News & Features
Creating Your Own Luck
by Paul Thomson, Drake Women's Tennis, 6 July 2012
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It's not a rabbit's foot in their pocket. Nor the rituals they go through before a task. It's not a penny on heads or salt over the shoulder. It's simply that their hard work and effort has paid off. Have you ever heard a player scream "this guy is so lucky," or "how lucky can a girl get?" Well in most cases, a person is as lucky as how hard he or she works. These players on the courts and people in life are creating their own luck.
Coach Thomson with his Drake
courtesy, Drake Athletics
Luck has a multitude of meanings; two of the most common are fate and fortune. Fate gives a notion of something predestined to happen. It is something that is completely out of our hands. Fortune is something we can create for ourselves through outworking the other guy and making the best decisions in a given circumstance. The Fortune 500 is a prime example of this. Do you really think those companies made it just because of simple dumb luck? Try telling that to Bill Gates or any of Sam Walton's or Henry Ford's heirs.
Sure, there is the lottery ticket winner or the guy that hits 21 at the blackjack table and the kid who was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. But the mainstream here and now, the fortunes we gain by putting ourselves in the right position at the right time, comes from making the right choices and doing the right things. It comes from giving ourselves the opportunity for that dumb luck to step in and lend a hand - from out-working the other guy and "earning" our service breaks.
No one is ever entitled to anything without first earning it. This is one of the sad things about society today. So many think they shouldn't have to work for anything anymore. "Oh the government should give that to me." "They aren't paying me enough." "Why does he catch all of the breaks?" "My child should have been seeded higher," "Life's not fair." Guess what, life was not meant to be fair. Life was meant to be a challenge. Life is meant to build character - not give it. The misfortunes we face every day are not punishments. Those misfortunes are opportunities to make us stronger - better people or, on the courts, better players.
I watch matches all of the time where one player seems to catch all of the breaks. But it's usually the player who earns all of the breaks. It is the one that runs every ball down, always recovers, makes the right shot selection and doesn't check-out. This player, this "fortunate son" is the one who creates his own luck. He does this perhaps by nothing more than pushing the other guy to make some bonehead shot or decision on the court. But regardless, it is usually earned.
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