I recently watched an interview between David Letterman and president Barack Obama. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Regardless of what you think about either man or politics, it was an interesting and enjoyable discussion.
There was a point in the interview that struck me and made me think for several days about what they said. The topic was Luck.
Mr. David Letterman asked Mr. Obama about how they both got to be where they were when so many people with as much, or even more, talent and effort did not stand where they stood and haven’t done what they have done. Mr. Obama said “there is a great deal of luck in being able to get to these places. Being in the right place and getting the opportunities that many others may never get… Luck is a big factor that is always overlooked and underestimated”. I agreed.
You can be very good at what you do and work very hard all your life, but still not achieve what some others may achieve, or conversely, achieve things that others may only dream of. Chance and luck.
It is very hard in 2018 to accept that luck has any role in our lives these days. Randomness and probability seem like long forgotten concepts and have no place outside physics or mathematics classes. But we are wrong.
Why is it that some succeed and others don’t? Why is it that some find true love and others may never? Although I don’t deny that effort and energy are also ingredients it just doesn’t equal result. Luck is still a very important factor.
It is far easier to discuss the influence of luck when we are talking about good events or achievements, it’s a lot harder when we are talking about painful and life changing events.
Why are some people sick and others healthy, despite the fact that they may drink, smoke, eat unhealthily, not exercise enough etc? It’s not easy to answer. I still struggle with it sometimes. Why do some people respond to certain drugs and trials when many do not?!
And… Why are some beloved people killed in tragic accidents when there are killers and murders out there walking around unscathed? It seems almost incomprehensible!
I don’t believe in fate or predetermined paths but I do believe there is a lot that we underestimate when it comes to luck and chance.
No one is usually born thinking they are an unlucky person and most believe the cultural myth that we can be whoever we want and do anything we want, and that thinking otherwise is for losers and underachievers.
Of course I also think we have some very different perceptions on what is lucky… I recall someone saying that I must be lucky not to have to work everyday. True! Beggars belief!! Someone actually said that to me and many people probably think it! And… that it must be a lucky and easy life for my husband to be my full time carer!
The only thing I can say is that people say and assume the strangest things! … Perhaps a lack of knowledge and understanding is also a huge predictor on your life and what you will ever truly achieve.
However, I also had to ask myself am I unlucky to have to endure these diseases and challenges? I can honestly say yes I am very unlucky. Incredibly unlucky. Ridiculously unlucky to have so many illnesses and such a painful and reduced life. I am unlucky to be in such pain. I am unlucky to be unable to do the things that most people can do i.e. Like eating, walking, seeing, moving, partying, traveling, working and experiencing like so many other people all over the world. Heartbreakingly unlucky. Soul destroyingly unlucky…
Lucky to have the husband that I have. The mind I have. The appreciation I have. The furry companions that I have. The view outside my window I have. The bed I have. The clothes on my back. The memories I have. The friendships I have had. The sense of humour I have. The moments of peace I have. Some of the talents I still have.
I wonder, when we are breathing our last breaths on this earth, will everyone of us feel lucky or unlucky?