Prepare to be Lucky

Photo by Djalma Paiva Armelin on Pexels.com

Jack Nicklaus said, “yes, I admit I was lucky. But I saw it and I was ready for it, whereas many people wouldn’t know a stroke of luck if it bit them on the nose.”

This is my new motto, luck happens, it’s the direction in which I will train my thoughts, even when life takes unexpected detours (think pandemic), I’ll cling to the unimagined possibilities waiting in the wings. As Emma Donoghue says, trials are only temporary, we can sail towards happiness through the roughest weather.

I’ve done nothing to muscle my thoughts towards the good, it’s more about self preservation, something I’ve absently promoted, by ignoring to the point of neurosis, anything that disrupts my peace. I’m what you call a conflict avoider, I use my imagination to swarth the opposition, and in doing so secure my tranquility.

It might be more of a burden than a gift?

For example, if I hear a phone ring anywhere in the house, for a split second I find myself centering my ear on the receiver, tittering on the edge of my seat, knowing instinctually the caller is the bearer of good news, and something extraordinary is about to happen. Isn’t that the strangest thing?

As William Shakespeare says, “I am fortune’s fool.”

More often than not it’s a tenant with a leaky facet or the dentist confirming a torturous appointment, but that does not deter me in the least. I still think Larry will drive over to fix that leaky pipe, he’ll discover a ten dollar bill wedged under the tire of his car, he’ll think to slip into the Speedy Mart on the way home to buy a Lottery ticket, and we’ll win enough money to pay off my car! Bahaha.

Luck is not as random as you think, before that lottery ticket won the jackpot, someone had to buy it, says Vera Nazarian

It’s never happened, okay not yet, but here I am holding the ticket, hoping for the best, that underground stream of expectation silently flowing.

Optimism means hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. A doctrine set forth by Leibniz that says this world is the best of all possible worlds, that good must prevail over evil, it’s Latin originally meaning “best thing.” Bill Maher says, “if you’re born at this time in history, you’re lucky. We all are. We won the world history Powerball lottery.”

The thing I’m noticing is preparation and luck are intrinsically intertwined, neither can be thoroughly mapped out ahead of time, or forced into being. “You have to allow for the suddenly altered landscape, the change in plan, the accidental spark – and you have to see it as a stroke of luck rather than a disturbance of your perfect scheme,” says Twyla Tharp.

As E.B. White claims creative people and creative lives are prepared to be lucky.

I think that’s the appeal of sporting events like the Super Bowl. It starts with the drafting process, then you scrutinize the practices, and games. The losers and winners, whose in and whose out, by the day of the big game your spinning with possibility, you might even have money down on your favorite team. It’s captivating, the unexpected turn of events, the adrenaline surges that keep you leaping off the sofa, the explosive reaction to the referees, not to mention the guacamole and chips.

What do you think Tom Brady thinks about preparation and luck? “The only thing I really like doing during the week is getting ready to play the game,” says Brady. You don’t get lucky without preparation, and there’s no sense in being prepared if you’re not open to the possibility of a glorious outcome says Twyla Tharp.

I have never assumed anything good in my life is of my own doing, but I will concur the bad is mostly due to my poor choices, but this is how it works, you have to prepare for opportunity, you don’t know when or where it will happen, it’s like the anticipated Second Coming of Christ, don’t let it catch you unprepared.

Now my Dad was in the retread business, he dealt with rubber compounds, molds, heating elements, and such, but he had this same approach to life. I think it’s interesting that the discovery of vulcanized rubber was just a lucky coincidence. Charles Goodyear (what a great name), after years of experimentation, walks into a general store in 1839, accidentally spills his concoction of gum and sulphur onto a sizzling potbelly stove, and discovers that instead of melting like molasses the compound chars like leather, leaving a dry, springy material that keeps it flexibility at almost any temperature. Goodyear called the process “vulcanization” and almost every use of rubber depends on it, including retread tires, which my Dad spent the better part of his life creating and selling. See that is the definition of a good attitude. Right? This guy had been messing around with formulas for years and was able to recognize the importance of what took place on that stove, and then he was able to repeat the process. That’s what I’m talking about preparing to be lucky.

Is that just so amazing?

I say luck happens all the time but we’re not prepared for luck as luck would have it. If we adopt the example of Goodyear and Brady we can be assured if we’re experimenting, practicing, and preparing, in wholehearted pursuit of our passions, the more luck has a chance to land in our hands, get stuck under the tire, bite us on the nose.

I’m living in the Gap, feeling lucky, how about you?

