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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lucky Duck

Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year, and after having attended a Chinese New Year party last night, I got to thinking today about the concept of luck (since so much of the symbolism invovled in the Chinese New Year seemed to revolve around inviting good luck and repelling bad luck in the forthcoming year). According to the dictionary's first definition, "luck" is the result of factors that cannot be controlled or predicted and is generally considered circumstantial. For those rationalists out there, luck is random chance.

But to me, luck is far more than that.

In my mind, luck is a concept similiar to karma -- something I actually take seriously (my only real spiritual belief) -- that what "goes around comes around" or "you reap what you sow." So, I think luck is something you project into the universe and into your daily life. If you put good into the world, good things will come your way, and I also think that how you think of yourself, as either "lucky" or "unlucky," directly affects the quality of your life. At first this may seem silly to some, but if you think about it, luck (or how we think about luck) can affect our social lives, our professional lives and our personal lives.

As wikipedia (one of my favorite new tools) points out: "There is evidence that people who believe themselves to have good luck are more able to take advantage of fortunate chance events in their lives, and to compensate for unfortunate chance events in their lives, than people who believe that they have bad luck. This appears to be the result of positive thinking altering their responses to these events." Also: "Those who are kind and generous to others are usually perceived as open and accepting, and so more likely to be freely offered assistance from others. They are also more likely to be able to ask for and receive help from others in time of need. On the other hand, those who are asocial or anti-social are less likely to ask for assistance, or to be offered assistance by others. The open, generous and cheerful person is more likely to be classified by others as lucky, while the curmudgeon is more likely to be considered by others or to consider him/her self unlucky."

So luck, I think, is a state of mind, and if we try to think of ourselves as lucky, then we might just be lucky in our lives. And I think I can apply this to running as well, since most ascribe to the belief that our mental state is 90% of the battle that all runners face -- if we believe in ourselves, then we will most likely succeed (in fact, there was an article in the paper yesterday about studies that have proven that an athlete's mental road blocks are the steepest hurdles he or he must overcome, so it's not just a concept for inspirational posters).

Sometimes trying to remain positive is a struggle, just as running has been a struggle for me, but I figure that the new year (that begins today) is the perfect time to remind myself that if I think positively that perhaps I will find luck in all areas of my life, including my running life.

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