• michaelabennison

How I Deal With Luck

I have been watching a lot of YouTube in recent months (I kind of prefer it to most TV).

One of the channels I watch regularly is the Vlogbrothers, a channel where Hank and John Green converse with each other and their viewers about their lives and views on certain topics. They also do other cool stuff like write books and songs, host educational YouTube videos and raise money for good causes. :)

In his latest Vlogbrothers video, John posed the question of how to deal with luck (or fate) playing a critical role in human lives. (He gets on to the question at 3:05 if you want to skip.)

So, how do you make sense of a world where luck plays such a huge role in your triumphs and tragedies?

It's a difficult question and one which I believe we must answer for ourselves as individuals. But for what it's worth, here's my 2 cents (or pennies. Name your currency.).

There are two extremes in which we can see the world with regards to luck/fate; we can try and delude ourselves into believing we have total control (this seems to be the strategy for those working in the stock market as far as I can tell) or we can believe we have absolutely no control over our lives what-so-ever.

But I believe there is a third way.

We must accept what we cannot control. We cannot control who our parents are, where we are born or decisions that other people make, including the decisions our parents or guardians make for us when we are children.

But as adults, at every point where our luck takes a turn, for better or worse, we can make choices.

(Spoiler: we don't even have to wait for our luck to turn; we can just choose to do things!)

If you are made redundant, you have no control over the decision to make you redundant specifically, the decisions the company made that may have led to your redundancy, or the economic climate that may have caused the company to make the decisions that led to you loosing your job.

And that sucks.

But even though it sucks (and it sucks balls, if you'll pardon the expression) you still have choices.

You can choose to look for the same job in a different company, a different job in the same field, or a completely new job. You can choose to take some time out, use your redundancy pay to travel the world, write that novel you always wanted to write, start your own business selling homemade pastries....

These are all choices you can make.

Now, as individuals we may decide that setting up a patisserie in Turkmenistan isn't worth the risk of bankruptcy, straining important relationships or, you know, moving to Turkmenistan. But that is still a choice not to do something. And even before being made redundant you can still make a choice whether or not to set up that patisserie.

(I don't know why I'm using a patisserie in Turkmenistan as an example. I think my brain is telling me something...)

And why are choices important?

Because I believe that by owning your choices, you can live a full life and live the life you want.

A life that is happy.

I believe if we try to control what we can't, we will get stressed and disappointed. But telling ourselves we have no control at all can leave us depressed and apathetic (it leaves me feeling like that, anyway).

By making our choices and owning them we can empower ourselves without delusion, even if we don't know what those decisions will lead to.

And if we own our choices, we can live with luck.

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