Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Time and Chance

I don't subscribe to the view that the world is against me, or against any particular individual. I do believe that some people are unluckier than others.

The people who least believe in luck are, generally, people who believe that their own hard work has brought them success. The thought that they got to their lofty position in life with any help from chance is anathema to them. It's all down to their own hard work...in their eyes.

That idea has so many holes in it: How did they obtain their genes? How did they pick their school? How did they pick their personality before conception?

Think of all the personal things that you had no control over, or were picked by your parents.

I'm not saying that hard work has nothing to do with success. Without hard work you won't be a success. My argument is with the belief that success is ALL about hard work.

How many of today's successful people would be equally successful in Zimbabwe, or China, or if they were born to poor parents in Bulgaria or Egypt or India?

Our place and time of birth is due to circumstances completely outside our control. The education we are given is outside our control. We can re-educate ourselves later in life, or change its direction as a teenager, but we can't control what we learn from our parents or our junior school...unless we have the right personality or genes...which we don't pick ourselves.

Sometimes success is down to being in the right place at the right time, or knowing the right person. In those cases what the person has done is put themselves in the position to take advantage of luck.

Events have occurred in my life that I could not control, such as being made redundant twice.

I have also had some luck. Despite all the problems I've had with being let down by a lot of people, I do manage to find some good friends. I also have three wonderful kids and I was born in a country that has decent, if imperfect, health and benefits systems.

My attempts at being 'successful' have not worked and I may never be a success according to some definitions.

But I know what luck is, what it isn't and I know that we all have luck, both good and bad.

Today, I wish my luck would change for the better.

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