Are you lucky or unlucky? It just might be that this doesn't really matter - unless, of course, you're in Vegas, like I am today. Believe it or not, philosophy often happens here. Maybe even more often than good luck.
Let me quote Diane Ackerman, from her great book Deep Play, where she is exploring how even our hardest work can be undertaken as a form of play. While pondering the role of something like luck in the game of life, she refers to an ancient text and writes:
"In the Sanskrit Mahabharata, for example, we find men, who represent the seasons, deciding the world's weather and crop yield by rolling gold and silver dice. But, aside from luck or the favor of the gods, the player succeeds by his or her own talents."
What does she mean by 'luck' here? Maybe anything beyond human choice, the force or cluster of forces that brings things into our lives apart from our own contrivance. You could equally speak of fate, or destiny, or divine providence. But for the sake of understanding Ackerman's remark, let's stick with luck. Then, we can articulate what I take to be her insight. We can say it a number of ways.
Luck sets the course. We decide how to play it.
Luck arranges the obstacles. We figure out how to move around and through them.
Luck paves the road. We choose how to travel it.
We all have challenges. Everyone has opportunities. Sometimes, one situation is both. And, viewed properly, the world presents much more of this duality than you might imagine. An opportunity turns out to be, also, and perhaps unexpectedly, a problem. A problem is revealed, in the end, to contain an opportunity. This happens all the time. I like to think of this phenomenon as a turnaround. Things that come into our lives can be, ultimately, quite different from what they at first seem. It's up to us how to react, respond, and rearrange our expectations.
Of course, luck is also often referred to as chance. And there's an ancient perspective on this. Chance favors the prepared mind, the skilled hand, the creative spirit, and the person with lots of great relationships.
We need to remember, the world isn't here to give us what we want, but to help make us into what we can be. And I, for one, could use a little help.