Luck of the Irish or Luck of the Persevering?

In Life & Travel by Jackie Cruz

What is luck? A surprising point in time when two, seemingly different worlds permeate at one grandiose point, causing a winning situation for at least one party? Is it a traditional definition defined by Nicholas Rescher as “Luck is a matter of having something good or bad happen that lies outside the horizon of effective foreseeability” [1]. Or, is it an insignificant occurrence without us questioning why or how?

I do not believe in luck 100% of the time. I think there are times when chance, luck or fate plays a role and, without preparation, positive energy and outcomes are catapulted into our lives. However, for the other 90% of occurrences, I believe “preparation meets opportunity.” It is a slogan featured on my website and something I truly believe in.

People work their entire lives on one thing – sports, art, writing or another passion – and wait until they are much older to achieve their ultimate dream. They practice their trade or hobby for thousands of hours until one day someone buys their art gallery or agrees to publish their book for some big bucks. What seems like an infinite amount of time is put into preparing one’s best work in order to have one opportunity to shine and show themselves to the world.

Sometimes, opportunities pass by without us even noticing that we could have prepared for them. How many times have we (including myself) skipped spending those extra 10 minutes working on juggling before training or long balls after practice? Then, in the game, our touches are off or we mishit the long ball to our teammate. How many times have we created a presentation without preparing for follow-up questions? If we had just taken an extra 20 minutes to think of potential answers to those questions, we could have blown our bosses out of the water with our knowledge and ideas.

Everyone has the same 1,440 minutes in the day, but how do we spend it? Watching 1 less episode of Orange & Black could be spent perfecting our shooting technique after training. Or, looking at 1 less pointless magazine could be spent preparing for those follow-up questions in an important meeting.

I know what some of you are thinking also – but Jackie, how do we know for certain that these extra opportunities will come? Whatever your goals are, prepare for them with your fullest potential and act as if they are already planned in your life. Someday, those opportunities will come! There will be more explanation of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne in a later blog, but for right now we will stick to the basics.

It is much like Plato and Newton’s theories: when you put positive energy into the atmosphere, an equal and opposite reaction will come back to you. Therefore, if you are preparing to the best of your ability for a something, the opportunity will arise in your life eventually. So, remember – put all of your positive energy into your small and large goals and the opportunities will come to you!

Just a small tip from my nerdiness: POP it! POP is an acronym I came up with, much like HAPPY, that means: Power Of Positivity. Even if you say these 3 letters in your mind, in front of the mirror or while doing a Beyoncé dance, it all means the same thing. Staying and thinking positive will eventually have a great effect on your life!

Everyone has thought in his or her head – please, professor! Do not call on me! Yet, many times, we end up sweating our balls off, spending a few moments thinking of the perfect answer to seem intelligent to our peers in class. Have you ever thought why does this happen when I am thinking so hard so it does not happen? As explained by Byrne, the universe does not recognize negatives. In other words, when you think 20 times about something “not” happening, it will happen.

This is another reason to mentally and physically reiterate only positive (without negating) thoughts, such as “call on the guy who always picks his nose in class,” or better “allow my mind to have calmness and clarity when the professor calls on me so I can have a strong answer.”

A lot people think – well, nicely explained, but does all this nonsense about inner peace and positivity really work? When you feel down, forcing yourself to smile feels a lot better than walking around with your shoulders down. After making a mistake on the soccer field, walking with your shoulders back and head up is extremely hard, but feels amazing and allows you to focus on the next play. Like these two examples, staying positive through seemingly impossible hurdles will pay off and consequently have positive effects in individual situations and eventually permeate your entire life.

Getting back to the luck thing – luck is for the persevering! Sure, timing plays a role, but what happens when the timing is great, but you are not prepared for the opportunity? June 5th of this last summer my current coach replied to my email and phone call to confirm tryouts in early July.

Starting that day, I made a training plan from June 8 – July 6 for my tryout with FF USV Jena. The only thing that kept me running in 99.5 degree heat in California was a chance and a dream of having a 1 next to Bundesliga on my resume. After running miles, lifting weights and chugging protein shakes, I ran more miles, lifted more weights and drank more protein.

Tryouts came, a nerve-racking week went by and I was on the team. As Rescher puts it, “deliberate effort and the exercise of skill, talent and insight remove luck from the scene.” In other words, nothing would have happened if I waited for a “lucky” moment and did not prepare everyday for that one chance to tryout for a 1st division team.

Do you believe in luck? What motivates you? What are you preparing for right now

[1] Rescher, Nicholas. (1995). Luck: The Brilliant Randomness Of Everyday Life. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Image by Wallpapercave.