Do you feel lucky?
By Maj. Wade Norman, 12th Space Warning Squadron operations officer
/ Published December 15, 2006
THULE AIR BASE, Greenland --
Have you ever wondered how some people get so lucky? Think about it. How does the senior Airman that was promoted below the zone also get promoted to staff sergeant on the first try? How do people survive catastrophes? How do people get rich? Are they lucky? You bet, but more often than not, it's because they made their own luck. In many of these cases, luck can be defined as preparation meeting opportunity.
Let me explain what I mean when I say luck is where preparation meets opportunity. I'll use that BTZ senior Airman as an example. Everyone knows that there will be BTZ promotion boards. Consider this as an opportunity for promotion. The key to getting the promotion is preparation. Outstanding job performance, participating in base and community activities, self-improvement through off-duty education, and studying Air Force Pamphlet 36-2241 Promotion Fitness Examination Study Guide help that Airman prepare for the promotion opportunity. Fortunately for the Airman, studying the PFE Study Guide also helps prepare for the Weighted Airman Promotion System exam, another opportunity. And, the off-duty education will continue to pay benefits while in the military and after separation. Over time, all of the preparation not only helps with the first opportunity, but subsequent opportunities as well. Is the Airman lucky?
Now, I don't want anyone to think this concept only applies to promotions or even to the military. It applies to almost every situation; safety is another case in point. You will be better off if you plan for an emergency than if you don't. For example, if your vehicle breaks down on a highway in the middle of nowhere during the winter, having an emergency kit to include blankets, flares, jumper cables, etc., just may be the difference between life and death for you and your family. While an emergency isn't an opportunity you hope to see, preparation is still the key to increasing your chances of success, also known as being lucky.
Another example of making your own luck and increasing your chances of success through preparation is financial management. Early preparation such as budget planning and monthly contributions to retirement accounts and savings plans will help ensure you'll have enough money for retirement, a college education for your children, vacations, etc., -- all opportunities for success.
As you can see, this concept of luck applies to almost every aspect of our lives. Promotions, emergencies, financial management, health and physical fitness, spiritual fitness, mental fitness; you name it. In each situation, you increase your chances of success by preparing for opportunities: good and bad, expected and unexpected. When it comes to success in life, I would rather depend on the luck I made rather than the luck made for me. So, go out and make your own luck. I feel pretty lucky. How about you?