Friday, March 13, 2015

What's luck got to do with it?

I can’t stand this phrase, but that’s because I don’t believe in luck. I believe in things happening or not happening. I mean, what is luck, anyhow?

According to, it’s:

the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities:


good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance:

Meh, not for me. Reading the definitions, however, makes it clearer why people like to use the term. Everyone loves to believe there are magical forces out there making sure bad things don’t happen to us. I’m not even talking about religion; I’m talking about something mystical that’s never seen and nobody can explain that has our best interests in mind. Okay, sounds a lot like religion.

Luck, to me, alludes to something taking up the slack of our own laziness or low self-esteems. There’s no luck; there are only good and bad decisions, knowledge or lack thereof, good or bad odds, and strong effort or weak effort.

This blog post was actually inspired by a facebook status from an author friend. She said she was entering a short story contest and to wish her luck.

Image result for luck

If I entered a writing contest and someone said good luck, I’d be offended. Wishing me luck suggests that I cannot win said contest unless a force that “seems to operate for good” is on my side.

The story I submit is either strong enough to win or it isn’t, but please, don’t wish me luck. I don’t want it. I want skill. Wish me skill.

Good skill!

Damn, that actually makes more sense. I’m a geenyus.

That being said, do I believe chance/luck actually exists in any form? Maaaaybe. Not really. Possibly the tiniest bit. I believe in odds, I believe in what happens or doesn’t, and I believe in extraordinary things occurring that are almost beyond belief. But luck? No. Not as it’s accepted and believed in today by most. Definitely not.

In the chess circles, I hear the word luck being thrown around quite often, and that’s the last arena in which it should exist!

Man, I blundered in that game against the expert and he didn’t even see it! I won! Talk about luck!

Ummmmm, no. Thing A happened, which is the mook making a blunder against a stronger player. Thing B happened, which is the expert missing an opportunity. Then Thing C happened, said mook won the game. It’s literally as straight-forward as a math equation, no luck whatsoever. I know it seems like the expert missing the opportunity is the ‘luck’ portion of this example, but it isn’t, at all. Maybe the guy was tired; maybe he underestimated his weaker opposition; maybe he’s just human and fucked up. But it isn’t luck, it’s something happening as a direct result of something else happening.

In chess, there are moves and plans that are made or moves and plans that aren’t made. Period. How the heck does luck exist in chess?  Odds, yes. Chance, yes, to an extent, especially when referring to tournament pairings. Luck? Well, it can't exist in chess because it doesn’t exist anywhere. 

Image result for chess player

I know it seems arguable that luck exists in casinos, and maybe to some tiny extent it does, like at the roulette wheel but even then, you are simply playing odds and nothing more. If gambling was all luck, there’d be no high-rollers, there’d be no card-counters banned, there’d be nobody making a living at poker. No, just as with anything else in life, we either understand or we don’t; luck has nothing to do with it.

Let’s say three vehicles are careening out of control, all headed toward me, all spinning wildly. Now, let’s say they all miss me narrowly and collide with a building behind me. Luck? NO! I was simply standing in a spot none of the vehicles were going to occupy. It’s real easy. 

Image result for car misses person

I know I’m making myself seem terribly bleak and unexciting, but those who know me fully understand I’m totally the opposite. I’m outgoing, I like to laugh, and I enjoy life immensely. While I do take a lot of risks, they are all calculated and all in my favor. Most people think I’m the luckiest sumbitch alive but really, I’m just decent at playing odds.

Even the most remote and unconnected circumstances aren’t luck to me. For instance, let’s say I buy a ticket, it’s one of ten thousand tickets available, and all ten thousand sell. Someone in another state is told to pick a number between one and one and ten thousand, and that person picks my number. I win!

Not luck.

Sure, it’s awesome that those astronomical odds played in my favor, as they were slim odds, but luck? No. Now, play that same game ten times and win all ten of them and I’ll start believing in luck. Actually, I wouldn’t. You would be a wizard and I would ask for training.

Hey there, sloppy-sleeves, tell me how you did that. 

Image result for wizard

Now, before you decide I have no clue what’s going on and don’t understand the human psyche even a tiny bit, let me say that I completely understand luck is fun and it’s easier to say that luck was on your side than to explain the mathematical odds of that good thing happening to you. In fact, that would be weird. Don’t do that.

Anyhow, if you think I’m rambling and don’t believe a word of what I just said, good luck.

Hah! I kill me.


Anonymous said...

Good stuff, this.

Brenda said...

I don't believe in "luck" per say. However, as you know, I am a Witch and I create Magick. And I do it very well I might add. Many would call me lucky, but we both know better. I do know that some dates are better for Magick than others. Does that make them LUCKY days? Who is to say????

Anonymous said...

Don't get your knickers in a knot,'s just a term, a figure of speech. What else do you say to someone? "You have the skills to win"?

Derek Odom said...

Thanks, Brenda! Anon, haha. :D