We all know people whose life seems unlucky and those who catch every break. There are, of course, things well beyond our control, but I’ve been thinking about this and I wonder about how these people differ.
Why? Well, one could make the argument that the last five or six years haven’t been terribly kind to me and yet I’m breathing, functioning and not as worse for wear as many expected. Even as much as I expected. Nor was my “bad luck” easy stuff, it wasn’t car breakdowns or towed cars (but I had one of those) it was hugely disruptive events that each would derail many people.
I don’t claim to be strong, but something has prevented me from taking a negative attitude for more than short periods of time. I have had a good support network, entirely required – I highly recommend going to the support network store and buying one. Just remember that it takes constant care and watering.
What makes people unlucky? The people I’ve seen who “can’t catch a break”, and who spiral down because of it, see themselves as victims. They are the non participants in a series of events that are happening “to them” rather than a series of events that are part of a narrative that they take part in writing.
If you’re a victim and just the recipient of something being done to you then you abdicate responsibility and control. There are things this is true for, but fewer than you might think. I was a victim of clinical depression but I had a choice on how to react to it and to my gender dysphoria. I had choices on transitioning and timing and who to tell.
Viewing yourself as a victim can also make you the object of pity which is a very disempowering relationship with others. You become less than you were.
I’m going to make what might seem like an extraordinary claim. We all constantly have opportunities to take calculated risks to succeed and make our lives better and to accept passively bad outcomes and make our lives worse.
“Lucky” people are people who seize the opportunities and become active participants to mitigate bad situations. If something gets in the way they really work at getting around it rather than letting it stymie them. I’ve heard this characteristic called grit. For example, their car won’t start on the morning of a big interview and their best friend can’t take them. The person with grit might tell themselves it’s important and take a taxi to the local train to get to the interview anyway, or call three other acquaintances rather than just giving up.
I’m of the opinion that people seem lucky only in retrospect. Not everything works out but that combination of effort, preparation and opportunity makes the difference.
Dealing with Adversity
This goes for dealing with bad times too. It is really the rare time where there is nothing to be thankful for. Sometimes it is truly hard to take note and count those blessing but they are there. I tend to forget how many truly caring people I have in my life.
I reached a pretty low point over the past year. I was post surgery and very tired. I felt very alone and had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. My child was not talking to me and I’d be living separately from my ex for some months. I had my basic needs, but isolation is tough.
I turned forward and started to work toward the future. I’ve recovered from surgery, and I’m thankful that our child is talking with me after some years. I believe in the long run that Parkinson’s will be well managed and that I shouldn’t let it ruin my life.
Not much has really changed, but attitude is everything. I’m more used to being on my own too, and I no longer feel like I’m in transition.
Be the author of your fate, the captain of your destiny.