“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.
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!