How Has Luck Shaped Your Life?

When we think about the events in our lives, most people do not acknowledge the role of luck in what has happened to them.

If something good happens, you may be tempted to ascribe it to something that you did, or something that you earned. Good things happen because you worked hard. Or because you planned. Maybe you were smarter than others, which allowed you to succeed.

Similarly, negative events can often be blamed on a conspiracy against you. If you don’t get that raise at work, it is because your boss doesn’t like you. Even if you accept the blame — you didn’t get the raise because you didn’t work enough overtime, for example — that may not be accurate.

Luck plays a larger role in our lives than many admit. Most of the big decisions in your life, like where you live, what company you work for, who you are married to, where you went to college, etc. often come down to luck.

Maybe you chose to look at one open house and not another, and the one you picked is the place you currently live. Why did you choose one over the other? You got lucky.

You might have selected one party instead of another, and at that party you met the love of your life. In hindsight, it was a wise choice. But at the time you made it, it was the equivalent of a coin flip.

This is not to say that no one deserves anything in their lives, good or bad. People make bad decisions. Then they must live with the consequences of those bad decisions. But not every bad outcome is due to a bad decision, and not every benefit in life comes from merit.

How has luck (good or bad) shaped your life? Do you think you have had more good luck, or bad? Or is it about equal?

Related questions: What is luck? Can you make yourself luckier? How do you define success? When is doubt helpful?

A special thanks to Meagan O’Brien, who suggested the question.

7 thoughts on “How Has Luck Shaped Your Life?”

  1. I’m sorry. I don’t agree with the premise.

    There is no such thing as luck. Instead there is chance — random but natural, not the world and its events being biased for or against you. True, you can make decisions and take actions that make you more prone to opportunities or accidents. But that’s that.

    The closest thing to luck (good/bad), I think, is possibly being born into privilege or not. But calling that luck, I think, is being too forgiving of the world and the systems, which work exactly as they were intended — for or against one population or outcome or another.

    That said, I often get lazy and use the word luck to describe how fortunate I am to have Rebecca as my partner in life. Ah, yes, I am a lucky guy.

    1. Michael, I agree with you, I don’t believe in luck. As a Christian, I believe God is our Parent who loves us and watches over us. The odds are that I, a young man born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, would meet and fall in love with a young woman born in Bolivia, are too great. I tell people it was a match made in heaven, and I’m serious. With God on our side, who needs luck?

  2. Interestingly, the Bible speaks of the false gods Luck and Destiny at Isaiah 65:11. There it says that those that believe in Luck and Destiny, have turned their backs on God.

    1. Cecily, your comment raises a question for me. Are some people predestined to believe in God and others not? A friend tells me that some are chosen and some aren’t. I tend not to believe it. I believe God has no favorites. What do you think? (if this is too personal, don’t feel obligated to respond).

      1. That’s a great question Tom.
        The Bible says at Acts 10:34 that God is not partial. This, as well as the “great crowd out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues” spoken of at Revelation 7:9 would indicate that God draws people to Him from all places and languages.
        Are some people predestined to believe in God? Well if that were true then why did God give us free will? If we were fated to believe, or not, then our worship of God would not be genuine. God wants us to love Him because we want to, not because we have no choice. That being said, the Bible indicates that God does draw people to Him. Zephaniah 2:3 lists some of the qualities that God looks for in an individual. John 13:34,35 also shows God’s people would be known by the fact that they exhibit love as their chief quality. God can see the condition of the heart in each of us and when He sees those qualities, He draws us to Him. James 4:8 shows this. It says, “Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.”

  3. Instead of luck, one might say “chance” or “accident”. A good many things in my life have happened that way. And if you believe in evolution, it seems that’s how DNA works, so much of life depends on it.

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