Anecdotes:

  • “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” Dalai Lama XIV
  • “Luck is the residue of design.” John Milton
  • “Learn to recognize good luck when it’s waving at you, hoping to get your attention.” Sally Koslow

37 Comments

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  1. I like to imagine that I am a creative person, at the very least where writing is concerned. However, I do not anticipate, nor expect, to ever be lucky in anything. I have done the Saturday night national lottery here since it started. I never expect to win, so when I do, it will be a wonderful surprise. What I don’t like is when they send me an email, headed “Congratulations”. Then it goes on to say, “You have matched two numbers, so have won a lucky dip entry for Wednesday”. They get my hopes up, then shatter them. 🙂 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are an extremely creative person Pete and I’m thinking the lucky part has to do with all the people that have found you and your intriguing blog! You have close to 7,000 followers and I call that being prepared, doing the work, and most importantly your kind support of the writing community. Is it just preparation? Or preparation and lady luck? I hope you win that lottery someday, I can only begin to imagine your post! Warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t feel bad. My dad always used to say that if it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.

      On the other hand, one of my favorite characters from El Ministerio del Tiempo always says:

      “La suerte no existe, sólo exista la mala suerte, procuraré esquivarla” (Alonso)

      “(good) Luck doesn’t exit, only bad luck, I’ll be sure to dodge it.”

      -Alonso de Entrerios of The Ministry of Time, RTVE Spanish Public Television

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I kind of cringed at the way people would call my dad “the professor,” in a both respectful and mocking way, yet shake their heads at him. He was right, yet knowing that only bad luck exists does not help unless you take that second step, like Alonso, and make sure to duck! Being sober helps in the ducking part, I think.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. 🙂
          Hey, my dad said I should not make the same mistakes he made, and that was an easy lesson to learn, so, thanks! 🙂
          (Chinese kung fu lessons also helped, after college…)
          May we all learn from the past and help use it to shape a better, kinder, safer society for all of us!
          Stay safe, Cheryl, and thank you for this post!
          Cheers,
          -Shira

          Liked by 1 person

  2. “…claims creative people and creative lives are prepared to be lucky.”

    I do not believe in luck, but I do believe in random chance, and chance favors the prepared, that is certain.

    Life is very much a matter of working to put yourself into the best position you can be in to do what needs to be done, whether it is polishing a resume and learning a language to be ready to work somewhere else, if jobs are not available where you are, if you are lucky enough (ok, I admit that that is a matter of luck, somewhat) to be healthy enough to jump on an opportunity, despite the carpal’s tunnels from typing too much! I think that just as ‘chance favors the bold,’ chance and luck depend and are made/created based on our doing the work to be able to take advantage of any opportunity that comes our way, or that we go searching for if need be, as I continue to search for fellow Human Beings with whom to Stand in the Gap for HumanKind,
    (and I’ve just posted a college Algebra post that may help some student prepare for his or her lucky break…)
    In Service,
    -Shira

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great response Shira, I agree with all that you have so graciously put forth. I love this especially, “I think that just as ‘chance favors the bold,’ chance and luck depend and are made/created based on our doing the work to be able to take advantage of any opportunity that comes our way, or that we go searching for if need be, as I continue to search for fellow Human Beings with whom to Stand in the Gap for Humankind.” Brilliant thoughts Shira, lighting the way, thank you, C

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Luck is something, which never supports me! But, yes I do believe in hard work. We can achieve our goals and dreams through hard work. If we donot try and fail , we can never be a successful individuals.
    As a bird will never fly with one wing, I perceive, that luck is our left wing and hard work is our right wing. So with both we can fly to achieve our goals.😊

    Well, that was really a good read.
    I must appreciate the way you have delineated your thoughts. Its just awesome.
    But, I have also started blogging on positivity and inspiration. It will mean world to me if you can stop by my blog and share some love. I will be waiting for your feedbacks.
    Thank you, have a great day❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment d.pensive! I especially like “luck is our left-wing and hard work is our right-wing. So with both, we can fly to achieve our goals.” Such a powerful image and beautiful message. I’ll stop over and check out your blog, thanks for letting me know. Warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful post. I love your writing style. Maybe because it is similar to mine, so you communicate the message straight to my feeble brain 🧠
    All of the messages of luck ring true, especially that one from the Dalai Lama, not getting what we think we want could be great fortune 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Stearley, I appreciate your kind words, and yes I believe that is why your writing speaks to me, us “feebles” have our unique way of communicating, how lucky is that? And I wholeheartedly believe not getting what I want is indeed a blessing! All my best, C

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Cheryl,
    Always a joy to read your blog. Even better is to read your piquant replies to my musings. Love your new motto. Luck does happen. Of course, so does shit. Love it that when your phone rings, you know it is something good, and if not, then something good will result from the non-good thing. Whereas with me, I am pretty sure it means I have to go to the hospital to place a tube in something that is not meant to have a tube in it, or, even worse, someone has hacked my social media account.
    This was a fun post. It instantly made me think of my awesome mother-in-law. She has been blessed with an amazing 4 leaf clover patch in her back yard. She picked one, had it laminated and sent it to me. It is sitting on my desk as I type.
    I think I agree with Thomas Jefferson, who said ““I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.“ I also agree with Bill Maher, that we do live in the best of times. Oddly, prolonged leisure time appears to result in an increased mortality rate. (American Journal of Epidemiology, October 2018)
    Of course you had to quote E B White, and I instantly had a nightmare flashback to college English writing, and the omnipresent Elements of Style….Barf. About which, American poet Dorothy Parker said: If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

