Good Luck Bad Luck

When was the last time you blamed something on ‘Bad Luck’?

We’ve all been there. Things are going great, and then something so terrible happens that it feels like the universe is actively working against you. So you chalk it up to some bad luck.

When I was in Brisbane, Australia on my backpacking trip, I met a local man who recounted to me some of his experiences from doing business in Papua New Guinea. These stories included a tale of a woman chopping at two men in the highlands after they had stolen her new bottle of conditioner (to be fair – it’s a long 8-hour trek back to town to get a replacement…), and also the time a nightclub excursion went horribly wrong when he was forced to run away from machete-wielding locals until he found sanctuary at a nearby hotel run by an Aussie expat.

But for some reason, the story I remember most vividly is a parable of sorts that he had heard while in PNG. The story was about luck and life, and it is what I am going to be sharing with you now. 

Bad Luck
From Saltwater Crocodiles and Great Whites to Cannibal Cults (yes, seriously– and here’s another), this is a place where YOU could easily be on the menu if you aren’t careful…

The Story

There once was a man living on the outskirts of a small village with his wife and son. The family owned a small farm, and they harvested just enough crops to feed themselves and used what little excess there was to trade for what they needed in the village.

Then one day, the man received an unexpected inheritance: a beautiful and majestic stallion. All the villagers came around and marveled at his new horse and good fortune. And they said:

“Congratulations on your inheritance! What good luck!”

At that, the man gave a bit of a shrug and simply stated:

“Good luck, bad luck – doesn’t matter.”

Life continued as normal for the next week, until one day when the man’s new stallion kicked down a weak part of the enclosure and escaped into the woods. The villagers all came round once more, and this time they said:

“We’re very sorry about your horse! We can’t believe it… What bad luck!”

The man looked at them and gave a shrug, then simply stated:

“Good luck, bad luck – doesn’t matter.”

The man and his family continued working the farm as usual for another week, and then from out of the woods came his beautiful stallion – leading with it three wild mares. 

Conquer Fear Good Luck Bad Luck
The horse was having a much better time than my machete-attracting friend.

The villagers came back, incredulous at what had happened.

They said: 

“Your horse has returned home! And it’s brought several more horses back with it! Unbelievable, what good luck!”

Again the man shrugged, and simply said:

“Good luck, bad luck – doesn’t matter.”

The man’s son had to quickly repair the enclosure after the return of the horses so that they would not escape again. Just after he had finished repairing the enclosure, he got a little too close and upset the stallion. The stallion kicked him, breaking his leg.

All the villagers came back again to express their condolences. They said:

“We are very sorry about the injury to your son. What bad luck!”

The man gave his customary shrug, and stated once more:

“Good luck, bad luck – doesn’t matter.”

A month after the man’s son was injured by the horse, the village’s kingdom was attacked. The village had to send off all their young men to fight for the king – and they were all killed in the fighting. They had had to send off all of the young men… except for the old man’s son, who was resting at home with a broken leg.

Conquer Fear Good Luck Bad Luck
Things got a bit dark, eh?

The moral of the story is…

Things are just going to happen in your life; things that you really have no control over. If you do what needs to be done day in and day out, then you put yourself in a position to ride out the terrible events, and you set yourself up to reap the rewards of beneficial events. 

‘Luck’ is just your perception of how the astronomically-large amount of things occuring simultaneously pertains specifically to you and your agenda. 

One of my favorite quotes about ‘Luck’ comes from Nike’s Rise and Shine motivational video:

“Luck is the last dying wish of those who wanna believe that winning can happen by accident.”

To illustrate with an example: say you are training for a 10K race. You practice hard, and often, but it’s been extremely rainy lately. You upgrade to shoes with a better grip, and you go out and run in the rain while your competitors hit the couch and wait for sunnier weather.

On the day of the race, guess what? It rains.

So while every other competitor is grumbling about their ‘Bad Luck’, you are calmly whispering to yourself, “Guess who’s about to crush this race.”

Do what you need to do – day in and day out – and when the time comes, you will be in a better position to deal with the events that life is going to throw at you.

Good Luck? Bad Luck?

Doesn’t Matter.

Originally Posted March 1, 2017

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