Are We Unlucky or Biased?

Luck, Fate and a bunch of Scattered Thoughts

Luck. A small innocent looking word. But sometimes it may change someones life entirely. Or, does it? An wise man named Tennessee Williams once said,

Luck is believing you’re lucky.

To some extent I believe that too. I believe that a person makes his or her own luck. One thing needs to be clarified here. I am not referring or relating Luck with Fate anyhow. I think those two are completely different things. So, believing in Fate or Destiny is one thing, and believing in Luck is another. For example, every human being is destined to die some day. No one can change that fate. But if you live a long and healthy life with your friends and family, shall we call that being Lucky? No. If you maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle, don’t have any self-destructive addiction or habit, you are bound to live a healthy life. Next time if you see someone old like that, don’t tell or think that he or she is lucky. Congratulate him/her because of their achievement. Yeah, congratulate them on their well-earned health.

I’m not a big believer in a thing called luck. I believe it has a lot to do with fate and just really having a vision of the way you would see your life.

Marla Maples

But sometimes fate can be cruel. Sometimes ‘Bad Luck’ doesn’t give you a choice. Sometimes people, who has always been good, decent, polite and hardworking, seem to lose the bargain with fate long before their time.

Today a guy like that has died. He was a junior of mine, with whom I never really talked much. But I know for a fact that he was a good person, who didn’t deserve to go at this age. After fighting for two years against Cancer, he finally gave up. It just doesn’t seem fair, not at all. Rest in Peace brother.

Anyway…

Let’s stick to the point. I was browsing various data at Google Books Ngram research section, and found something interesting. How many times do you think we use the words Luck or Lucky, and how does the usage of these words relate to world history? See the data table given below at first.   

Google Books Ngram Data
Google Books Ngram Data

You can see that there are two peak times in history when we used these words the most. The highest amount is after 2005. The era of Artificial Intelligence and so many other great things. The time we are living in today. And the other peak time? Well, that was at 1930s. Do you remember what time was that? If you forgot, let me remind you from Wikipedia.

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place during the 1930s.The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century.”

My curious mind then asked me, why people are using these “Luck” related phrases so much today, even more than the great depression period. Because when the global economy has collapsed and people suffered regardless of their social class and there was very little hope, it kind of makes sense if people were using and hoping for Luck all the time. But over the time the world has worked hard and relied less on their luck, which we can see from the decades after 1940-50. But again when everything settled down, people started to use “Luck” again and it’s been rising ever since. I wonder why. I bet you are wondering too. I’ll try to dig a little deeper to answer that.

One simple answer can be, nowadays people want more, but wish to work less, than our forefathers. So, when they cannot have something and don’t want to work harder as well, they just leave it on luck. And if someone else gets that thing, they just tell themselves, that the achiever got lucky. The concept of luck has become so overused as an explanation by those who cannot accept other peoples good work or acknowledge others success. Can we explain or accept it? No? Then it’s luck. 

The belief in luck, is a sense of fortuitous necessity in the sequence of phenomena. 

said economist Thorstein Veblen in his Theory of the Leisure Class

What that means is, to believe in luck is to deeply believe that things are supposed to happen in a certain order, that there is a way to the world. If you’re a believer of Luck, then it is the force that creates the inevitable deviations between the real world and what’s supposed to happen according to their faith. Luck resolves the conflict when you don’t know why things didn’t go your way. Luck is much, much easier than acknowledging that you didn’t try harder enough than someone else.

Luck is always the last refuge of laziness and incompetence.

James Cash Penney

But if we want our lives to make sense, we need to stop artificially filling the gaps between those predictions and the realities with which they come into conflict. Because this is becoming a huge problem of this generation and we may face the effect in the near future. Psychologists already have a term for these kind of behavior, i.e. Self-serving biasWhat is this? 

“It is the belief that individuals tend to ascribe success to their own abilities and efforts, but ascribe failure to external factors.”

Sounds familiar with what I’ve been talking about, right? Check out the poem I found about it, it’ll make more sense.

When the other fellow takes a long time, he’s slow.
When I take a long time, I’m thorough.
When the other fellow doesn’t do it, he’s lazy,
When I don’t do it, I’m busy.
When the other fellow does something without being told, he’s overstepping his bounds,
When I do it, that’s initiative.
When the other fellow overlooks a rule of etiquette, he’s rude,
When I skip a few rules, I’m original.
When the other fellow pleases the boss, he’s an apple polisher,
When I please the boss, it’s cooperation.
When the other fellow gets ahead, he’s getting the breaks,
When I manage to get ahead, that’s just the reward for hard work.

I don’t want to make this article any longer. So, these were some thoughts I had on Luck. I want to believe that the word usage doesn’t prove anything and people still value and rely on hard work, not Luck. Those who use luck as an excuse to their failure or to justify others success, I want to finish the article with a quote from Denzel Washington for them. I hope this article will help to change at least one persons perspective.

I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it.

Denzel Washington

Blogging University : Finding Everyday Inspiration Day Three: One-Word Inspiration

11 thoughts on “Are We Unlucky or Biased?

Add yours

  1. Hey there! I found your blog today, and I’m nominating you for That’s So Jacob’s March Blog Madness! He’s over at: http://www.thatssojacob.wordpress.com.
    It’s simple: find five interesting blogs today, copy and paste this comment to theirs, and give them a follow! Have a great day. Have fun spreading the blog love this month! Tantei M.Gin, by the way. 🙂 In case you wanna head on over to mine.

    Like

  2. And oh… uhmm… sold! Right at the moment you gave the poem. 😉 There is definitely something fishy going on in how we view “luck” … Nice quote from Denzel! That’s a personal fave I have of him!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I am not that expert writer. I am experimenting as well. But if you want to write better, you should start following dailypost.wordpress.com . They have some great resources there to improve writing. Check that out 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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