Saturday, September 27, 2003

Made in Pennsylvania 

I totally believe you can manufacture your own luck -- good and bad. I think anybody can have good luck if they can learn to recognize positive opportunities and then practice seizing them. And I think anybody can have bad luck by either failing to recognize good opportunities or just letting them slip away.

For example, everybody knows you can't win the lottery if you don't play it, right? So therefore, just by playing it, you increase your changes of winning from zero to something. Why not apply that same logic to luck in general?

As a writer, I don't have a prayer of getting published in a national magazine unless I actually submit query letters, right? So if I increase the probability of that happening by sending out 1500 queries instead of 17, then aren't I essentially manufacturing my own luck? Through my own diligence?

Likewise, I probably won't be killed in a fiery "bad luck" racecar accident at the racetrack if I don't put myself in that situation. By deciding not to be a professional racecar driver I have reduced the probability that I would die in that manner.

One of my least favorite sayings in the world is "If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all." Saying that is caving in to the attitude that our own efforts count for nothing -- and blaming everything on fate, instead. How convenient.

I remember reading something years ago about Chaos Theory that said that even the tiniest of happenings can have huge consequences. The example given was how the beating of a butterfly wing in the rain forest can cause a windstorm in the desert. People do a million things every single day to manufacture their own luck -- both good and bad. It might be something so slight that it practically goes unnoticed, like smiling and letting another driver squeeze out ahead of you in a long line of traffic in the rain forest. Meanwhile, weeks later in the desert, there you are sitting at that person's desk for a job interview. There's something about you she responds positively to and you're hired! Like the butterfly, your tiny speck of positive energy had huge consequences.

Like attracts like. Luck attracts luck. A negative attitude attracts negativity like dust to a TV screen.

Want to be lucky? Seize every opportunity to share, smile, think positive, help others, and be kind. It works. Trust me; I'm very lucky.

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