Some months ago an article in the local press caught my attention. It was based on a study performed by an English University Professor and his team, in which they had explored the concept of “lucky” people versus “unlucky people”. They enlisted the assistance of several hundred diverse individuals, spread evenly between the 2 categories. Clearly, as a starting point, it was necessary for each of the participants to identify which of the 2 groups they believed that they belonged to.
As the study progressed, it became increasingly apparent that, in reality, neither of the 2 groups was “luckier” or “unluckier” than the other. Statistically, if we spread their attempts at enjoying good fortune over a significant sample, we should expect them to be equal, and indeed they were! Having said that, the group who believed that they were “lucky” people, enjoyed more of the benefits that we would tend to attribute to good luck. They won more prizes in competitions, enjoyed more success in business and social activities as a result of their efforts and generally lived a happier, more contented existence.
The investigating team then set about analysing some of the factors influencing the outcomes that they had identified and their findings make interesting reading. Firstly, there was no doubt that the “lucky” group won more raffle prizes, but this was because, always feeling that they had a chance of success, they tended to buy more tickets. Secondly, the “lucky” group tended to be more aware of and receptive to opportunities. Believing that they were “lucky”, they always expected something good to happen to them and they were more likely to be ready to react to the opportunities which presented themselves.
The “unlucky” people tended to be life’s pessimists. As they weren’t expecting anything good to happen to them, they simply missed the opportunities which arose. They were more concerned about minimising the negative impact of the misfortune which they perceived to be their lot in life and were extremely conservative when it came to taking chances unless they were absolutely certain that they would not fail.
The survey concluded, Brethren, that, as a general rule, all of us share the same prospects of good and bad fortune and that, from a practical point of view, we really do tend to make our own “luck”. Yes, of course there are extremes, and ordinary people have both good and bad experiences, but it is completely unrealistic to expect that you will experience one or the other in greater allocation than those around you.
What will vary, though Brethren, is how we each, as individuals, react to the challenges and opportunities that we face. If we focus on looking on the bright side of life, if we are alert to the positive opportunities presented to us, if we have self-belief and have confidence in our ability to promote good fortune for ourselves and those around us - then we create an environment in which we can succeed in our quest. If, however, we accept that we are simply “unlucky” and that fate is against us, we are unlikely to enjoy any of the fruits reserved for those who strive so diligently to overcome the inevitable obstacles that they face.
As many of you are aware, I spend many Saturday mornings pretending to be a golfer and, on my desk at work, I have a mouse pad, with a magnificent picture of a very complicated golf hole. The pad comes from a series of inspirational messages. My particular picture is headed up “Focus” and it bears the message “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you fail to focus on your goals”.
Success, Brethren, whether it be in the context of our own lives, whether it be in the progress we make in our Lodge or whether it is related to the overall future of our beloved Freemasonry, really is dependant on our own attitude. Each and every one of us needs to take full, personal responsibility for addressing the challenges that we face. If we believe that we will fail, we will undoubtedly fail! If we spend our whole time bemoaning our misfortune and over-analysing all the insurmountable obstacles, we will fail.
To succeed in any given situation, Brethren, the first vital ingredient is a belief that we can! It is a genuine commitment to looking at the positive factors, it is a willingness to explore those alternatives which can potentially help us to meet our goals but, above all, it is a realisation that our future really is, for the most part, not a question of good or bad luck, not dictated by insurmountable obstacles but is in our own hands. The reality is, that it is our own attitude which has the greatest influence on our future. The GAOTU presents us all with many wonderful opportunities – it is up to us to be ready for them and use them well!
R Wor Bro Geoff Edwards
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