Personally, I have a strong aversion toward any notion of “making your own luck,” a thoroughly ridiculous idea if ever I’ve heard one. Luck, by it’s very definition, is bigger than we are and any reference to making it ourselves would seem to me to put humans on a level that should be occupied by God or whatever you call your higher power. If we were actually in charge, luck wouldn’t be luck at all, but rather a natural consequence of our own exceptionalism (or lack of same); we would all be famous, rich, live happy lives without suffering and there would be no need for Tony Robbins, organized religion, or the lottery. If we actually made our own luck, would there even be a special word for it? I believe in luck and, like Teddy Pendergrass sang in 1974, I also believe in bad luck.
“Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.” – Lucille Ball
That said, I do believe we all need to show up for our lives, that luck doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but needs us to do our part. But I’m with Lucy on this: the challenge is to understand what we can actually control and what we cannot, to be able to see what is opportunity and what is not. For me, almost all discourse about luck is, if you drill down, really a conversation about power, ego, and ultimately, our own humanness. We want to believe the world is fair and that it will reward our efforts, talent—brilliance, even. We will seldom hear extremely successful people talk about luck as it would appear to diminish their own exceptionalism: it takes a very secure extremely successful person to even address the subject publicly.
The truth is that the best we mortals can do is show up for the possibilities of life and do our very best to manage the outcome, whatever it is; to make spiritual adjustments in the face of tremendous good fortune or an abject lack of it. Only in doing so can we navigate the consequences of either bad or good luck without thinking we had too much to do with it, as either can wreak havoc on the ego and make it painful to get through the day. Perhaps this is why so many people who are extremely successful on the outside are so very unhappy: deep inside they feel like frauds because they know they were also very lucky. They may even remember friends whose talent they greatly admire who just didn’t get that “lucky break.”