Can We Change Our Luck?

Some people seem incredibly lucky, right? Everything seems to go their way. We often notice others’ luck when we are slogging around in moments of frustration, hitting one barrier after the next. Why do some seem as if they have great luck and others feel like they can’t catch a break? Is it possible to change our luck for the better?

Oprah Winfrey has a saying that “luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.” Meaning a variety of opportunities surround us, and it is up to us to take advantage of them. Sometimes we choose to pass on an opportunity because we aren’t ready for it. In order to change luck, we must first prepare for what we are hoping to achieve in life and then learn to identify the opportunities that will help us accomplish our goals.

So, what does preparation look like?

First, you have to determine what you are preparing for. What do you want to accomplish during your term, your collegiate career, or beyond graduation? Reflect on what you want your legacy to be – whether that is in your position, your chapter, or your life. What does your “best self” look like and how does that ideal contribute to your best life? Determining your purpose and what will help you feel fulfilled will assist you in developing your own definition of success. Reflecting on these questions and writing them down will help you clarify your vision for your life and how you want to contribute to the world. Combining all of this into a personal mission statement will help you clarify your personal values and assist you in making the tough decisions you will inevitably face in life. This will provide you with a direction or route for your life. Once you have determined who you want to be and what you want from life, determine which skills are necessary to achieve these goals and begin to draft a plan to develop each skill listed. It is this skill development that will help prepare you for success when the right opportunity comes around.

Second, now that you know what you hope to achieve, how will you determine which opportunities align with your goals? You will need to determine how to evaluate the opportunities you come across. Utilizing your personal mission statement, you can compare an opportunity to your goals and purpose to see if they match. Some opportunities, while attractive or exciting, may not help you achieve your personal mission. Those are not the right opportunities for you. They aren’t necessarily wrong, but they may take you off course from your determined direction or route. Understanding which opportunities will help you fulfill your purpose can steer the wheel in the right direction by focusing your time, energy, and resources.

Third, and finally, it is important to remember that we don’t always see others’ bad luck. We don’t see all of the work, the preparation, or the barriers they overcame to get to where they are. In the world of social media and carefully cultivating one’s electronic image, we often only see the winning. We see our own barriers, our losses, and our bad luck and assume it is just us. We begin to believe there is something we have done to deserve this luck. It is easy to get frustrated and down when you think you’re the only one struggling, but it is important to remember that life isn’t as simple as it often seems on social media posts. Combat this unfair comparison by taking a break from social media and unplugging, reconnecting with friends in person, and recognizing that most people won’t post their challenges, only their successes.

By refocusing on your future, working hard to prepare your skill set for that future, and consistently evaluating opportunities to determine how to steer towards your best self, you will achieve whatever definition of success you hope to achieve – because that is the only one that matters.

And the luck necessary to get there takes a lot of work.

Christina Witkowicki


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