out it was for a year and a half. I also went to an orthopedist who sent me for physical therapy 3 times a week for about 4 months. It wasn’t until two weeks later when I got the worst headache in my life and went for a CAT scan that I found out I’d had a concussion too. They told me nothing could be done for that, I’d just have to wait to heal up. I’d gone to a lawyer who sent me to a Russian psychiatrist once a week for a year. He put me on three drugs. He told me I was crazy. I told him now tell me something I don’t know. I also had PTSD. I was fighting with everyone including at work. An engineer who couldn’t add up a column of numbers and get the right answer. It took very little to set me off. My brain had really been scrambled having hit the inside of my skull during the accident.

    I decided that I wasn’t going to sit home and feel sorry for myself. I borrowed my parents car and went to work, not for them but for me. Even if I just sat at my desk all day and did nothing if I could walk I was going to work. Naturally I was fighting with my boss, an Indian guy and I was put on probation, a “performance improvement program.” One thing I had to do was take a seminar on how to get along with people. I had a fight with the instructor and she threw me out of the class. (She said I had to learn to get along with everybody so I raised my hand and said what about Adolf Hitler….OUT! GET OUT!)

    I was surprised at my reaction during the interval between the collision with the other car and the collision with the concrete wall. Even though I was certain I was about to die I wasn’t even slightly frightened. Instead I was very sad feeling I’d been cheated out of half my life. My mind also raced at a mile a minute trying to control the car. I never knew I could think so fast. Well I have never really been the same and although I fully recovered physically my mental state had changed forever. Realizing I was living on borrowed time, things that would have previously bothered or frightened me no longer did. And knowing I will not be frightened when I eventually do die is a gift of incomparable value.

    1. “If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have no luck at all”

      Never thought i’d live to see the day you’d quote a lyric from a song made famous by one of the great American Bluesmen of all time, Albert King.

      Geez SM, you almost got me feeling sorry for ya today, have you forgiven the poor bastard who hit you and moved on with your life?

  6. Wow soundmind, glad you survived, that was a really traumatic experience.
    I had quite a scarey time flying a rental light aircraft on approach to a certain UK airport. There was a backlog of aircraft awaiting landing clearance and I was instructed to orbit 5nm out and await my turn. I was happily orbiting for about 20 minutes when ATC issued a warning of a local squall coming in. When it was getting near my clearance two light aircraft jammed ATC’s radio frequency by talking (in french) to each other, by this time the weather was getting severe but I had two hours endurance so I thought what the heck. Finally when my clearance came I just wanted to get down, this was definitely a bad error of judgement. The crosswind was now so severe I totally ran out of rudder authority crabwise just 15 foot above the runway, a sudden freak gust lost me most of my airspeed and I stalled. The aircraft dropped the last 15 feet like a stone. I have never been so violently shaken up in my life. Managed the presence of mind to shut off the fuel, quit the engine and spring the door open and advise ATC of ‘a situation’ by the time two fire engines reached me. I’d had totally destroyed the front gear and severely bent the engine mounts but at least I and the plane was upright and didn’t hit the prop on the runway. I managed to exit the aircraft easily and went to complete the necessary form filling – however the next day most of my muscles seized up and it took me 3 weeks in bed to recover. If it wasn’t for those two Frenchmen it just wouldn’t have happened, just some bad luck I guess and my poor judgement too.

    1. The chiropractor told me it was a good thing I came right away. If I’d waited I would eventually get arthritis in the bones in my spinal column mostly around my neck that nothing could cure. One day the guy giving me the physical therapy told me that they were doing one thing and the chiropractor was doing another and that I should quit the chiropractor. I told him I knew the muscles would eventually heal by themselves but the bones wouldn’t go back into place unless someone kept putting them there. If I was going to get rid of anyone it was going to be him.

      I was fighting with everyone. One day my stupid Indian boss told me in his office to do something really stupid and a waste of time He was a little guy and I thought about picking him up and throwing him through the window But we were on the first floor and he might only have gotten some cuts and bruises and would have fallen into the bushes. But had we been on the 4th floor…..

      The Russian psychiatrist was getting on my nerves. He told me I should stop wasting my time with my parents (both were terminally Ill and I took care of them on weekends while my sister took care of them during the week. They were about 50 miles away. To get back at him I asked him if he’d ever tortured political prisoners in the USSR with thorazine. He shut up about that after that. He was actually a nice guy but I do things like that even when I’m “normal.”

      A guy from Brooklyn called me up and asked me about my totaled car. I asked him who he was and how he got my name. He said he was buying the car and asked me if it had a radio in it. He’d gotten my name from a friend of his in the NYC police department. I told him the last time I saw it, it had a JBL radio in it (POS just like the Bose radio in my Altima.) He said it had no radio and I told him someone must have stolen it. I asked him if he knew that it had been in a serious front end accident. He said he didn’t know that. The frame had been so bent the fender was offset from the front wheels by over a foot and the battery was on top of the engine. I asked him how much he’d paid for it (It was a 1988 Lincoln Mark VII with about 30,000 miles on it, Only new car I ever owned.) and when he told me I told him I’d just bought a used one just like it from a dealer in Shrewsbury in cherry condition with only 13,000 miles on it for only $500 more.

  7. I don’t think that you can make your own luck, but you can work hard to put yourself in a position to take advantage of good luck when it occurs.

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