Some look at what is, and ask, “Why?” I look at what might be and ask, “Why not?” – Robert Kennedy
Does it ever seem to you that some people always move gracefully through life while others never stop tripping all over themselves? Some folks keep climbing on the pony while others clamor in the poop? Why is it that some people walk away from accidents with ne’r a boo-boo on their bo-bo while others get laid up for weeks or put under for all eternity?
Ben Sherwood wrote a book called, The Survivors Club, in which he explores this phenomenon. Sherwood contends that luck is really not as unpredictable and erratic as it seems. According to Sir Sherwood, luck doesn’t just happen to you. What we call “luck” or “good fortune” has more to do with a mindset and way of living than with folklore, fate and fairy godmothers.
For example, “lucky” people frequently happen upon chance opportunities more than others. And why is that? “Being in the right place at the right time is actually about being in the right state of mind,” writes Sherwood. “Lucky” people are more “open and receptive to unexpected possibilities” than other people. Likewise, “lucky” people listen to their hunches and persevere in the face of failure. Rather than freezing up when things go wrong, “lucky” people seem to know that failure and screw-ups are part of the game.
Sherwood contends that our way of living is not as controlled by random events as we think. In fact, he believes that only 10% of our lives is controlled by the “unavoidable.” The other 90% is up to us; and how lucky we are has far more to do with our ability to be open to life’s boundless and immeasurable possibilities – both good and bad. What if? Magical mantra. Life-changing words. What if? Words that drive evolution’s motor of
mud. Words that got Galileo and Copernicus into trouble.
Words that inspired Rembrandt to pick up his brushes; Michelangelo, his chisel; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, her pencil and Barack Obama, his resolve.
What if? Words that carom off the wall of every research lab and singles’ bar. Words that must have flashed through the Divine brain just before the Big Bang. Words the cocoon whispers to the caterpillar and soil murmurs to the seed. Words quietly pondered by new parents and dying elders.
“What if?” heralds the rising sun with each new day. “What if?” wails the wind as it snaps dead winter branches and whips tropical wetness into the arid plains. “What if?” croons the waxing moon to the tides and the lovers. “What if?” ponders the parents over their sleeping baby. “What if?” asks the silence and the silliness, the ecstasy and the embarrassment, the tears and temptations.
What if you lived as you have always wanted to live or as you feel called to live? What if you sang your own song of life and love right-here-right-now, no matter how dark it is, no matter how desolate, no matter how hopeless? What if your life is right now brimming with limitless possibility rather than stuck in a day-to-day routine? What if you really do have a say about how you will live out your life?
Except for a few mealy-mouth masochists, every one of us would like to be lucky. We’d like to be the windshield and not the bug. And it just might be that our ticket to living lucky is not found in fortune cookies, but in knowing how fortunate we are to be living is this infinite and infinitely-transforming cookie of a universe.