Dirty Dozen #1 – Luck

by Rajesh Setty on October 9, 2009

Today is the start of a 12-part series called “The Dirty Dozen.” We will cover 12 words that you should eliminate from your vocabulary.

Introduction to the Dirty Dozen series:

We live in our daily conversations. That’s what we do – we are either talking to someone or we are talking to ourselves. Our conversations have a HUGE influence on where we go in our life. Actually, way more than you think they do.

Our conversations can empower us or they can bring us down.

Our conversations can help creating long-term relationships or end existing relationships.

Our conversations can help build our identity or make it easy for others to ignore us.

Our conversations are really what we are.

If that’s the case, it is in our best interest to notice and eliminate (or reframe) a few words that might be hurting us. I have picked 12 such words.

With every word below, I have provided a brief commentary of why that word needs to be re-visited or reframed or simply eliminated from your vocabulary. Don’t take my word for it. Engage in a conversation about it with someone that’s close to you and more important  – someone that you respect.

Please remember that when you eliminate these words for your vocabulary, you not only do so literally but also the way of thinking and actions that these words produce. And, that’s what will make a difference!

Dirty Dozen #1 –  Luck

dirty-dozen-luckDictionary definition:
Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than one’s own actions.

For me luck has a different meaning. One of the best definitions of luck I read was:

“Luck is the meeting point of the opportunities that are passing by and your preparedness to take advantage of them.”

As I move in the marketplace, I see that people have varying definitions of luck. The version of luck that’s popular goes something like this:

“Luck is the missing piece in our past successes and the secret ingredient in the recipe of the successes of others.”

In other words people usually think that their successes were purely based on their efforts but others had the good fortune and got lucky along the way. By attributing “luck” as one of the key factors in the success of others, you dilute all that would have gone into creating that success. You almost make it seem like if you too had that “luck,” you too would have been way more successful. If you reflect on this even for a minute, you know that this is flawed thinking but this kind of thinking provides you “insurance for inaction.”

The problem is complicated only because so many people around you are attributing the success of someone else to luck. It’s so common that you start thinking that there must be some truth to it.

A point to note here is that reliance on “luck” indicates an “absence of effort.” Strange things happen in the world and some things may really happen in the world without effort or with VERY minimum effort. For example, someone can win a lottery ticket. That’s luck right there. What gets missed is that this is an exception rather than a rule. This is an anamoly. Our world operates on rules and not on exceptions. The existence of an exception validates the rule even further.

Unless you want to chase exceptions in life, stop chasing luck!

You can also listen to this in audio here:


Illustration by Ming. Ming is the creator of the Fantasy Story webcomic. He is also a freelance illustrator, designer, painting instructor and occasional luxury car salesman. Ming is based in Penang, Malaysia. You can find him on twitter @Artmaker

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