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Are you lucky?
Old 11-04-2016, 09:18 AM   #1
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Are you lucky?

I certainly am.

Someone told me a long time ago that just by being born in in this country, you're a lot luckier than most people on this planet, and that made a great impression on me. I'm always mindful that my problems are mostly the kind that only very privileged people have.

And several times, I'm been especially lucky:

1. In high school, I had a wonderful teacher who encouraged me, and I won a scholarship to an elite school. I struggled in college, mostly because I was really immature, but I got an extraordinary education and that degree opened many doors for me.
2. I won tickets to a Beatles concert (see my "amazing Beatles story" post).
3. In college, I won a contest that brought me to NYC and a great job with a magazine. That was life-changing.

All these things happened when I was really young. Without a lot of luck early on, my life would have been very different.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by lucky penny View Post
I certainly am.

Someone told me a long time ago that just by being born in in this country, you're a lot luckier than most people on this planet, and that made a great impression on me. I'm always mindful that my problems are mostly the kind that only very privileged people have.

And several times, I'm been especially lucky:

1. In high school, I had a wonderful teacher who encouraged me, and I won a scholarship to an elite school. I struggled in college, mostly because I was really immature, but I got an extraordinary education and that degree opened many doors for me.
2. I won tickets to a Beatles concert (see my "amazing Beatles story" post).
3. In college, I won a contest that brought me to NYC and a great job with a magazine. That was life-changing.

All these things happened when I was really young. Without a lot of luck early on, my life would have been very different.
I agree with you -- mostly.

I think just plain-ol luck by itself can sometimes be mistakenly attributed to fantastic things, which do certainly happen (call this the "Dumb Luck label), but more often it's what you make of those "lucky" instances that are over the top.

It's what you choose to do at that particular lucky moment that makes them REALLY impactful (call this "SMART Luck"). As an example, your #1 and #3 above could have turned out much different if your choices, drive, and/or persistance had not been what they were.

I think sometime we attribute things to the dumb luck category, when in fact we were the ones that (mostly) affected the "lucky" outcomes.

JMHO
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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I think anyone born in the USA hit the birth lottery by and large. As for other forms of luck, I believe in a large part you make your own luck by your life decisions.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:34 AM   #4
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So many little decisions I made early in life turned out to have big consequences. Or maybe they weren't "little" decisions, just decisions I didn't spend a lot of time and energy working out ahead of time. More like, "OK, why not? I have nothing else really planned out, why not do this?"
One thing led to another...on and on....looking back, I maybe think I'd change this or that, but then this other thing or that other thing would't have happened....

As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making plans." or in my case, "whether you make plans or not"...
Looking back, I feel I have been very fortunate.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:18 AM   #5
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Overall, I'd say yes, I am lucky. Lucky to be born in the US (well really being born in Texas was the lucky part) Lucky to find a career that I was good at and made my fortune. Lucky to have had good health (so far) and the list goes on....

However, I have no doubt that the luckiest day of my life was July 1, 1970 when I "won" the selective service lottery. (I can still remember watching it live on TV) At the time, I didn't think much about it since I was just happy with getting a high number. Later I realized that is was quite possibly a life or death decision point for me that was completely out of my hands and depended on the outcome of the luck of the draw.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:28 AM   #6
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However, I have no doubt that the luckiest day of my life was July 1, 1970 when I "won" the selective service lottery. At the time, I didn't think much about it since I was just happy with getting a high number. Latter I realized that is was quite possibly a life or death decision point for me that was completely out of my hands and depended on the outcome of the luck of the draw.
that's about when my brother got drafted - he wasn't very lucky
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:29 AM   #7
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A close friend gave me a scratch-off lottery ticket and it won $75,000 so that was in the definitely stupid pure dumb luck category (and yes I shared fifty fifty with him--soooo much fun). Where and to whom we were born, also just luck.

I too put many personal accomplishments into the luck column but there was a thoughtful post here some years ago about why that is not a good thing to do as we start to consider ourselves as passive reactors to circumstances (I am paraphrasing--her discussion was much more elegant) rather than drivers of our own fate. It did make me reconsider the luck factor. I'll try to find it.

OP, you are definitely one lucky penny, I'll say that . In your enumerated lucky events, I think you were lucky to get that teacher in the first one (but who's to say you wouldn't have excelled with another one). All of your listed accomplishments started with your hard work, so hats off to you .
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:33 AM   #8
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I've had two holes in one - those were pretty much luck.

