Are You Lucky?

Are some people luckier than others or is it by coincidence that some people get a break where others don’t? I have been saved by doctors from dying eleven times.  I ask why me when others die in wrecks or get shot or die from the same things I could have died from.  Is this luck or divine intervention or as some say when it is your time, it is your time.

I don’t necessarily believe in LUCK or coincidence but I do believe that if you place yourself in situations where both good and bad can happen if you prepare yourself for the good; it is more likely to happen than the bad.  You have to place yourself in a position to take advantage of the luck factor.

I believe that your attitude can make you seem lucky or unlucky.  Many people have a so called happy go lucky attitude.  Meaning that what “will be will be”. I am not a strong proponent of that attitude as I believe that you need to aspire to something and have a reasonable chance of attaining the aspiration and if you place yourself in the situations enough times, maybe you will be lucky.  I believe that it is not luck but you made yourself an option to be picked because of some skill or attribute you have over others in the same group.  If you were picked or chosen it was not luck, you put yourself in the position to be possibly chosen and you were.  You and others may consider you to be lucky but you made your own luck by being prepared and placing yourself in a position to be possibly chosen for a job or position that you were seeking.

A person who has an attitude of their glass always being half full as opposed to being half empty appears to be luckier that than the person whose glass appears to be half empty.  Why you may ask? The person with the glass appearing to be half full all of the time is more prepared to accept and seek god fortune.

More recently and from reading, I can see the good in everything bad whether it is Jeffery Dalmer murdering people and freezing their body parts in freezers, manmade disasters or natures’ disasters that kill thousands.  How you may ask can I see the good that purports to be all bad? Learning the causes of why someone kills, or why an engine fails and causes a disaster or the causes of a natural disaster.  If we did not learn then I would say there is no good but if you look hard enough you can find the good and it is through learning and understanding the cause and maybe some breakthrough in science man can find a way to stop or cure a person from committing a crime or making a fix to a part that will not cause it to fail or controlling emissions to control climate change.

I myself have always had the attitude of a problem is an opportunity to succeed if conquered.  I have been a manager and executive most of my life and always explain to everyone that someone else’s problem is our opportunity to succeed and if they didn’t have a problem, we wouldn’t have a job.  Giving an objection is a sales opportunity to come back with a solid solution.

Problems are in all aspects of a person’s life.  How you handle the problem can make you seem lucky, successful, sad or a failure.  Everyone experiences success and failure, how you handle or control each is in your DNA and makes up your personality and how others see or perceive you.

Let’s take my life for example.  I am now 78 years old and if I didn’t tell people of my ailments  everyone thinks I am in good shape for my age and in many ways, I do feel lucky or fortunate to be as active and still have cognitive skills to write this and other stories.  I have recounted that I have been saved from death by doctors 14 times.  Is this luck, divine intervention, my will to survive, being in the right place at the right time or coincidence?  I believe that it is a combination of all of these things but with a high value on the divine intervention and my will to survive.

I believe in the free will God has given us and with that thought I am able to better understand why people commit hideous crimes against other people.  Only through learning can humans be civil to one another.

Prejudice and bullying go hand in hand and both are learned.  Having lived and traveled to all parts of North America, lived in the Middle East and traveled to Europe I see what prejudice and bullying can do to a family, community, state or nation.

Take as an example a child that is raised in the south but it could be anywhere in the world, they only know what they see and hear from their parents and right or wrong they follow in their parents foot prints. Throughout history it is recorded how tribes, kings and dictators rule.  They rule through bullying and prejudice.  Your skin color has to be the right color, your physical stature, your wealth has to be so much, and your lineage has to come from the right source, your sexual orientation, your religious beliefs, weight, height, looks and mental state.  All of these traits and more are reasons for people to bully and have prejudice.

I was born in southern Illinois and lived in Mattoon, Illinois and I recall seeing the KKK burning a cross in a black friends of mine yard back in the 1940”s.  There were separate water fountains and places to serve food to the black people.  My parents fortunately were not prejudice so I didn’t look down on black people or Asians as so many people did especially after WWII when people of Asian descent were ridiculed and run out of town even though they were true Americans.

I had a black friend and he lived in a poor area and his house had a dirt front yard and the house was never painted and it had a big front porch and it was clean. We played together and I believe I was his only white friend and he really liked me and when it was time to go home he would grab me and not let me go.  It wasn’t long after the cross was burnt in his yard that they moved and I never saw them again.

I think it was then when I was about 6-7 years old that I first began seeing but not yet understanding why some people were prejudiced and bullied others. I remember asking my parents why the cross was burnt and why there were separate eating areas for black people and why did my friends parents hate Asian people so much.

I could understand the Asian hating as we just finished winning the war against the Jap’s as they were called and my uncle fought against the Nips as he called them and I guess it must have been horrible as he would never speak about it when I asked him a question.

My parents were neutral and were pretty much live and let live and only disliked someone if they did them wrong not because of the color of their skin so I grew up with an open mind so was that luck on my part that I had parents that were not prejudiced.  Back then it was probably a 50-50 proposition that your parents would have some prejudice and mine didn’t that know of.

