Doing Your Best IV

Successful people know how to connect the dots between their present situation and their future goals. That said, successful people are not always happy people, which I imagine occurs whenever one’s goals are not well-aligned with true purpose.

The ability to connect the dots is something we learn from a very early age. We practice in coloring books, learn about cause and effect in games, school and at home, in preparation for the “real world.” We hone this skill to varying degrees, monitoring cause and effect along the way, and make decisions to the best of our abilities.

Occasionally we benefit from what some call “luck,” a concept I considered some time ago in this post: While I have experienced many occasions in which I could not clearly assess the causal chain, I imagine that those unexplained factors were the result of some cause, somewhere. It is not my custom to count on luck, for there is so much more to charting the shortest and surest course from A to B.

If you feel unlucky in life, consider this perspective offered by William George Jordan some 100 years ago:

One of the many ways in which the individual unwisely eclipses himself, is in his worship of the fetich of luck. He feels that all others are lucky, and that whatever he attempts, fails. He does not realize the untiring energy, the unremitting concentration, the heroic courage, the sublime patience that is the secret of some men’s success. Their “luck” was that they had prepared themselves to be equal to their opportunity when it came and were awake to recognize it and receive it. His own opportunity came and departed unnoted, it would not waken him from his dreams of some untold wealth that would fall into his lap. So he grows discouraged and envies those whom he should emulate, and he bandages his arm and chloroforms his energies, and performs his duties in a perfunctory way, or he passes through life, just ever “sampling” lines of activity.

If passing through life in a perfunctory way is good enough for you, good and well. If not, stay tuned. Much more to come!

7 thoughts on “Doing Your Best IV

  1. DeeDee

    This is so true! I am curious about the previous post you referenced – the link is not active above. What is the title? Thanks!


  2. David R

    For many I suspect that the concept of luck is tied to the subconscious suspicion that some are blessed while others are inexplicably cursed or ignored. On this basis, life can become a little like a twenty-four hour Las Vegas. Sometimes one beats the system, but more likely one is consigned to the sad and resentful crowd of losers. It does take some “heroic courage” to place value firmly in the quality of what is expressed rather than in results that appear this way or that. Quality does give rise to quality regardless of unevenness along the way as our life paths intersect so much existing turbulence. A steady hand and a thankful heart constrain toward a happier outcome!


  3. Beth C

    The thought that opportunities may arrive and depart unnoticed is a sad one. As I was making a mental list of some of the reasons this may happen, I noticed that each one started with the prefix “pre” – preoccupied, presumptuous, prejudiced, preconceived ideas. Though Life may be generous in providing opportunities, it will not seem so if there is no openness of mind or heart to recognize them. Enjoying this series of posts so much!


  4. Coco

    Luck is such a weak way to view someones success. I’d always heard that luck is when opportunity and hard work intersect. Even when an inheritance is the initial conveyer of wealth, to be successful in administering it takes focus and work.
    Jealousy is a prime perverter of vision. If ever assistance with assessing a situation or help connecting the dots is needed, the LAST person you want to inquire of, is one that suffers from the dreaded, usually fatal disease of jealousy.


  5. Joshua

    I’ve often missed the point in this regard, trying to fix my gaze on some far distant future however….This matter, seems to come into better focus when applied to now. Rightly the A to B should be this moment to the next (Digestable) and wouldn’t you know it you can start here and now, generating a new chain of causality, provided your hearts in the right place.
    Thanks Gregg, today will be a productive day!


  6. Colin

    It is an amazing thing when you are in the sweet spot of your life. I think when people see something going right as luck, they miss the opportunity to build good fortune upon good fortune. If you see success as being in the right place at the right time and taking the available opportunities, you can take advantage of that and continue a string of what outsiders might see as “good luck”.


  7. Ricardo B.

    Now here’s an idea that sparks my interest – the whole idea of happiness. I mean true happiness, long standing happiness, a more consistent state of simply being content with life. Are problems simply too great today that this is mere fancy? As mentioned before, if you are in the habit of only feeling what you extract out of life, then happiness has to stop sometime….happy go lucky? Well your luck always runs out sooner or later in this model. Another option is to learn to live life, becoming educated in its laws, waking up to a sense of purpose through active thought, contemplation and inspiration; setting aside concerns that could cause you to forget about this deeper concern, and then exert as much discipline as is necessary to model your behavior accordingly to all these things. Sounds like alot of work? Well it is, but not the kind of work that leaves you drained because in fact you are happy because of this very personal sense of purpose.


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