Patricia Moyer: March 2014 Writing Challenge Winner

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No Luck Needed

When I saw this month’s Barefoot Writer Challenge, my first thought was “piece of cake.” I’m Irish. My people perfected the good luck charm. We have shamrocks, the Blarney Stone, horseshoes, and wishbones. No problem, I own them all.

But as I wrote several ideas about what having a lucky charm meant in my life, I rebelled.

I have a wonderful life with an adoring husband, a nice house, and four beautiful children. My husband and I took risks and worked hard for what we have.

And none of it was the result of any good luck charm.

I had no story to tell. But, I was determined to keep writing.

It was then a long-forgotten quote swirled in my head. I couldn’t let it go. I had to look it up, and here it is:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

The Roman philosopher, Seneca, said this in the first century and I think it is just as true today.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the folklore surrounding good luck charms. At last count, I have four on my keychain. I am wearing a horseshoe necklace as I write this. If I found a four-leaf clover in my yard, you bet I would pick it and mount it on a plaque.

Do I believe these things will bring me the success and independence I crave as I build my writing business? Do I believe my son will make the high school baseball team because of a charm?

Not for a minute.

That is because luck is something we can’t control. By it’s very nature, it is arbitrary and wondrous because of its rarity. Just ask the millions who do not win the lottery every week.

Look at the language we use when we talk about luck. That was just “dumb luck,” or he has “the luck of the Irish,” or when we are jealous of someone’s accomplishments, we console ourselves by saying she was “just lucky.”

Good luck charms are fun. They are conversation starters and a chance to connect with our past. To some, they provide comfort. To many, they provide hope of better things.

But, as tempting as it may be to depend upon luck, I know that it is ambition, hard work, and taking chances that have the greatest impact on success.

So what can I control? My ambition. Keeping my promises to myself and others. I can control how hard and often I put in the work. I can take steps everyday to achieve whatever I want for my life. I can learn new things. I can take risks and seek opportunities.

I can finish this article.

Those are the things that will continue to make me a successful wife, mother, employee, and writer.

In 19 short words, Thomas Jefferson said it best when he wrote, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Well said.

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