Lucky

Recently, someone frustrated with their life blurted, “You’re so lucky!”

I almost responded with, “Those who work the hardest are the luckiest.”

Instead, I simply replied with, “Yes, but if you only knew my story, you might think differently.” I went on to mention, “You’ve heard the proverbial theory of gathering people around a table to share their problems. After looking around the table, everyone grabs back their own.”

She replied with, “I’m so envious of you. You’ve been in love, got married, had children, and enjoyed success in business. My mother has used you as an example of who I should be.”

That individual was consumed with the drama of their existence and was not interested in my Story. So, I’ll share it with you.

Believing Is Seeing

Yes, that’s a word play on the old expression, “Seeing is believing.” However, our eyes can deceive us — or, maybe, better stated, “We can believe in what isn’t there if deception, or preconception, is involved.”

Magic has taken deception to an art form. “Smoke and Mirrors” is a common phrase to describe the sleight of hand. Even in the realm of professionals, we have lawyers doing the same thing in a courtroom.

Societal propaganda has taken preconception to the realm of fantasy. According to the 24/7 bombardment, the rich and famous are the ideal. The agenda to be a celebrity has trampled on the concept of freedom to choose.

On the other hand, “Believing Is Seeing” encapsulates the worldview of making the best of every situation. Even though there may be no evidence of goodness, every opportunity has seeds necessary for our new learning.

Research

Speaking of evidence, research has documented the skills of lucky people. Richard Wiseman, the Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, in the United Kingdom, discovered four main principles:

  • maximizing chance opportunities
  • listening to your intuition
  • expecting good fortune
  • turning bad luck to good

Strategies employed to increase – by 80% – the happiness and luck of ordinary people are:

  • meditation to enhance intuition
  • relaxation
  • visualizing good fortune
  • talking to at least one new person every week

As the good professor explains, “That’s why lucky people appear to have an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time and enjoy more than their fair share of lucky breaks.”

Third Grade

I needed eyeglasses in the third grade to see the chalkboard at the front of the classroom and got them as a sophomore in high school. Texas was funny that way — they wanted me to see the highway when I was taking Driver’s Education.

The reason I can remember the third grade is that was the first time I brought home anything other than A’s on my report cards. I’m pretty sure those two B’s would only have been deserving of a reprimand from my mother. That C, however, was cause for a “Come to Jesus” session, with her.

It was so bad, I, to this day, vividly, remember going into our small bathroom at Big Timber, kneeling down, and asking God for His help. I was going to need it — I couldn’t see the chalkboard, and I didn’t know what to do.

I remember praying for wisdom. Solomon was a hero of mine. I figured if it worked for him, it might work for me. Sure enough — all A’s from that point forward.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to listen and discovered the benefit of having a “friend” in a very High Place.

Moving All Over Creation

Those six years of grade school at Big Timber, Montana, was the longest period of time at any one school. Dad worked on ranches owned by Trust Fund Babies. As a result, after he had been used and abused, when he was no longer part of their grand plan, we were asked to leave.

Within a month of starting first grade at Lavina, we were on the move to a ranch at Big Timber, MT. We were there for six years. Then, we began an adventure in the foreign country of East Texas. It was a four-year stint of horizon broadening.

My junior year of high school provided the opportunity to be the new kid on three different playgrounds: Long View, TX; New Underwood, SD; and, Lavina, MT. Since I graduated from high school at Lavina, I can proudly proclaim that I started and finished school there.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to be the new kid on a playground and still have friends scattered coast-to-coast.

Cowboy Dreams

All of those years of good grades resulted in a full-ride four-year scholarship to any university in Montana. I turned that down to pursue my dream of being a cowboy.

Fifteen months later, I knew I didn’t have the same love of horses and cows as my dad. Although, those years of living the notion, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” came in handy. This poor kid had a new dream of going to college.

In the course of managing my fledgling business as a twenty-something entrepreneur, the counsel of an older client friend cut short my whining. He exclaimed, “Kim, your problem is not that you were born poor. Your problem is that you were born with ambition. Many are born poor and stay that way. You want something else.”

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to never, ever look a gift horse in the mouth and to appreciate the investment to earn an education.

The CPA Exam

Having started work for a CPA firm in the middle of my junior year of college, I thought, “How hard can it be to pass that silly CPA exam? I’m educated and experienced — that ought to be enough.” Wrong!

After two years and four attempts, the victory was mine. So, naturally, I believed those Partners of the CPA firm, for whom I still worked, that they would honor their promise to consider me as a partner. Wrong!

