True luck is rare. When we say, “true luck,” we mean its basic definition, which might be defined as: something amazing happening to a person brought on completely by chance; i.e., without that person’s knowledge or actions. This would be your lottery winners (although even they have to buy a ticket), children born to royalty or celebrities (although how lucky those children actually are might be debatable), or two people who happen to meet one another and instantly fall in love.
It happens; it’s just not that common.
But there seems to us to be another kind of luck. This kind of luck is a more calculated luck, and it’s the sort of luck we should all be striving toward. Essentially it boils down to this: nothing in life is really certain, and thus, everything is, at some level, up to chance. For example, the girl sitting in the coffee shop might see you, get up, and come over and start a conversation. What do you think the chances of that are? Probably not very great. Call it 10% (50% if you look like Brad Pitt). But you can certainty stand up, go over, and start a conversation with her. That’s just a statement of fact: it’s completely within your power. Now whether or not the girl actually engages you in conversation is something else entirely–that’s the chance–but simply by acting, you’ve drastically increased your odds of starting a new relationship.
In an ultimately random world, the surest way to get anywhere is to make good bets. To be a good person. To work hard. There’s an element of Karma to all of this; it’s not that by doing good things for other people good things will necessarily happen to you: it’s that you increase the odds. Why? Because people are fond of others who do nice things for them. You help a neighbor, they’ll be more likely to help you when you need it. It’s not that by working hard, you’ll necessarily find success: it’s that you increase the odds. Why? Because clients like to see that you’re working hard on their behalf, and they’ll reward you with more business.
This is how both of us try to approach our writing (among other things). Each story and novel we write might only be a drop in the proverbial bucket. The odds of us ever becoming successful enough to write full time are not great. But by working hard, by adding more and more drops to that bucket, by striving to make everything we write as good as it can be, we increase–however minutely–our odds.
Both of us feel that the notion of luck has become a bit disturbed in our culture. It may have something to do with the broad umbrella of modern media (in which we include things like television, movies, commercials, music, the internet, social media). Watch as we lose all credibility and begin to sound like old men sitting on a porch yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off our lawn.
But there seems to be this pervading notion that the people we see–whether they be famous, rich, whatever–just woke up one day and suddenly were all of these things. Excepting like, the Kardashian sisters, this is almost never the case (and alright, they probably put in work as well). All of those people put in hours upon hours of work to get to where they are. They all sacrificed. They all felt at one point or another that nothing good was ever going to happen to them. But they kept on working in spite of that, they kept on dreaming, if only to improve their odds.
In the end, it probably feels less like winning the lottery, and more like getting what one deserves. And that’s the kind of luck we should all be striving toward.
W & W Sawday