There are two kinds of luck. One is a skill. The other is about chance. Allow me to explain.
Almost thirty years ago a man named Doug Yeaman taught that “Luck is the ability to recognize opportunity when it knocks.” I love that definition and have never forgotten it. I love it because it takes the randomness and chance out of being lucky. Why are some people luckier than others? They are luckier because they are better at recognizing life’s opportunities. Luckily, I am pretty damned good at it.
Why are some people luckier than others? Or better yet, how come some people get more opportunities than others? They get more because they put themselves out there more, meaning they do more, see more, act more and participate more. The more I do, the more opportunities there are to be recognized by me. In that sense, I guess that luck is a numbers game. The more I play, the luckier I get. Want to win the lottery? Buy a ticket. Want to improve your odds? Buy more tickets.
I love this because it allows me to be responsible for creating my own luck in the world. When I began my professional career, the opportunities for advancement came very quickly and I jumped on them. I worked hard (something everyone can do), I invested a lot of hours (my choice and in my control) and I jumped on every opportunity I could to increase my level of responsibility. As a result, by the time I was 23 years old, I was managing a real estate office with almost 50 agents in it. Pretty lucky, don’t you think?
I have been able to turn some of life’s most random events into opportunities as well. That is certainly how I have approached living with multiple sclerosis. The disease has given me the opportunity to learn about myself, be an example to my children, teach my family and friends about what I have learned and for me to learn about gratitude and perspective in ways I never could have imagined. These are just a few examples of how lucky I am. They are also examples of my ability to recognize opportunity when it knocks.
The other kind of luck is chance. Some call it a feeling. Do I feel lucky? You betcha! My ability to see my life and circumstances as my good fortune serves me very well. Perhaps that is not luck, as much as it is gratitude and perspective.
Hmmmmm……if gratitude and perspective are opportunities that we all have, then maybe there is only one definition of luck.
I sure am a very lucky man.