No Such Luck

I want to discuss luck and how the term is so widely misused and perhaps misunderstood. I hear so many people call others lucky and it’s important to realise that luck is only related to chance. The dictionary will tell you..

Luck – “Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”

Considering other people as lucky is a dangerous mindset people can get themselves into. It causes belief that something is not possible through effort and is very unlikely to be possible for themselves. They conclude that there is no hard work or skill involved and it MUST be down to luck that this person is able to do x, y and z. The much more likely possibility is that it is not actually that difficult and they would equally be able to do the same if they tried seems to be thrown out of the window.

“Wow, you’re so lucky. I wish I could do what you are doing”

Many travellers must hear this. Most likely more frequently as they visit their home towns or cities. I guess the ‘luck’ they are referring to is

  • Lucky to have your freedom
  • Lucky to not to have to work full time
  • Lucky to be able to see the world

The truth is, I can understand their point of view on how they would view these things as difficult. It is very easy to categorise something as difficult when you do not know the process. But it is not LUCKY!

To play the piano is difficult. It is not LUCKY that somebody can play the piano. You (correctly) assume that their skill was acquired after hours of relentless practise. Relentless practise meaning hours of getting it wrong before getting it right.

To categorise something as luck is to deny it is possible to achieve through effort. It is a very easy way of giving up.

So what should we tell people when they call us lucky?

‘Lucky to have the freedom’ – Well in our situation, we chose to become self employed and specifically picked out the work that would enable us to be location independent. We did not, by chance, land in some super job that allowed us freedom. The freedom was planned from the start. In fact, freedom WAS the plan.

‘Lucky to not to have to work full time’ – Well actually we saved up pretty hard for six months solid, while working full time jobs, BEFORE we set off and had our freedom. We had an amount in mind to target for, saved up that amount, then quit our jobs and boarded the plane. Nothing magical.

‘Lucky to see the world’ – Again, we did not accidentally stumble upon some amazing idea that gave us so much cash that now we can afford to travel to different countries. We choose to live in very affordable countries, ensuring very minimal spending and work hard on creating new projects that allow us to afford to live there.

Really, everything we have done in the last two years has been towards modifying our circumstances in a way to ensure minimum loss if we fail and maximum time available to work with new ideas. If anything, it has been quite a calculated approach.. AND.. Even though we continue to work the odds in our favour, minimum spend / maximum time, we still do make mistakes and start projects that will inevitably fail. Once you learn to fail fast, this just becomes part of the game. Lucky? I dont think so. Happy? Very! :)

So if you know somebody that you consider to be lucky, perhaps they are fortunate to be in the circumstances that they have made for themselves.

Tags: #Luck

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