I couldn’t decide what to write about today so I opened up my copy of Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg and the page I came to had Lucky on it. It told me to write for ten minutes on who lucky I’ve been. Still not moved, I looked across the page: Perfect. Without looking at the prompt beneath that word I thought about the juxtaposition of these two words. What’s the difference between the two? And if I had to choose one, which would I pick?
Of course Natalie must have thought about the yin and yang of these words too. They didn’t just happen to land across the page from one another. If I were perfect, would I need luck? If I counted on luck, would I need to be perfect?
Being lucky means to have good things happen by chance. Whether those things drop into your lap or you are superstitious and you think you can make them happen with actions such as rubbing a rabbit’s foot is a matter of belief. In any case, when we say someone is “lucky” we are talking about good luck, not bad.
But it turns out luck is not purely chance. Studies show that lucky people are that way because they are open to new experiences, are less closed off to strangers, like to try new things and visit new places. People who are unlucky spend more time worrying, tend to have tunnel vision, only speak to people they know, and miss out on new opportunities.
So luck is about chance, but not chance falling in your lap. It’s about taking a chance.
A perfect person wouldn’t need luck, would they? Everything would just fall into place, right? They would have the perfect life, job, extracurricular activities, so they wouldn’t need fortune. So maybe it’s better to be perfect?
Maybe in a perfect world, but we know there are no perfect people. Attempting to be perfect is different than being born that way. But what’s wrong with setting high goals for ourselves? It turns out that perfectionism can be destructive when the focus is on pleasing others instead of ourselves. When people focus on getting better for their own benefit or to beat their own personal best, their well-being doesn’t suffer. When the focus goes from the work to what other people think, that’s when social anxiety creeps in.
So Which Do You Prefer – Luck or Perfection?
Since you can’t really count on either, which do you want to choose? Luck can come or go. Perfection is never achievable.
But let’s say for the sake of argument, you could really count on one of these fickle states. If you really could rely on luck when you needed it would you take it? Or would you rather really be perfect?
I think I’d pick luck. I don’t really like waiting, but I do like surprise and knowing that good luck was always coming would be a different state to be in.
But being perfect? That’s interesting too. Let me know what you think.