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Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Two Faces of Luck

Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 13, 2010

Have you ever noticed that some people attribute a lot of their lives to either good luck or bad luck or both?  In some cases, I think this is true, while other times it’s more about having a good plan.  Well the other day I was struck by two rounds of luck: one bad and the other good.

The bad luck started less than a kilometer from home.  I heard a snap in the car and then the battery light came on and then shortly afterward the car started to overheat.  Of course this was quickly followed by check engine light.  Our plans to visit my mother for supper on Mother’s Day were suddenly canceled.   I did manage to get the car home and then the following day my wife arranged a tow truck and called the shop to get the car fixed.  The initial estimate was the shop would not have time to look at it until Friday so I would be carless for a week.  They did mention if they had time they would look at it sooner.  What a great way to start my Monday morning.

Then the good luck came later that day.  My wife called just before I left work, saying  “Guess what?”  I decided to play along “Ok, what?”  Then she replied “The car is fixed, if you can get there before 5:30pm you can pick it up today. ”  All I managed to get out was “WHAT?!?!”  So I took off and went to pick up the car.  The problem had been the serpentine belt snapping and once that was replaced they looked for secondary damage and didn’t find any.  They did warn that there might be some damage that they can’t see, so watch to see if we start burning oil in the car.  Total cost including the tow job: $250.

I typically don’t consider myself that lucky (after all I NEVER win on gambling), but that day I was definitely thinking I was VERY lucky.  Given we were heading out on the highway when the car broke-down, the fact the damage had occurred in the city right near our house had been good luck.  The quick fix had been good luck (the guy at the shop even pointed out not to expect this all the time).  Then it occurred to me that I haven’t had a major problem with my car for nine years, which is partly due to good maintenance, but maybe I was just lucky after all.

So how about you?  Are you lucky or unlucky?  Or does it matter because you have a plan and an emergency fund?

Comments

9 Responses to “The Two Faces of Luck”
  1. Traciatim says:

    I always liked the quote from Edna off of the movie The Incredibles; “Luck favours the prepared”.

  2. Nerode says:

    As Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”.

  3. George says:

    I’m lucky to have been born in the USA with its vast resources and opportunities. Otherwise, I try to have a plan, which may include emigrating to Canada ;-)

  4. deegee says:

    I have made some good decisions which enabled me to capitalize greatly when some good luck came my way. For example, deciding to be childfree and live frugally made it possible to retire in 2008 at age 45 when my company stock grew by 3000% (yes, that is thousand) from its starting point back in 1997.

  5. Canadian Dream says:

    George,

    HA! I love that one. Thanks for the laugh.

    Tim

  6. Macs says:

    $250? Ouch.

    Your ‘bad luck’ was not knowing enough about your car – I recognised the problem before I’d even read as far as “check engine light”, and I’m no mechanic.

    It happened to me about a year ago. Total cost £10 for a new belt which I changed myself in ten minutes or so. Was I lucky, or did I just have a plan? ;-)

    I’m not gloating, just wanted to say small skills can make big savings :-)

  7. Robert says:

    What I find interesting is that without the bad luck, there was no good luck. You were extremely happy about the quick and inexpensive repair. But if it had been just another day of the car working normally… you wouldn’t have been more happy than normal. I think a lot of our “luck” depends on perception.

    And I have to agree with Edna. :) Good and bad luck happens to everyone. Some people choose to capitalise on it.

  8. I find that good luck and bad luck tend to balance out in the long term, and like others have said that the harder I work, the more good luck I seem to get.

    Do you guys have that one friend who always blames his problems on bad luck, when in reality anyone can see how he creates his own problems? I have a friend like that, and now that I think about it, I really have to stop hanging out with him.

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