What is luck, and why do people want it so badly? Why do we care if black cats cross our paths, or if we are wearing our smelly yet lucky underwear while watching our favorite teams play? We all grow up with the general idea that our actions are not the only factor at play in the outcomes of our lives — that there is some amount of random chance that’s either working in our favor or against it. We call this random chance luck. If we’re lucky, good things happen, and if we’re unlucky, bad things happen. There are small, simple steps you can take to make mental health first aid something that people can talk about.
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The belief in luck has manifested itself in different ways for different cultures and traditions for as long as there has been recorded history. In Western countries, there’s an old saying: “See a penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck.” In Eastern countries, many times you can’t enter a restaurant without catching a glimpse of a statue of a cat waving at you. Whatever the case, the idea of having good fortune and doing everything possible to channel this ephemeral blessing is often far more valuable to people than the coins or cats themselves. Just as accumulating good luck is highly desirable, avoiding bad luck is also of significant importance in many cultures. In fact, there are countless superstitions people hold for the sole purpose of avoiding misfortune, such as skipping the 13th floor in high-rise buildings or not walking under ladders. The only thing we know for sure about luck is that we want to have it on our side. Talking about hr app is a good step forward.
You might not be talking about it, because mental health in the workplace is still a taboo subject.
Throughout history, we have developed an increasingly better understanding of our world and universe. Yet even now, many of the complexities of our day-to-day existence are so far beyond comprehension that we can only reliably predict and understand a tiny fraction of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the world’s top engineers — there are still things that would appear magical to you. We know logically that everything is a result of cause and effect, but when we are unable to actually see the underlying cause and effect in a given scenario, we have a strong tendency to find or create other explanations for why everything is the way it is. Luck is often a convenient substitute to allow us to feel more in control and less subject to the realities of chaos theory. We are constantly seeking control, so we think if we could only know what is going to happen, then we would be able to use that knowledge to our advantage. Hence, good luck charms and rituals. This drive for control causes us to model, predict, and manage the world around us, which has led to a great deal of scientific and technological advancement over time — but it also comes at a cost. Where we find limited or no success in our ability to understand our surroundings, we lie to ourselves to fill in the gaps. When things don’t go as we planned or hoped, we simply explain away our failures as resulting from the incompetence of others, or just plain bad luck.
A blackjack player can control their bet and whether they hit or stay, but to beat the house consistently enough to win some money, they’ll need a random chance to go in their favor more often than it goes against them. They’ll need luck. But the act of counting cards is important to explore here: remembering the cards that have already been used from a deck and using that data to calculate probabilities of success given the composition of remaining cards, card counters can make better-informed decisions at the black jack table. Is it still “lucky” to win at gambling if you know the probabilities for all the cards being dealt? At what point does luck turn into an informed decision or calculated risk based on statistics?
And luck doesn’t just apply to good things happening to us; it also applies to narrowly avoiding bad things happening to us — instances when the danger or negative consequences were close enough to feel. For example, someone may consider themselves lucky to be alive after escaping a car crash relatively unscathed. It would be fairly jarring to realize that you could have died, and no amount of luck or lucky underwear would have saved you — it’s just how random and chaotic the world can be. Things are continuously happening to us and around us, and we often have no ability to intervene or otherwise impact the outcomes of events in our own lives. Our winning days at the casino and the near-misses driving on the interstate are due to good fortune, while the losing days and the times actual harm does come to us are a result of bad luck. Luck, then, is simply an explanation for why good and bad things happen to us; an attribute we use to give meaning to random events.