Are You Feeling Lucky?

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.”

~ Brian Tracy


Tune in to the RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE where this post is the topic of a lively discussion. This is a production of Rave Reviews Book Club.

RW - Aspire to Inspire

Canadian-born Brian Tracy has become one of America’s most successful motivational speakers and personal development coaches. He is sought by corporations all over the world to hold training seminars on self-management skills development.

The topic of this quote is luck, and it begs the question, what is luck? Is it simply random chance, over which, no one has control? People in some cultures and belief systems tend to look at luck as events that are explained by faith or superstition. For example, the concept has been popularly personified as “Lady Luck” who takes a shine to someone and bestows good fortune upon him or her. That thinking is consistent with the ancient Roman belief that luck was personified in the goddess Fortuna. This thinking has people totally at the mercy of some agent of good or bad fortune – an agent that is beyond an individual’s ability to control.

As I ponder this concept, I remember complaining out loud using this expression: “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all!” Admittedly, this has been my view of luck since I was old enough to understand the concept. For me, luck is just simply random chance. Some days I’m lucky… some days, not. As a consequence, I’ve never taken the notion of luck seriously. If someone was described to me as being a lucky person, I would mentally shrug it off. Maybe there are lucky people in this world, while there are those who are unlucky. If this is true, which type of people are the majority? How would you determine this scientifically? I’m not sure I ever cared, so I never gave these questions much thought… until now – because I read Brian Tracy’s words.

His words, “I’ve found that luck is quite predictable”, stopped me in my tracks! Really? Normally, I’d laugh it off as too ridiculous to even consider for a moment. But the rest of the quote intrigued me… who is this guy? As I went digging around the Internet, I discovered that this man is revered around the world and his seminars are packed events. So I decided to dig a little further and I found this same quote in a book called The Game Of Your Life by Rex S. Gibson. I’m not endorsing this book, but I found this self-help author espousing the idea that Tracy is suggesting – that we make our own luck. Okay, now I’m paying attention.

The notion that luck is predictable takes the concept right out of the realm of faith or superstition and plunks it down in our front yard. Tracy goes on to urge us to take more chances in order to improve our luck. Then he tells us to be more active and “show up more often”! As I digest these words, I recall the exhortations of other authors to be persons of action in pursuit of our dreams or goals.

In his book, Gibson suggests that we take control of our lives by a process he calls positive decision. Rather than wait around and wish upon a rabbit’s foot, we should conceptualize our goal in our mind as clearly as we can – every single day. That alone isn’t enough, he says, but it puts us on the path of action – to plan and act on those plans until our goal is reached. He seems to be dismissing the concept of luck outright.

On the other hand, Brian Tracy is suggesting we look at luck differently – that we position ourselves as our own advocate before Lady Luck. Predictability means that the occurrence of a desired outcome can be forecast to a greater or lesser degree. A simplistic example would be the person who increases their chances of winning a draw by purchasing multiple entries. Tracy is telling us that when we toss away our good luck charms and actively pursue our goal, our success becomes more predictable.

I’ve also heard it said that the successful person makes his own luck – different words, but the same message. In other words, positive outcomes are in direct proportion to the degree to which I have acted in ways that I have determined will give me success. This activity is risky – I’m taking a chance that I will fail or be rejected in some way. I can be safe and hang on to my rabbit’s foot for dear life. That way I won’t put myself out there or show up, as Brian Tracy puts it, and I can blame the Fates for my bad luck.

I always believed that there are things that happen to me in my life by random chance. Now I’m not so sure. Nor am I sure that there’s no such thing as luck. But I am sure that Brian Tracy’s message to us isn’t really about luck. It is about putting myself in a frame of mind where I plan for my success and then act on that plan no matter how many setbacks I may experience. Tracy’s last sentence is about perseverance. Certainly there are no guarantees in life. Just because I create a plan and then doggedly follow it doesn’t automatically mean that I’ll achieve my goal or my dream. By the same token, I’m fairly sure that waiting for Lady Luck to stop by and bestow upon me her favours, is tantamount to wishing my life away. No, thank you!


About John Fioravanti

Author, John Fioravanti writes non-fiction as well as fiction in the sci-fi genre. He's a retired secondary school educator and a lifelong learner. He considers himself a work in progress and welcomes the opinions and insights that others may have about his work. He prizes dialogue about meaningful topics, so please leave your thoughts!

14 thoughts on “Are You Feeling Lucky?

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Gordon Bickerstaff

    December 16, 2015 at 3:47am

    Fascinating comments on the notion of luck. My wife believes in luck. I’ve always considered it as a label that is applied after an event. When I finished my PhD, I applied to the Mars Group for a well paid job with excellent benefits, bonuses, insurance, housing assistance. I didn’t get the job. Was I lucky or unlucky?

    The job was in their development lab, and they were expanding into new food – beef burgers that looked and tasted like beef burgers but were made from soya protein. After two years, Mars decided to get out of new food. They closed down the lab, and made everyone redundant. For that event, I apply the post event label – lucky.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    rebecca Reilly

    October 5, 2015 at 11:17am

    Great post! I’m seining the link to a few who would be inspired! Thanks for sharing, John!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      John Fioravanti

      October 5, 2015 at 6:30pm

      Thanks for visiting and sharing this link, Rebecca! I appreciate your support!

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Michelle Abbott

    October 4, 2015 at 2:31pm

    Great post, John. Reminds me of a quote I once heard:

    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      John Fioravanti

      October 4, 2015 at 8:30pm

      Michelle, that is a terrific quote! I’d like to use it one fine day – thank you for stopping by and lending your support!

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Nonnie Jules

    October 4, 2015 at 8:50am

    John, I think this one was one of my all-time favorites. THIS ONE is definitely a must-read. You are brilliant, dear man! Absolutely brilliant! “LUCKY” YOU!!!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      John Fioravanti

      October 4, 2015 at 8:29pm

      Thank you very much for your high praise!! I appreciate your unflagging support, Nonnie!

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Joy Lo-Bamijoko

    October 1, 2015 at 2:35pm

    I don’t know John, but like you, I believe in things happening to me by chance. That is luck for me. When something I didn’t plan, or even worked for turns out in my favour, That is luck. If I have to work for it, it is no more luck. Thank you for sharing.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      John Fioravanti

      October 1, 2015 at 2:42pm

      Thanks for sharing your insights about ‘luck’, Joy! That’s what this forum is all about! Thanks for your support!

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Jan Hawke

    September 30, 2015 at 12:24pm

    Enjoyed the show very much for this one, John 🙂

    Being born into this world is definitely a matter of luck – anything else good that happens to you after that is just gravy! Sure someone must have said that, but it’s totally true – especially if you go looking to make good things happen!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      John Fioravanti

      September 30, 2015 at 8:11pm

      Thanks, Jan, we had a lot of fun kicking these ideas around on Aspire To Inspire (09/28/15). I appreciate your thoughts and your great support!

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Gwen Plano

    September 30, 2015 at 6:10am

    As always, great article–very motivating and clarifying. Thank you John!

What do you think? - I love comments!