Are you lucky? I don’t mean lucky in the completely random way like winning the lotto, but living a happy life kind of lucky. Do you know that 70% of lottery winners will use up all their winnings in 7 years? A lot of people can’t hold on to their good fortune. The really lucky ones are the people that can leverage random opportunities and make a better life for themselves and their families.
I’m a really lucky guy. My situation is almost ideal at the moment. For the new readers, I quit my stressful engineering job last year and became a stay at home dad/blogger. I’m able to spend a lot of time with our kid and earn a little money online without having to answer to anyone (except maybe Mrs. RB40). It’s not perfect because I’m still trying to figure out how to get back 2-3 hours/day for myself, but we’re working on it.
Anyway, this is much better than 2 years ago when I was stuck in a job I didn’t like. I was making pretty good money, but I wasn’t happy. Work was stressful and it was messing me up physically and mentally. You know what? Even when I was mildly depressed, I still felt lucky. Life in the US is very comfortable compare to the many other parts of the world. My parents and grandparents struggled a lot more than I ever did.
My parents came to the US in ’84 with $300 in their pockets. They managed to send 3 kids to college and they are living a comfortable lifestyle back in Thailand now. This is pretty amazing considering my dad went through quite a lot of obstacles when he was growing up. He was orphaned at 8 and went to live with his uncle. They wanted him to quit school and work in their business, but somehow he was able to complete high school and went on to college. I know my dad went through a lot more iffy situations than I ever did and compared to him, I’ve had it easy.
My maternal grandparents immigrated to Thailand with nothing in their early 20′s. Things were pretty bleak in China back then because there wasn’t enough to eat. They had to work and purchase one ticket at a time for their parents and siblings to join them in Thailand. My grandpa started a fabric business and was able to put 9 kids through college. He made some mistakes and lost his business when he was older, but I think he was still very lucky compared to a lot of his contemporaries. Some of his family members didn’t make it out of China and went through WW2 and the whole Cultural Revolution mess.
Life for us is much better than for the previous generations, so that’s why I can’t complain (much) even when things didn’t look rosy.
Optimists Are Luckier
Luck is mostly about being in the right place at the right time. There are great opportunities passing us by every day and optimists put themselves in position to take advantage of them.
My dad was working night shifts at a gas station when my mom found a listing for a tiny Thai restaurant in the paper. She dragged him to look at the place even when he didn’t want to go because he was sleepy. He walked in, took one look, and decided to go for it. The previous owner wanted to concentrate on his other restaurants and was willing to work with an installment plan. The stars aligned and my parents were able to improve our lives immensely by becoming business owners again. (My dad had always been a business owner before immigrating to the US.) If he had been a pessimist, he probably would have just said it’s not worth the 45-minute drive and gone to bed.
My life is a happy song right now, but I did put in a lot of extra work to get here. We saved and invest for many years to build up our net worth. I blogged for 2 years while holding down a full time engineering job. Throw a baby in there and life was pretty hectic for a while there. Luckily, I started blogging when I did or else I’d probably still be stuck in my old job. Life is good one year into retirement.
Optimists believe they are in control of their destiny and they will work to improve their lives. Even when things are bleak, we know there will be better days ahead. We just need to be willing to work hard, take some chances, and make some radical changes if needed.
Did you know that optimists tend to outperform pessimists in all aspects? They are also healthier and luckier. Optimism is a learned trait, so why not choose it over pessimism? Are you a Lucky Optimist?
Here is a book that can help you become more optimistic – Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life