I should be so lucky…

Sadly not an excuse to talk about Kylie (though I keep the picture!) but a short chat about luck – does it exist and are some people luckier than others? Also what does this all have to do with somebody called Teela Brown? I was prompted to write this after an experience recently; on a bus through London I snapped a picture of a big orange ball in Trafalgar Square. I tweeted about it and by the time I got off the bus Tropicana thanked me for mentioned their advertising and offered me a free drink! Lucky old me – or is it?!

Not sure where this will go so strap yourselves in for the ride!

What is luck?

A quick look on the web gives:

Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

I think that touches the bases – it is either success (good luck) or failure (bad luck) and the luck bit comes from external factors. However…

What do I think?

Key to me is the word ‘apparently’. The human mind deludes itself all the time – we believe in coincidence (or psychic power) when the phone goes and somebody we thought about is on the other end or we hum a tune, turn on the radio and it is playing. What we don’t track is the number of times these things don’t happen! I don’t know how many things I haven’t passed by / tweeted / been rewarded for! All I know is when these things pay off.

So, although I think that luck is an illusion, I do think you can do things to be luckier – i.e. get more successful outcomes by chance. Some I can control some I can’t – I can tweet, I happen to work in London for example. What I can do though is recognise those things that give me a positive outcome and which don’t. Moderation is key though – if I find £5 in a jacket pocket that makes it worth checking all my suits, if I find £5 on the pavement maybe keep a half an eye on that. If I win a competition then yes entering more competitions means I can’t win less but don’t let it take over!

For a more reasoned analysis (which I must have read in 2003 and half-remembered) I found this

What has this to do with Teela Brown?

In the 1970s I read the book Ringworld by Larry Niven. In this the human race is managed by a race of aliens called the Puppeteers. In order to control the population, couples are limited to two children but in a lottery can have a third. Over time, and statistically, some people born this way then go on to win the lottery and so on (this brings to mind the idea of the seventh son of the seventh son being lucky) so if luck exists and is genetic then eventually some really lucky people will be born!

One of these is Teela Brown (fifth generation lottery winning offspring) and across the book reality rearranges itself (not in a Douglas Adams way) to make her lucky!

It’s a thought!


About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Lead Writer for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

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