I was born with a free will and I went to church as adolescence and believed in Jesus and understood right from wrong and that was my foundation.  My parents were poor and worked hard all of their lives and as a child I saw that and there was a distinct difference between my mom and step dad’s work ethics.

Mom was from a poor family and was moved around a lot and married a guy that ended up divorcing her after she had two kids, me and my brother Phillip.  He left to go to Chicago and was a gangster sort and they soon divorced.  I never saw him except for once when he picked me up when I was 2 and this is no joke.  My first remembrance was of him and his girlfriend giving me a taste of beer as I stood on the dining room table somewhere in Chicago.  To this day I remember how bad the taste was and I have never tasted beer or wanted to.  Is that luck that I never had a desire for alcohol all of my life even though I was exposed every day of my life. I think I began using my own free will at age two and I was never one to succumb to peer pressure so I have never drank, used dope, smoked, swore or had sex before I was married. Free will helped me be the person I am and it was probably luck that I was exposed to beer at age two.

I remember all through grade school, the activities that my parents did the most were go out drinking with friends and I remember my step dad coming home and throwing up on the front steps and it was awful.  I thought that if a person got so sick they threw up why on earth they would want to go out the next night and do it again but it was a habit and I made sure I didn’t see or hear him throw up.

As I reflect on my life I was a typical over achiever and type an “A” personality.  I was not what you would call a brilliant student but I had street smarts, logic and never forgot anything that I learned.  Most of all I could apply what I learned in a real life situation or I could figure it out on my own and I took a great deal of pride in doing something and more things than a group could accomplish.

I was always promoted to the top spot in the company and in every instance, the people that hired me ended up working for me and some that left come back because they liked my style of leadership and management.  I always made the companies I worked for and the people I worked for a lot of money.

I attended the first board wiring class in Seattle and they guaranteed you would find a job in the new data processing industry. I saved my money and went to the school and graduated and sure enough I landed my first job at Associated Grocers sorting ice cream cards, collating the cards, gang punching the cards and printing reports from all of the cards.

This school was more important than any college education as I was in on the ground floor of the burgeoning data processing industry.  I didn’t know at the time that this would be the wave of the future and the dawn of data processing and all things internet and hand held.  This could be called luck but my free will drew me to the class and I saw that there was a lot of money to be made and I jumped at the chance.  After six months, I was hired by Boeing in operations and it didn’t take long before I was the highest paid operator and worked all of the overtime I wanted and flew all over the United States taking overflow work and getting paid triple time for a week at a time for 24 hours a day. Luck or being at the right place at the right time.

I never graduated from college but Boeing and Honeywell sent me to over 50 classes of every type.  I was sent to several programming schools and I even taught programming and many of the classes I attended I was asked to teach when I completed them.  I was sent to operations classes, machine operations, management classes, EEO, HR, sales, account management, Project and time Management and I became was certified in Accounting, Hospital and health management, distribution and manufacturing. Being credentialed in these industries meant that I was the expert and talked at the highest levels of executive management. I was the expert and the sales people took me along on sales calls to talk technical and I was excellent in understanding where an opportunity was for our specific products and presenting to our prospect.  I was thought to have a PHD in the early years because of my knowledge in these industries.

I was nominated as Systems person of the year several times, National systems manager and was asked to take the NASA Honeywell position in Houston but I turned it down.  My group installed over 200 systems on time and we were the most tenured group in the United States.  As a result I was chosen to be a study and Harvard business school done a three day study of my operational style and it was a tremendous learning experience.  Over 500 questions were asked of the branch of about 30 people and they were all directed at me and I was very defensive the first day. The Harvard guys sat me down and explained that I shouldn’t be defensive because all of these people believe in you so tomorrow let everyone have their say and you will see that they will all come around to your way of thinking.  Sure enough they were right and at the end of the session everyone was asked a series of questions and they were plotted out on a graph and the smaller the square at the bottom right of the paper the more trust everyone had in me.

After all of the plots were complete, they said that I had the smallest no trust of anyone they have ever conducted this process with.  There was one person however that had a large square and he was on probation and that was to be expected.  The process was called the Jo-Hari theory.

This is the model.

  1. Open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’: what is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others
  2. 2.Blind area, blind self, or ‘blindspot‘:what is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know
  3. 3.Hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’: what the person knows about him/herself that others do not know
  4. 4. Unknown area or unknown self: what is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others.

Was I lucky or was it by my free will to succeed and put myself in this position to be selected for this study.  If it was not for the success of our branch, I would not have been selected for the study.  Again, I placed myself in this position so that if a person were chosen, I would be a candidate and I happened to be chosen because I and we were more successful than any other branch.

What is a coincidence?

A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances that have no apparent causal connection with one another. The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, or paranormal claims. Or it may lead to belief in fatalism, which is a doctrine that events will happen in the exact manner of a predetermined plan.

