I have a student who spends the most part of each day in a very unhappy state.  Many times in a week he’ll lament that he’s never been happy, and he doesn’t have good luck.  Just earlier this week, he went off about how he’s still holding a grudge from something that happened within the first two weeks of school.  Again, he was upset at his bad luck.  However, when you try to talk to him about how he can change his life, he bristles at the thought.  Life is DONE to him.  He has NO control.  He wants me to MAKE him happy.  This isn’t something I can do.

This got me to thinking about friends and situations.  I have some friends who have known enormous amounts of pain and sorrow in their lives.  I’m talking death upon death, or divorce upon divorce, or job upon job. I think that somewhere in people’s minds is the term, “What bad luck!”  Thing is, do you make luck or is it a matter of circumstance — you know, right place, right time?  Is bad luck just being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

I think this because I consider myself extraordinarily lucky.  I live a life I never could have imagined in my late teens and early 20s.  Even though I was bright, and a hard worker, I wasn’t having career luck.  I know now that attitude played a HUGE role in that.  I still have to work on that aspect.  Moving away from a place where my daily attitude affected my superiors to one where it affected my students was incredibly eye-opening.  My best student days are the ones where I go in with my best attitude.  Luck?  Maybe.  Circumstance? Perhaps.  But I feel I have control over it.

That said, I don’t think I would have become a teacher had I stayed in the Midwest.  Moving to California opened that path for me.  That all started when I was open to having a relationship with the right person rather than the person I wanted to be right.   Then it was meeting the people I met at Jazzercise to sow the teaching seed.  I wouldn’t have been at Jazzercise if it weren’t for Gail, though.  While I no longer work with her and she no longer Jazzercises with Jerome, that short intersection started a lot of good.  That’s was probably luck. 😛

Every time something good has happened in my life, I feel that I’ve been open to the opportunity.  I feel I’ve been ready for that next step in my life.  Every time something awful has happened, I can actually unravel the knot to find the genesis.  True, in some cases like death, I had no control.  However, in others, I find that I often chose NOT to see.  It was if, in my mind, if I WILLED it, I could MAKE it happen — control it.  That said, I couldn’t control it.  I willingly put myself into harm’s way knowing it would crash and burn and hoping it wouldn’t.  Bad luck or stupidity?

Truth be told, we only control us — not others or the world.  We can influence others, and be influenced, but we need to chose our best message.  We can be open to opportunity, but we have to be willing to take it.  I think, for the most part, we make our own luck and the rest is out of our control.  Thing is, we have to acknowledge when we walk into something stupid that was within our control.  Serenity prayer, only in reverse.

What about you?  What do you think?


2 thoughts on “Luck

  1. firingsquid says:

    I enjoyed reading your thought provoking post 🙂

    I think our coping strategies and abilities are, in many ways, similar to other parts of our body – when weak, they need to be built up gradually and if over-stressed too early, they fail. That student sounded like someone whose inner strength has been crushed by events, like you describe, that ate away at his self esteem – maybe it’s something in the home life that has caused it. His personal growth has to come from small but meaningful successes – easy things at first and then building to others, leading ultimately to self mastery. But being happy is so much more than psychology. A person has to eat well, exercise, sleep properly, get enough sunlight, and so forth.

    You, on the other hand, have found a way to gather your strength and build yourself up by introspection and discovering the changes you needed to make – you’ve done very well. Maybe you just need to relate your experiences to him and he might see some of it in himself.

  2. franzi says:

    i’d be curious to know how you deal with the kid. i have never met a child who was so negative about everything!

    whenever i am in the complaining mode, i remind myself of my mom and what she went through. handicapped since birth, her mom died the day she married the love of her life, her hubby (my dad) died soon after leaving her all by herself with 2 toddlers…
    there are many more setbacks to mention yet she pulled through and never gave up. and that’s what makes it so incredible to me. if i didn’t know this was my mom’s story, i probably would not believe it.

    however, her story made me a realist, not optimist. i understand that sh*& will happen, that people are mean and cruel to each other. i can do my share to provide for a better life for the people around me but that’s not going to better the life for all. my luck is up to me as long as the other stinkers don’t interfere 😉


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