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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Meaning of Being "Lucky"

Does Luck Really Exist?

Keith was a normal guy with an average life and 9 to 5 job. He seems to believe that something is going wrong with his life. Everything that he has done lately has had a bad ending for him.
Last week he broke up with his girlfriend, Amanda. Although they had been together for over a year, Amanda told him repeatedly that there were some “bad vibes” around him and that they’d better take different paths for a while. She didn’t want to be “contaminated” with his bad luck.
Keith has kept those words in his mind for a while and has attributed several strange happenings in his life to his “bad vibes:”
1. he lost his gold watch when he went clubbing about a week ago; he doesn’t know how he lost it.
2. He has gotten to work late every day for two weeks due to traffic jams. His boss is not happy with this behavior although he is a good worker.
3. He went gambling with some co-workers, and he was the only one who lost every dime that night.
4. His grades in night school are getting worse and worse. He doesn’t feeling like studying and has neglected doing his homework and projects.

“What is happening with my life?” that’s what he is asking himself every minute of the day. “Is bad luck watching every step of my way?” “If you don’t do anything with your life to stop this bad luck, everything will go down the drain!” said to Amanda before she left.
Keith has made up his mind and decided to visit a fortune-teller in his town and a counselor in the company he is working for. He is in real need of help because he believes that his life is going nowhere. And all of this is happening after he read this print-out that Amanda sent him this morning.

What should Keith do?

If you were his friend and had been told about his intentions of visiting the fortune-teller and the office counselor, what would you tell him to do?
But before you voice your opinion on his “bad luck,” please answer the following questions:
1) How would you define what luck is? Can we label people as “lucky” or “unlucky?” Why or why not?
2) Are all Keith’s latest happenings attributable to his bad luck? How can you explain what has happened to him in regards to:
a. His gold watch’s loss?
b. His lateness for work?
c. His losses at the casino?
d. His broken relationship with Amanda?
e. His bad grades in school?
3) Do any of Keith’s “bad moments of no luck” have a life history? Is this a way to explain his “lack of luck?” Explain your answer.
4) What do you think of the law of probability? Can it explain what happens in any person’s life when talking about bad luck?
5) Do you believe in lucky strikes? Or these moments of extreme “luckiness” are just a matter of perspective? Is being lucky a state of mind? Justify your answers.
6) How much does superstition play in understanding “luck?” Does Keith look like a superstitious person? Explain your answers, please.

Our Final Forethought
Now that you have considered the answers to these questions and listened to your group partners, what seems to be the best solution for Keith? Should he go to the fortune-teller’s office for some advice? Does he better need the assistance of the office counselor? Or should he find help some other place?
Complete your analysis of Keith's case with the following tool:
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Additional Readings to Consider
Murphy's Laws Site:

Does Luck Exist? Is it a State of Mind?

Getting Lucky: Does Luck Truly Exist?