From a statistical perspective, coincidences are inevitable and often less remarkable than they may appear intuitively. An example is the birthday problem, which shows that the probability of two persons having the same birthday already exceeds 50% in a group of only 23 persons.[1]

I have been in hundreds of coincidences on a path, road or trail.  The coincidences always seem remarkable to me and they involve as an example.  I am riding my bike on any trail and there are hardly any people on the trail and all of a sudden here is a person pushing a baby buggy and a group of riders coming in the opposite direction.  We all converge at the exact same time where someone has to slow down or we will collide.  This happens all of the time and in remote areas where there are few people or bike riders.

My most coincidence was one time when I was outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and I was driving through some incredible sand dunes and it was getting dusk.  I pulled over to the side of the road and walked up to the top of a sand dune and just sat there and watched the sand slowly blow over the top and imagined where that sand come from and where it was going and I was watching the sun set.  It was a beautiful sight and very thought inspiring.

Here I am in the middle of the desert and all of a sudden I hear voices and I stand up and here are four Japanese men climbing up the sand dune to take pictures.

What is luck?

The definition of luck (or chance) varies by the philosophical, religious, mystical, and emotional context of the one interpreting it; according to the classic Noah Webster’s dictionary, luck is “a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause”.

Luck or divine intervention?

My fiancée just broke up with me for philosophical reasons and she packed up and went to a motel and I was staying at my parent’s house.  I thought about our relationship for a few hours and about 1:00 am I decided I wanted to marry her after all.  What did I do, I got in my car and was going to find her.  I had no idea where she could have gone and she didn’t have a cell phone in those days.  She could have went to Seattle, Bellevue, Lynnwood or anyplace in between.  I started driving not knowing where she could be and I pulled up at a random motel and asked if there was a Dianne Howard staying here and he said yes and I convinced him to give me her room number and I went up and knocked on her door and to her surprise it was me.  I proposed and the rest is history. I gave her the ring at the top of the space Needle.

What are the odds of this ever happening?  Was it divine intervention or luck?

When I was in high school I always thought I would start a home for wayward boys and in college my sociology professor found me a job working with mentally unstable people and it was my job to monitor them and teach them skills.

It wasn’t until 50 years later that I formed a 501c3 and helped put together what today is All Aboard and no I have started a bowling program.  Both of which were passions of mine that were dormant and come alive when I retired.  Coincidence, free will, luck or divine intervention or a combination of all four.

What is divine intervention?

Divine intervention. A miracle or act of god (or gods) that causes something good to happen or stops something bad from happening. An example of divine intervention could be someone awakening after several years in a coma.

I believe in God and I certainly had divine intervention several times in my life but the most divine intervention occurred when I was the most destitute I have ever been.

I had a company called “The Connection” the fore runner to e-bay and I poured all of my finances into the company had the best programmers in the United States working for me and I had the richest family in the United States backing me.  My company was heralded by 60Minutes as the most innovative new company in the United States and I was interviewed by the program.

We were wildly successful and were beginning to hurt some companies of the family and they were pressured to close me down and they did.  I went berserk and destroyed the copy machine and threw the owner up against the wall and marched out of the building and drove to my apartment.

I calmed down called back and apologized and on my way back I was totaled and some employees recognized my car and the Jaws of Life were cutting the car open to get me out.  Fortunately I was not badly hurt.

I was heavily recruited and was wined and dined by UNIVAC and accepted a job in LA.  Wildly successful, but my fiancée hated the area, so she left and soon after I followed.  While stopped at a hotel in San Francisco, my car was stripped and everything I owned was stolen and I literally had the clothes on my back and a leased car.

While driving over the Oakland Bay Bridge I get a ticket for driving to slow and when I get back to Seattle I called my parents to see if I could crash there until I could get back on my feet and they welcomed me with open arms.

I was divorced and the joke back then was I was paying more in support than Pete Rose was, my fiancée just left, I was totally broke, as I put $200,000 of my own money in “The Connection” I had no clothes, a car with broken windows and I was on the hook for $7,000,000 of computers from the “The Connection so I claimed bankruptcy.

I always believed in God, but I never asked him for anything as I could always do it by myself.

That night in my parents guest bedroom I was praying and all of a sudden I was hit by the brightest light and God spoke to me and forgave me of every sin and the next morning I was a completely new person with a new outlook and the world was my oyster. It was the most euphoric feeling I have ever experienced and to this day I get goose bumps when I think of it and I have had to get up from the table bawling in tears when I have discussed the experience.

It was near Christmas and I went downtown and any money I had, I gave away and the tuba man was  playing and I gave him my last $10 and I remember he played louder than he ever had and it was great. Within two days I had offers for General Manager’s jobs and Vice President of Sales positions.

I could lose everything again and it would not bother me as my life has been totally changed since that eventful night.

I do believe in divine intervention and have been saved by doctors from dying at last count 11 times.  I ask why am I still alive and I think I must have more to do otherwise I would not be here.

I wrote this as food for thought so anyone reading this short story can think of their life situations and maybe understand the difference between luck, coincidence and divine intervention and where free will fits.

I believe that your free will drives you to be in a position to take advantage of a good situation and your skill makes it look like luck but in reality you have placed yourself in the position to take advantage of the situation when it comes along.