The Unlucky Individual


I’m not a lucky person. I see good things happening to other people who are not always so nice but I try to do good things and still I keep having bad luck. I feel like there is no hope.

Dear Hopeless,

Okay, so let’s see: you say you have “no hope,” and you’re “unlucky.” Well then, I have good news for you. Because your enjoyment of life has almost nothing to do with either hope or luck. 301 Relax and Succeed - Tension is who you think

Hope sounds good when you first hear about it, but when you really meditate on it hard you realize that hope necessitates suffering. Hope is essentially a dream of how you want the future to turn out. But since those thoughts are just words you’re saying to yourself in your head they actually have no impact on the world.

This is what they mean when people say don’t build castles in the sky. Because then you try to live in those hopes and dreams and that’s impossible. But because you’ll compare what Is to what you dreamed, your hope does nothing but set you up for disappointment. Hope demands that we imagine a specific future, but a truly satisfying, rewarding and meaningful life emerges by anticipating general good fortune moment by moment. So don’t be worried about having no hope. That’s actually a good thing. Don’t want anything specific. Just be grateful for whatever comes.

Secondly you say you’re unlucky. How exactly is this calculated? For instance, if you’re in a serious car accident but you survive with surprisingly minor injuries that still keep you in hospital for months, were you lucky to have survived and recovered, or were you unlucky to have had the accident? We’re you unlucky to get injured, or were you lucky that you’ll recover? 301 Relax and Succeed - You act like it's youOr are both of these things true at the same time? I’ve written about it before in other postings but you would benefit from really thinking deeply about this when you’re waiting in your next lineup. Because if you do you will realize that luck exists strictly in the human mind. Your post-event-analysis is a flexible thing, so it is forever impossible to call yourself truly lucky or unlucky.

The day I’m answering your question, the current pop star Justin Bieber was arrested for racing a Lamborghini while drunk. For anyone over 30 this is a common pattern we’ve seen many times, just the name of the star changes. Young celebrity gets access to too much money early in life, they end up estranged from the normal limits that daily parenting would encourage, they’re surrounded by people who can benefit greatly from the star being dependent, and they have no one really saying “no” to anything. In essence they are insulated from plain old cause-and-effect reality. This leads to behaviours that the star thinks they can get away with whereas the rest of us have the necessary experience to be able to extrapolate what will happen. So child stars that end up in trouble with addictions and behaviour issues are hardly surprising. They’re almost inevitable.

So now my question to you is, was Justin Bieber lucky when Usher heard him sing on YouTube, or was he unlucky? Because that chance encounter did turn Bieber into a “star.” But like many people before him, that very stardom is the root of all of his biggest challenges. And that’s no small thing because he is currently lining up to experience some of life’s steepest challenges. Ask an addict how easy it was to quit. Ask a rich and famous addict if they felt lucky because they had lots of money or fame. A life is a life is a life. How many people are watching you live it is irrelevant. Justin Bieber’s life is made up of his moment to moment experiences, not how he appears in the temporarily conscious thoughts of fans he’ll never meet or know. So he was 301 Relax and Succeed - We do not see things the waylucky on the day he was discovered. But he was unlucky too. It all depends on how you look at it.

I’ve written it before—guaranteed that if I stood on your neck you would fight like crazy to get me off you so you could breathe. How come? What are you fighting for if your life is so unlucky? Why wouldn’t you welcome death then? It’s because in those moments your blessings would rush into your awareness. Well you don’t need me to stand on your throat to have that happen. You can just choose to entertain in your conscious thinking the things that generate pleasant feelings for you. You can focus on appreciating what you already have rather than using words in your head to plead for what you want. You day is not made from being lucky or unlucky. Your day is made of whatever thoughts you choose to place in your consciousness. This is wonderful news because that thinking—as tricky as it might at first seem—is entirely and completely within your control.

You can start right now. The more you do it the better you’ll get at it. Do not focus your thinking on wants. If you want to feel better, focus your thinking on appreciating your current blessings. This is what a spiritual practice is—it is you constantly practicing the act of focusing your consciousness intentionally. If you focus it on hopes that did not materialize, you will feel unlucky. If you focus it on all of your many blessings, you will feel extraordinarily lucky. It’s ultimately a choice, and no one makes it but you.

I wish you every good fortune as you endeavour to change your habits regarding your thought patterns. Now go create yourself a lucky day. 😉

peace. s

The Fortunate Life

26 Relax and Succeed - Do what you can with what you haveYour ego is this unrealistic jerk that always talks to you as though you exist in multiple universes with no limits to your energy. So if you’re playing guitar you’re comparing yourself to the best guitar player you personally know and you’re telling yourself how you would be better if you practised more, or if you were born with more talent, or if you started playing at a younger age. But you’ll do this with everything not just guitar. According to your ego, apparently you were supposed to be up 24 hours every single day, practising every single thing you’ve ever seen or done.

Your judgments will be about both the frivolous and the important. If you play cards you’ll compare your arithmetic skills to the person who adds their score the fastest. If someone’s kid achieves something, you’ll compare that to whatever your kids have achieved and you’ll rate your ability to parent on that flimsy evidence. You’ll think of how well you’d know your material if you would have paid more attention in school. You think of how good your meal would be if you were just a better cook like your friend. Or you wish you got the promotion a friend got, or could sing like a friend can sing or dress like a friend can dress. Compare compare compare. You’re super aware of all of the resources you do not have.

27 Relax and Succeed - No matter how good or badBut what about the ones you do have? I live in Canada. Using Canadian dollars (which are at the time of this writing, roughly equal to the US dollar), you only need to earn about $50,000 dollars per year to be in the top 1% of money earners on Earth. Yes that’s still sixty million people, but it’s still the top One Percent. And 96% of people are born into a life with drastically less earning potential than you. So we can imagine a massive number of those people would trade lives with you in a nanosecond. And they would love your life. Love love love it. So the important question is: why don’t you?

You don’t love your life because you’re blind to all you have. You forget you can see and hear, and many people can’t. You forget you’ve never starved and most of the world has. You forget you can breathe and much of the world can’t. Your police generally rescue you rather than perpetrate crimes on you. You can elect your political leaders and for many people that is a dangerous idea. Your children will likely live and many people’s won’t.

What would these people do if they got your life? Imagine if you were an innocent soul dropped into your life with no knowledge of what the previous you thought of it. You’d have all of your old skills but none of your memories or judgments. So you wouldn’t know who you were or what your attitudes used to be but you would know how to operate in the world. What would you do? Do you really think you’d sit almost completely still, repeating the same old patterns? Do you think you’d sit around half the day pining after an old love? Or re-living an argument with someone from work? Or in any way sit around complaining about your life?

27 Relax and Succeed - Each morning we are born againYou would be out and excited to see the world. You’d feel safe, your belly would be full, you would have a bit of expendable income and the world would seem filled with amazing things to do. You would love your job and your pay. You would love your food, your art, your clothes, your car, your home, your freedom—everything about your life would seem opulent and grand. You would feel fortunate.

Stop thinking the same unsatisfied person into existence each day. It is a choice and if you’re not enjoying it it’s a silly choice. Choose instead to see your life through new eyes. Look at it honestly and reveal its many good-fortunes. Revel in them. Own them. Experience the joy that goes with feeling grateful and strong and capable.

Your investment in your own life will be what builds the path to your future. So stop wishing for a different past. Instead, be grateful, take up your tools and stop thinking about another life in favour of digging deeply and fully into this one. Trust me, it’s a gold mine.

Thank you for joining me today. Enjoy your day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.