In my last article I talked mostly about presence in the workplace - real life, no bullshit presence. And what a revelation it is to just be. *See BJ Miller’s TED talk here — let me know your thoughts on the snowball moment.* This time round i’m steering left slightly and focusing on chance. Yep- that good ol’ fashioned thing that we love to hate: ‘luck’.
People really like to say that they don’t believe in luck, don’t they? Like it’s some self sabotaging phenomena that, should they confess to believing in, will undermine their past, present and future achievements. But who really doesn’t believe in luck? Can you be honest with me? Remember that perfect strike? Or that near miss when you crossed the road? Or that ‘chance’ encounter in the bar (no, the other one) that led you to that conversation which in turn landed you an interview next week at that corporate firm in the city? Call it what you will, be it chance, coincidence, ‘right time, right place’ — it’s certainly apparent. But is it worthy of being deemed ‘responsible’?
I’m always told that I’m lucky. “Yaz, you’re so lucky to live where you live”, “You’re so lucky to have such amazing friends”, “You’re so lucky to have that job”. Yes, I’m lucky — truly. But I’m no lottery ticket. All of these pieces in my puzzle of a life, I chose. They didn’t just turn up one day. The point is, these virtues are only in my life because I chose them to be and they will continue to be, ad infinitum. I take pride in that. I’m learning to dismiss the assignment of my achievements to ‘luck’, because low and behold it has a knock on effect, I almost believed it too. Almost ;) The tyranny of chance is as consuming as it is dangerous, it isn’t responsible for my achievements. It isn’t responsible for my choices. I am.
Thomas Jefferson proclaimed to be a great believer in luck: “the harder I work, the more of it I have”, which sums this whole article up in one sentence. When luck meets preparation you find opportunity — don’t get it twisted with pure chance though, it’s not. You must have had the butterfly effect conversation? And if you haven’t then you ain’t my people. It’s the notion that one split second decision can determine a series of events that you could never have predicted, but fundamentally cultivated: cause and effect. I take huge comfort in knowing that my previous choices have led me to this place, and get excited at the prospect of my future experiences being based on the choices I make today. This doesn’t mean that impulsivity should be eradicated, that would suck— it means that being carefree should not preclude being careful. Be careful with your moments.
This enables me to harness the power of chance.
Conclusion: Do the ground work, make the right choices even though they’ll probably be the harder ones, and be hyper aware of cause and effect. It’s like writing your own rulebook for your day-to-day — simple huh?