    In my contrarian inner punk style, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQOJY4NXYzM&curator=MediaREDEF
    Stay safe, we just about have this whipped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning Mike, always a joy to wake up to your observations! I had a really unexpected gift from one of my students and it got me thinking good luck and good fortune. She celebrates the Chinese New Year and she wanted to share her tradition with me. So she asked for my address so she could drop by a small package. I gave her the information and days later I found a gift hanging on my door. Inside was chocolate covered coins and an intricate red envelop with crisp bills inside. The idea is to send the recipient good luck and good fortune for the New Year. I was so touched by her gesture to honor me by including me in her tradition. How lucky am I?

      Anyway, it got me thinking about the idea of luck and of course, everyone was spouting about Brady and his good luck. And as luck would have it I was reading a book about creativity and it had a whole chapter on preparing for luck by practicing, putting your work out there, and being prepared for luck. All of that together inspired the post. But I must add since then I have been blessed with green lights, parking spaces, and advantageous timing. I believe that red envelope is doing the heavy lifting.

      I love the story of your adorable Mother-in-law, she must adore you! She framed a four-leaf clover, I love that.

      I have read about the increased mortality rate during prolonged leisure time, I hear it spikes during the holidays too, but that makes sense. The holidays can be rather stressful with family dynamics and all. I wonder if the inactivity itself is the culprit? We’re so programmed to be productive?

      “If you have any friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy,” oh that is rich! You’re an avid hunter, right?

      Here’s to a lucky break with this blasted virus, we’re almost there, hugs, Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Color me shocked that you liked that song!
          I feel compelled to comment on your Chinese student sharing her New Year tradition with you. Having a student go out of their way to include you in this manner shows that she cares and the you have made a difference. Your work is clearly having a positive effect. What a joy it is when you can get more out of work than just a paycheck. You are blessed. This of course, will make it more difficult to retire.

          As far as prolonged leisure time, I believe humans need a purpose. In years gone by, it was faith, family and providing food and shelter. In the absence of these, something else needs to take its place. This can be helping others, working for social, or environmental causes or even passionately pursing a hobby one cares about. In any event, if nothing provides this focus, I believe one is left with apathy and depression. Wine and coffee can only do so much. 😉

          Like

  6. Now I know why I enjoy your blog so much. I too am an optimist. It drives my granddaughter nuts. She deliberately does things to try to get me upset…lol Today she took the remote and said haha I get the tv. I said that’s ok there’s nothing on anyway. She said can’t you ever get mad. She decided to make cookies all by herself about a month ago. She dropped my large bowl and broke it and completely ruined the cookie dough. She asked me why I didn’t yell at her. I said because that wouldn’t change a thing, the bowl would still be broken. Now I get to buy a new one. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diane, I’m so glad to find a sister optimist out there on a life long search for the good! Makes my heart happy. I have always believed it’s just as easy to look on the bright side of things as it is to focus on the negative. And like you say “the bowl would still be broken,” and now you get to go shopping! Whoot Hoot! I remember one of my son’s friends commenting on my comportment while vacationing with us one summer, he said, “why doesn’t your Mom ever blow up?” I was ever so pleased he actually noticed. Keep up the charm Diane, hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Luck is, of course, a manifestation of a miracle. A miracle manifests after a period of intense expectation. Intense expectation during waiting for a miracle (wishing for luck to turn) is a matter of Faith. Faith and the attendant expectation is the sum and essence of the concept of “Luck.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, wow, I love how you intertwine faith and luck, miracles and manifestations, expectation and hope. This is fantastic, thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’m greatly appreciative and charmed, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “I have never assumed anything good in my life is of my own doing, but I will concur the bad is mostly due to my poor choices…”

    I love this line. It’s exactly how I think about my life too. I’m willing to say such, while preparing for any luck that might come my way– and trust me I’ll know it when I see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ally, thanks for the comment, very good to know your “luck” radar is in good working order, you never know when you’ll be visited by the marvelous lady-luck! I might assume she’s around every corner but sometimes I’m surprised by her ingenious hiding places. All my best, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So true Crystal, it’s a mindset, something you can practice, maybe get better at? As you train your thoughts to scan for the positive instead of the negative. I can do that most of the time but admittedly it’s not always possible. Best wishes, C

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post. I absolutely agree with you: luck and preparation are closely intertwined. I liked your example of having to buy the lottery ticket before we can win the jackpot! It’s definitely a principle of life. You have to plan, prepare, take steps, act. All of those put us in the right place to experience an amazing stroke of luck 🙂

    Like

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