How would one describe winning the lottery? A person’s first thought might be luck. Luck is what causes something wonderful or unpleasant to happen on rare occasions or; an unrelenting force, instead of a logical understanding; to most people luck is the cause. The word luck can be described in many different ways; many of these ways are diverse.
Luck is defined in different ways. For instance, this is how Bing describes luck: “Success that seems to happen by chance or a stroke of luck” (Bing). This is the ideal belief of how society views luck. But luck isn’t just as simplistic as that. Many times luck can have an opposite meaning, such as bad luck. This is one way Dictionary.com would define luck: “A combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person.” The key words to this definition are good and ill. So luck can bring both good fortune and bad fortune to a person’s life. In order to get a broader understanding of luck, one must go more into depth of the meanings of luck.
Good luck would be one of the meanings branched off from the main word luck. Bing’s definition of luck could point more towards good luck. An example would be landing a job with a major law firm right after law school. That would be considered lucky, most people would say. The word lucky, though, is always linked with good luck. One would rarely say, “You’re lucky” at a person’s own expense, unless the other is being sarcastic. Though luck can have one meaning being positive, how can it have the opposite meaning?
Most people would refer to bad luck after a tragedy has happened and bad luck would be considered the main cause. Instead of looking at the root of the problem, a person might blame what has happened on bad luck in order to reassure themselves it’s not their fault that such an occurrence had happened. However, at the same time bad things can just happen, such as sickness or a sudden death in the family. Depending on the circumstances, luck could be or could not be the reason this bad fortune fell upon them. This is another way Bing would describe luck, as “something that seems to happen by chance rather than as a logical consequence.” There is, seemingly, never a positive that can be connected with having bad luck.
Here is something to think about, though: maybe having that word luck to fall back on in a sense can make people feel better so they don’t have to look at the logical root of their problem. For example, Dave knew his brakes were going bad, but didn’t bother getting them replaced because he couldn’t afford it. Until one day Dave rear ended a minivan, which had stopped suddenly to prevent themselves from hitting a little girl on her bike. Dave was a good distance away from the minivan; he even slammed on the brakes instantly. He just kept rolling forward and hit the minivan. Dave later explained to his complaining, irritated wife that he has just been having bad luck all week and that’s why he hit the minivan. Dave’s example shows how people can mistake responsibility for bad luck. Good luck and bad luck obviously have their differences, but can they somehow be linked?
Good luck is normally associated with a positive occurrence in a person’s life, while bad luck is normally associated with a negative in a person’s life. Can good luck and bad luck become one together? For example, say Jerry won the lottery, this would be considered quite lucky right? What if Jerry was happy, had everything going for him before he won a million dollars. After running out of things to spend his money on and falling in with the wrong influence of people, Jerry started to spend what was left of his money on drugs. While the million dollars created many good opportunities for Jerry, ultimately the money created a drug problem for him. He soon spent all his money on his drug addiction and lived the remaining of his days as a homeless man scavenging for any loose change to buy more drugs. Was it really good luck that Jerry had won a million dollars?
The same could be said about bad luck. For instance, Dale was a very poor individual who had a large family to support and often times had trouble feeding all of them. While driving to work one day, Dale was T-boned by a very large truck. Dale survived the crash with a broken arm, leg, three cracked ribs, scratches, bruises, and a small concussion. Most would consider this bad luck, right? To Dale’s surprise a truck hired by the city was the truck that hit him. The driver was obviously inebriated, and the city was fully responsible. Dale sued the city for a quarter of a million dollars and his family never went hungry again. The examples described in both Jerry’s and Dale’s lives both show how bad luck and good luck can both be positive and negative. Is luck the cause of all these occurrences or is luck just an idea people hide behind instead of facing a logical explanation?
There are some who believe in the supernatural phenomena known as luck and some that do not. For example, in TV shows or movies the viewer will often hear the hero or heroine say, “I don’t believe in luck” or “I make my own luck.” This infers that people who do believe in luck are weak, while those who do not believe in luck are strong. In these movies or TV shows people who do not believe in luck often are accustomed to facing their problems head on and never looking for an excuse to give up. However, people who do believe in luck often abuse the word and use it as a crutch in order to spare themselves any extra guilt. So is luck just an idea, a mere figment of our imaginations devised to help humankind cope with reality? One would agree while another would not. Perhaps luck is an attitude, a confidence builder one might say. Like wearing a favorite pair of underwear before a big test could give such person the confidence and mindset to pass the test, or throwing out a jacket because a person had the worst day of their life and they blamed the jacket because it was their first time wearing it, so the jacket must be the cause of the poor fortune.
Luck is a seed that can grow into two completely different trees. No matter what tree luck grows into, it can always change from better to worse. Through rational thought and collaboration with peers, luck is more so an idea than an unrelenting force. Luck is a coping mechanism for humankind’s wellbeing.
Originally composed by Mason Fenn for Palabras's official Website.