Other than that, not so much other than being born in middle Murica
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:35 AM   #9
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that's about when my brother got drafted - he wasn't very lucky
I had a number of friends that were drafted and went to Vietnam. Some died, some were injured, some came back without a physical scratch, but all were changed.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:40 AM   #10
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I had a number of friends that were drafted and went to Vietnam. Some died, some were injured, some came back without a physical scratch, but all were changed.
they sent him to germany for some reason - out in two years with 3 stripes - he said it was like 10 years of hell
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:41 AM   #11
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That high school English teacher was a Yale graduate. He was an fabulous teacher, and he really inspired and helped many of his students to go to top schools. Without him, I don't know. I did see him again in my 20's, but I was kind of floundering then. Should have thanked him later, and I'm sorry I never did.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:00 AM   #12
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Being born in the US to frugal parents who stressed hard work and the importance of education - very lucky.

Other stuff... a mixed bag... but the luck of birth was a big one!!!

On the selective service lottery thing that Car-Guy mentioned... DH had the opposite luck - he drew a single digit number. And he'd only applied to one college (Penn State) to transfer to upon finishing his associates. Fortunately, he was accepted to school... if not he'd have used his associates degree in civil engineering to get a slot in the Army Corp of Engineers... So mixed bag of luck - bad luck drawing the low number, good luck being able to college defer and have the war over before he graduated.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:01 AM   #13
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Let's see. Born to parents that loved each other and stayed together, married young to a woman I couldn't live without, spawned three humans that are all good people, started at the bottom of a company that I now manage and partially own, just put the yacht away for the winter in Michigan and this afternoon I board a flight to our home in Florida and will sleep under palm trees. Yeah, I'm one lucky bastard.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:02 AM   #14
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Just being born in the late 20th century is lucky.

In the 1600s, lifespan was around 40. Some segments of society did worse. I read that "since Roman times, life expectancy had barely moved above 40, less than that for women and even lower of others, for example, French peasants, who could barely hope to live for more than 22 years". Yikes!

Even at the start of WWII, penicillin was so precious that it was recovered from patients' urine to reuse. My paternal grandparents died in WWII in their 50s due to a stupid illness: dysentery.

Now, it is difficult to die of starvation in the US. People who do not work whether due to physical or mental disability get plenty of public assistance.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:40 AM   #15
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Lots of ways to look at the role of luck in your life. Was I lucky or smart? Or was I lucky to be smart? However you look at it, I assure you that you will have more friends if you at least pretend it was luck rather than smarts, drive,or ambition.

My DW and I always say how lucky we are to have found each other.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:40 AM   #16
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No luck involved.

I decided to be born a healthy, tall white male in America to middle class parents that instilled in me a work ethic, taught me to speak and write well and drilled in the necessity of a college education from an early age.

Others that made a poorer decision have only themselves to blame.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:52 AM   #17
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No luck involved.

I decided to be born a healthy, tall white male in America to middle class parents that instilled in me a work ethic, taught me to speak and write well and drilled in the necessity of a college education from an early age.

Others that made a poorer decision have only themselves to blame.
Yes, there's luck involved.

Quite a few who are "born a healthy, tall white male in America to middle class parents that instilled in them a work ethic, taught them to speak and write well and drilled in the necessity of a college education from an early age" end up being a bum, or worse, a criminal.

It has to be luck, or bad luck rather!

PS. Personally, I could use some more good luck myself. Some guys like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs got all the luck. Oops, scratch Steve Jobs (who died of cancer despite his billions). Recently, there's this kid whatever his name who founded Facebook and became the 5th richest guy in the world. You see, I left megacorp and got involved in two startups. Crash and burn! Nothing but scars, mental and financial, to show for it. Bad, bad luck!
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:57 AM   #18
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Luck may be the open door, or the knock or the bell, but you still have to walk through it and then put the work in. I didn't ask to be born to two parents that stayed together and loved each other. I didn't ask to have a great work ethic modeled But I did step through those doors. Have been married for almost 25-years to my junior high (8th grade sweetheart) and we have been blessed with 6 children.

Five of our children are doing pretty well. One made decisions to walk through different doors. But, there is still plenty of time and other doors.

cd :O)
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:59 AM   #19
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It has to be luck, or bad luck rather!
"If it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have no luck at all"
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Old 11-04-2016, 12:02 PM   #20
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I've been quite fortunate to the point of thinking I live a "charmed life"

Leave it to Beaver childhood, not a lot of family drama. Lots of love, attention and support. A wonderful wife, good jobs and a nice house.

Wife died 6 years ago of cancer, so that was not so lucky, but I now have a wonderful girlfriend and a great dog.

Life is good -
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