Monday, April 28, 2014

Luck has nothing to do with it. Or does it?

'Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.' This quote, credited to Roman philosopher Seneca, is nearly two thousand years old. Yet many of us lean on luck like it's some sort of divine process that will either get us to our goals, or it won't (because we're "unlucky").

But there's some interesting evidence. 

Wiseman (2003) studied a group of 400 people over the course of 10 years to determine if people were indeed lucky - or in fact, unlucky. He found that luck perhaps does exist, just not in the way you may have thought. 

In a now famous study Dr. Wiseman gave both the lucky and unlucky people a newspaper and asked them how many photographic advertisements were inside. On average the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photos, whereas the lucky took only a few seconds.

It's all about perspective.

Wiseman put a message on Page 2 that said "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." The lucky people were open to this "luck" whereas the unlucky were too intent on not missing any photographs that they missed the message.

Wiseman believes that unlucky people are this way because they miss chance opportunities by being too focused on looking for something else. They are so busy looking for the latest-greatest that they miss that great opportunity that might be staring them right in they eyes. "Lucky" people are more open to opportunity and aware of their surroundings. 

So, what does this all mean? How does this apply to your fitness journey? 

Well, how many program hoppers do you know? Individuals who are inconsistent with training and nutrition, and always convinced that what they learned today is better than what you learned yesterday? A few (probably an understatement). These people tend to attribute others' success to luck when really the successful athlete they look up to is likely just a combination of talented, consistent, hard working, open to opportunity, and aware of their surroundings. 
Maybe there have been weeks that weren't great for you. Training wasn't quality, stress was high, and as a result nutrition was astray. Don't let a difficult week be anything more than a lesson learned. What matters is how much you learn from these mistakes, and how quickly you get back on track.

The hardest lesson I've had to learn on my own journey, One step forward is often followed by two steps back. Don't get discouraged.

Be purposeful in what you say and do, and keep the right perspective. Who knows, luck may be on your side.

Be powerful, 
Patrick Ciera

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