For four years, I had made them lots of money and opened a satellite office. So, in their mind and stated opinion, “Let’s keep the relationship as it is and you can keep on doing what you’ve always done.” Wrong!

My dream had been and was even more vividly clear — I was going to be my own Boss and serve the agricultural community in a better way than they ever imagined.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to be a good employee (and a better employer) and the importance of believing in Dreams. 

Husband and Father

For twenty-four years, the Community viewed us as the perfect couple — and then eventually the perfect family. Having “found” a Higher Power in the third-grade, those vows, “Til death do us part” meant something to me.

Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” whether love was ever a reciprocal emotion. I had conceived, believed, and achieved a Family unit, so as for my worldview — yes, love was offered to wife and children.

Added to the mix of responsibilities during this season of life was the role of “Good Son” providing a retirement for parents, who because of fate and hate (of savings) found themselves without the support of the Cult.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to give without expecting anything in return and developed empathy for those abused by narcissists.

Comfortable Rut

Contrary to the Country song, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Hard work and “good luck” found me comfortable in a rut — which, by the way, the definition is: a grave with the ends kicked out.

I’ve always believed we travel through life on the two legs of Family and Work. Family gives purpose to our Work — Work provides opportunities for our Family.

After the divorce, one leg was crippled — so, I hopped… and hopped, for thirteen years, until my birthday, October 26, 2015. I was sixty years old and burned out — sick to death of Tax Returns and third-generation Juniors.

For 35+ years, I had helped Grandpa build his little empire, which he turned over to Dad (my generation) to maintain (work of a janitor), which then showed up on a silver platter for little third-generation Junior to waste.

Junior was born on third-base and will lie to convince you that he hit a home run. Arrogance and ignorance are a volatile mixture — when thrown in the face of education and experience.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and giving IT all away provides a path to true freedom.

One Lucky Guy

So, she’s absolutely right — I am one lucky guy. My journey is not much different than your own, or hers. The only possible difference is I have chosen to make the best of whatever the situation.

Although trained in probabilities as a CPA, my mind is open to the possibilities of good fortune — Seeds of Opportunity.

Perfect Imperfections

Think about the person you most admire. Why do you admire them?

Isn’t it because they are calm, cool, and collected? Nothing seems to bother them. They are like a Rock — waters part and go around them. Regardless of the craziness swirling around the situation, they focus like a Laser on the points of meaning.

And — the point on which our heroes focus — “Play the cards you’re dealt.”

Less Than Perfect

Seldom is there the ‘perfect‘ hand of cards. In fact, the greatest ‘sport‘ is in playing the less-than-perfect hand. The adrenalin rush from the courage and skill required to navigate uncertainty trumps the monotony of the sure thing, every time.

Why, then, do we judge ourselves to be less than someone else? Maybe, they are pretty — for a while. Maybe, they are talented — in one thing. Maybe, they are intimidating, in speech, dress, and mannerisms — according to societal trends. Who cares? They are not perfect — and, never will be.

Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

An old farmer lived in a small village with his teenage son. He worked hard in the fields and his meager possessions were limited. The most valuable of his belongings was a workhorse, which he used for tilling his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills, seemingly lost forever.

The man’s neighbors visited and sought to sympathize with the old man over his bad luck. “We are sorry for your bad luck,” they would tell him, shaking their heads in sympathy. The farmer, lifting his hands, gently as if balancing a scale, replied softly, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Two days later, the farmer and his son were working in the fields. The sun was slowly creeping behind the hills in the distance. They caught sight of a horse cresting the mound. Their horse had returned with a herd of other wild horses. The son quickly corralled the horses and the neighbors were in awe of the farmer’s good luck. He responded with the same reply as before, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

The next day, the farmer’s son attempted to tame one of the wild horses. As he rode in the corral, he fell off the horse and broke his leg. As you can imagine, this was believed by all the neighbors to be very bad luck. However, the farmer, once again, replied …  “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Several weeks later, the army commanders entered the village seeking every able-bodied youth they could find to fight in the war. As they came to the old farmer’s home, they had no use for a boy with a broken leg. He was dismissed … “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Who Knows?

And — so, it goes. Who knows?

You can — that’s who.

You can know this — LIFE is a journey to be enjoyed, at each moment. Going back is impossible and the future is uncertain. Accept what is and the game becomes more fun.

So — why not — live in the moment, with all of the ‘imperfections‘ inherent with it.

Let’s stop whining about everything outside of our control and start smiling about the opportunity to play through.

In the game of golf, there’s the general rule of, “Hit it where it lies.”

Good shot? Bad shot? Who knows?

Swing away!