What is Luck?

I’m sure we’ve all wondered about luck and what it means. It’s said that luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation. Somehow, I’m not entirely comfortable with that definition. It seems to give more credit to free will than it really ought to. The notion of preparation meeting opportunity implies that cause and effect follow each other closely enough for us to see their linkages. There are times when we get lucky even when we don’t deserve it. When our preparation was inadequate. Sometimes, things don’t pan out even when preparation and opportunity co-exist. And I suspect, more often than not, cause and effect are so much separated in time that we’re no longer able to see what cause led to which effect. In that spirit, I get the feeling that luck resides at the intersection of destiny “what will be” and free will “what you want it to be”.

Luck seems to be that which happens when things conspire in your favor and you go along for the ride. It’s that thing which happens when its time has come. A time when things seem unstoppable for good or bad. When all the causes that have accumulated over time combine into a singularly fortunate or unfortunate effect. Good luck and have a great day!


“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.”

What do you think?

  • Chandrasekharan

    So it looks like that luck conspires in our favor when it is good.We call it bad luck,when it turns a villain.All said and done,it is luck and is at the intersection of destiny and freewill.I would rather draw a bigger circle for destiny,and relatively a smaller one for freewill;so that the space luck occupies denotes that luck is quantitatively small and the Hidden hand deals the cards always.
    I could now understand the import of the film title,"Good Night and Good Luck".

    • http://whatho.in whatho

      Come to think of it, I agree. Should have drawn a bigger circle for destiny than free will. As they say, what goes around comes around.

  • Zephyr

    Is this by any chance a treatise about karma-made- easy-for-dummies? For that is what it is — call it destiny or karma or freewill. Sometimes things happen inexplicably and we conveniently call it luck, while we might have toiled earlier in this birth or some earlier birth for what we are enjoying now.

    • http://whatho.in whatho

      Although I didn\’t intend it that way, it does sound a lot like karma, doesn\’t it?

      On a side note, I\’m thinking of sharing some thoughts via a series of \’What is X in 250 words or less\’ posts like this one. Any recommendations for topics that can be covered here would be great.

      • Zephyr

        That should be a great seried, Srini. I will try to think up of things that I need explained in 250 words. God knows I have a lot of them :D

        The comment form requires me to fill in all my details every time I post a comment. Isn't there some way that it can store the details as blogger or WP do?

  • http://amheretowrite.blogspot.in/ Aarthy

    Very well put. More often than not, luck seems to shower upon us in a torrent when it does decide to. ‘Unstoppable’ is a very apt adjective here. This was wisdom in a nutshell.

    • http://whatho.in What Ho!

      When it rains, it pours :) Thanks for your really apt comments.

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