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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

Do You Believe In Luck?

When I was younger, anytime luck was mentioned I had an aversion to it. I would say, “Luck is a self-inflicted state of mind.” And I believed it. I think. I thought success in anything was the result of hard work, persistence, courage, and other things within my control. Life has taught me different.

Some events and outcomes in life, perhaps even most of them, can be attributed to internal influences like the choices we make and how hard we work. But there are other outcomes and events in life that can clearly be attributed to external influences, like a natural disaster or another person’s choices. It’s these external, unpredictable, unstable, uncontrollable forces that can deliver crushing blows.

We don’t like to think of luck as a factor. It goes against our illusion of control.

What is luck? We use words and we assume we know what they mean, but we all define them in our own way. Luck is generally considered to be an outcome that is brought on by chance rather than one’s own actions and efforts. But nothing is that clear or clean cut. Life is messy, as we have discovered. The false assumption here is that outcomes are the result of either one or the other. The reality is they are usually a combination of both. Even when another person makes a horrible choice and we suffer the consequences, very often we have chosen to have that person in our lives.

I worked hard on my craft when I was younger, but so do lots of other writers. When I was twenty-two years old, an author that I had never met, insisted that her agent come and hear me speak. After the event, I was introduced to an agent from one of the biggest literary agencies in the world. The William Morris Agency opened the doors to all the biggest publishers. They literally took me from one publisher to another introducing me and my work.

Was that luck? Fate? Destiny? Divine providence? The inevitable response to all my hard work? What role did my talent play? And what credit can I take for my success? Some but not all. Why did that author decide to do what she did? How would my life have been different if she hadn’t? I don’t know. I can’t know. I will never know.

Luck is a factor, but how much is a mystery. There is such a thing as being in the right place at the right time, and the wrong place at the wrong time. And I do know that the harder you work the more luck and success you attract. Perhaps luck is one of those things that is dangerous to think too much about, but unwise to ignore altogether.

I have lived a fortunate life. Has life been easy? No. Have I suffered? Yes. Have I experienced good luck and bad luck? Yes. Is my fortunate life the result of my hard work alone? No.

Yes, I have worked hard. I have worked hard to improve my writing. I have worked hard to grow spiritually and develop character. I have diligently saved and invested some of the fruits of my work. I have dedicated myself to my primary relationships. I have worked hard to help others and make a contribution to society. I’ve worked hard but I have also been fortunate.

Matthew Kelly

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