Today’s post is the featured article from the March 2008 issue of  The Front Porch Newsletter.  If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.

blumbergface1So just how lucky are you? I guess it partially depends on how you define luck. And there may be just as many definitions of luck as there are people defining it. The respondents to last month’s “Front Porch One-Minute Survey” even reflected a wide variety of definitions.

Some would call certain circumstances “sheer” luck! For instance — like winning the lottery. And when you calculate the odds of winning it would seem like “sheer” luck. But even the Illinois Lottery previously used a slogan that reminded you that “you can’t win if you don’t play!” Even the most random luck takes action and often an investment!

Others define luck as a divine intervention — a blessing, or a moment of grace. And I am sure many of us have had those moments of an unexplained combination of events that came together at the right time in the right place to create something really special in our lives.

Luck is sometimes seen as an emotion. You have probably heard it said, “I feel lucky today” or “I have a feeling this is my lucky day”. More than anything, luck may simply be a perspective — one that is both critical to have, yet not one you would want to depend upon.

There are some people who simply sit around hoping for luck to find them. In corporate planning it has been said that hope is not a strategy! And then there are others who relentlessly invest themselves with a lot of effort, but have a glass “half-empty” attitude. They couldn’t even imagine everything falling their way.

I love the“Life is good”line of t-shirts. I have several of these t-shirts, but my favorite is one that shows the outline of a glass of water with the waterline at the halfway point. The words on the shirt simply say “Half Full.” Simply stated, it says it all. And maybe it defines the formula for luck.

Rarely is luck all that it appears to be on the surface. I have heard the saying, “it took them ten years to be an overnight success!” Maybe Bert and John Jacobsare the perfect example. They have taken their “Life is good” line of clothing to a simply smashing success. They are the picture perfect example of what many would describe as the intersection of luck — when preparation meets opportunity. Bert and John started in 1989 with only the design of a t-shirt. With no business savvy, they took to the streets of Boston and to the dorm rooms of universities selling their t-shirt. They lived in their van eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They admit that “chicks” were not impressed! But with a labor of luck, their incredible success is a defining example of what the balance of luck looks like. They live at the intersection of being totally invested with a perspective that sees their life as half-full.

How far do you live from this intersection? I am sure there were many days that Bert and John could have thrown in the towel. I am sure there were financial analysts that could have looked at their early balance sheets and told them their glass was half-empty (or less!). Pessimistic investors would probably have wanted to rip their little “feel good” t-shirts right off their backs. But Bert and John saw something different and totally invested themselves in delivering what they believed in. And just maybe in doing so — they got lucky!

So when the water-line on the glass is at the half-way point, how do you describe it? How you see luck may have everything to do with what you choose to see. Because what you choose to see may have everything to do with how you invest yourself.

ACTION IDEA: Get a glass of water and fill it up halfway. Sit with that glass of water for a while and sincerely ask yourself the question: How do I see things — at work, at home and in my community? Push yourself to really be honest in analyzing your attitude, your actions and your relationships. I hope you can walk away clearly seeing that glass of water as half-full with an inspiration to invest yourself to fill-it-up! If you do, you might just be the luckiest person alive!