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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

No Luck

No doubt you have often heard or said, “Good luck.” Or, “Man, are you lucky.” Or, “If I’m lucky . . .” Dictionaries define the term lucky-duck as “someone with astounding good luck.” While these expressions abound, they are linguistic tomfoolery.

“There is no such thing as luck. The term is a cute but meaningless verbal shorthand describing results, not causes. Good luck means nothing more than a good experience or result. If you have good luck, you have a pattern of good results; bad luck, bad results.” (The Gospel of Coincidence, John Boykin)

The term luck is often associated with fate or destiny, as if there is some force that determines whether one will be lucky or unlucky. That’s a topic for another day. What I am addressing here is the use of alternative words for luck; ones which better reflect reality.

Instead of lucky, I would encourage fortunate. The foundational meaning of the term fortunate has to do with a richness of well-being. This can refer to anything from financial prosperity to being well loved. While everyone desires economic security, a fortune of peace of mind or friends or personal satisfaction is much more valuable. I am not lucky to have fifty-five years of marriage to a wonderful woman, it is my overwhelmingly good fortune.

Instead of lucky, another good alternative is blessed. Webster defines that term as enjoying happiness or pleasure. For example, when weather patterns bring just the right amount of rainfall to produce an abundant crop, the farmer feels blessed . . . is blessed. Due to the uncertainty of rainfall, one might call the tiller of the soil lucky that she got what was needed. But blessed more accurately describes the sense of joyous well-being experienced while viewing a field of grain ready for harvest.

Human beings are gifted with thoughts that lead to spoken language. That is not luck; it is good fortune and blessedness. Therefore, using the gift of words ought to be done with gratitude and care.

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