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The Path Of Luck Or Serendipity?

Jan 24, 2008
"I find that the harder I work the more luck I seem to have." - Thomas Jefferson

I have often heard the question, "Do you believe in luck?" I do actually, but I prefer to call it serendipity; for two reasons.

1) Since so many do not know the meaning of the word it is my way of getting everyone to look it up.

2) I prefer my students to associate the idea with words like: fate, destiny, providence, fortune, and design, instead of the negative ideas normally associated with luck.

I don't like the word "luck". First there is the immediate association to games of luck such as blackjack and poker which are often associated with gambling, casinos, and wrong living. Next there is the predominant idea that luck is for the lucky; as if there were a chosen few who can enjoy it. There is no such thing! Then there is the immediate association to families of fortune and people inheriting great fortunes with never having to work for them. These are all negative ideas! I wish to avoid those images, for images as you may know have a strong influence over our minds. When someone brings up the conversation about luck in my presence I often maneuver the conversation towards a conversation about serendipity if I can. Now that is something worth talking about.

Serendipity is an interesting idea. It is defined as the accidental discovery of something useful. Though people who are familiar with serendipity will tell you there is usually nothing accidental about it. Inventors are familiar with the idea of discovering things that were never being looked for but one idea led to another causing the delightful affect of stumbling into a new discovery. Authors, song writers, scientists, anyone who does much creating in their work have had the acquaintance of serendipity and know that there is design and providence involved.

It was the French scientist Louis Pasteur who said "in the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind." The simple meaning of course is that luck means being ready. This suggests to me that Louis Pasteur like many other creators are familiar with the path of serendipity. There is no luck involved! There is however a secret link if you will! The link is this: One idea leads to another. That is the simple truth taught by the greatest inventor of all time, Thomas Edison. One idea leads to another.

There is no such thing as luck. Luck is opportunity meeting preparedness. Once a person is prepared, opportunities begin to present themselves almost like magic. But it isn't magic. Those opportunities were there already in some cases, or being divinely maneuvered all the time but you did not see them. Your eye of discernment was dulled by being un- prepared.

If I may diverge a moment, the coming apocalypse that is preached about warns the chosen to have their lamps filled with oil lest they be unprepared. There will be no luck involved in the choosing of the righteous. Preparedness will guarantee a place with Him at the crucial hour.

The idea that luck, or something happening out of pure coincidence is going to happen to you or I is a lie set up by someone who wants to rob us of our strength and ability. Can you guess who that is? Their goal is to make us ill-prepared, even less than self-sufficient. Luck has kept people in the poor house. It has stripped strength away, leaving only frightful dependent people who have learned how to play the numbers but can't read or write at a high-school level.

On the other hand, the empowered are prepared. They have worked hard. They believe in continuing education. They prepare themselves for the opportunities they seek and when those opportunities present themselves they are prepared for success and they grab them.

In our quote for today, Thomas Jefferson says that the harder he works the more luck he seems to have. That is just another way of saying that preparedness is the key factor. The next part, the part when opportunity presents itself is not so magical at all. It is that link we spoke about earlier of one idea leading to another. Obviously the more ideas you have, the more ideas you will run into. I use the following exercise in my classes sometimes to illustrate the path of serendipity.

Use a shoe box or something similar for this exercise. Get a number of toy building blocks, enough to fill the box. Let us say that 12 blocks fill the shoe box. Now the only thing you have in the box when you begin is empty space. Put a block in. Now you have a block and a lot of empty space. Put another block in. Now you have two blocks and less space. Make sure you explain that there is a certain amount of space that has been taken away. Continue till the box is half filled. Now you have a box half empty and half full of blocks. Continue till you fill the box.

Now let's say that the blocks are pieces of you and the space is ideas. The more you fill the box with you, the more ideas you take until there is you- full of ideas. So the box illustrates that we should fill our life with ourselves. The more we fill it the more of it becomes us. The more we prepare ourselves, the more likely we are to see the next idea. Taking it a step at a time, one idea leads to the next idea, then the next idea until you are full. The beauty is in life, there is no filling the box; there is no end. We just keep expanding ourselves like the universe expands itself, ever growing and grabbing ideas as we go, each one leading to another.

Luck is hard work. It is preparing yourself through education and networking with the right people. Eventually you will begin to see serendipity happen in your life. That is when you will feel the empowerment that comes from living right. Remember, the harder you work the more luck you will have!
About the Author
John Cyr is a retired workforce development trainer and motivational consultant who writes articles and editorials under the pen-name Johnny Cyreous, or Cyreous. He maintains a website of quotes by famous people and advocates his method of teaching at www.cyreousquotes.com
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