I Feel Lucky

I feel lucky, I feel lucky, yeah
Think I’ll flip a coin, I’m a winner either way
Mmmmmm, I feel lucky today ~ Mary Chapin Carpenter

And Happy St. Patrick’s Day to ye. Or maybe, in a nod to the country song above, I’ll amend that to “ya’ll.”

Weird thing is, the “luck of the Irish” is kinda misunderstood. Holy Cross prof and Irish history expert Edward O’Donnell points out that the Irish have hardly been lucky; their country has endured over 1,000 years of invasion, colonization, exploitation, starvation and mass emigration.

The somewhat more positive phrase actually originated in America—and it wasn’t meant to be flattering. Seems that during the Gold Rush, some of the most famous and successful miners were Irish or Irish-American. When jealous would-be millionaires sneered of “the luck of the Irish,” what they really meant was that the Irish—not warmly admitted to this country—were such overwhelmingly stupid oafs that any success could only be explained by sheer, blind luck.

What is luck, anyway? Is it something that falls from the sky upon you, in the form of either blessing or curse? How many of you feel that others around you seem inexplicably and undeservedly lucky, while you, equally undeservedly, struggle? How many of the following statements sound familiar to you?

Some people have all the luck.
I just can’t seem to catch a break.
Maybe someday I’ll get lucky.
She got where she is by pure, dumb luck.

Me, I’m with Shakespeare, who famously wrote that “nothing is good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.” And I’m also with the divine Mary C. C., whose song essentially says that you are as lucky as you feel.

I believe we make our own luck.

Okay, I hear you ask. But how?

  1. Open your mind and heart to possibility: how many superstars have you read about who said they always knew they’d be famous?
  2. Take action in the direction of your dreams: you may never win the lottery, but you definitely won’t if you never by a ticket.
  3. Put yourself in the flow, one small step at a time: turtle step your way toward the life you say you want to live. Stuck in a dead-end job in the midwest but long for entrepreneurship in Monterey? Play hotter/colder with each tiny step you take. Does this action take you closer to your dream—or further?
  4. Make gratitude a daily practice: and I say “practice” because when we’re depressed or feeling defeated, finding things to feel grateful for doesn’t come easily. What do you have, in this moment, to be thankful for?

And so, bit by bit, step by step, you define and create your own luck—even in the midst of challenge and circumstances beyond your control. The brass ring is right there. Reach for it. Too far? Stretch your muscles. Try again.

Me? Plenty of challenges in my path right now. But no depression—tropical or internal—is gonna get in my way. Mmmmm, I feel lucky today.

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