Life is unfair – but you can still win. Change your luck!

Fortuna - the Roman goddess of Fortune. She's blindfolded.
Fortuna – the Roman goddess of Fortune. She’s blindfolded.

Imagine this: you’re patiently waiting in line, and waiting, and waiting, and just when it is finally your turn, someone jumps the line and takes the last item right under your nose.

Imagine that: there’s an opening for a promotion at work. You’re the most experienced person for the job, you’ve always done your best, and you’ve helped bail the team out more than once. When HR does the annual appraisals, you always get great reviews. The boss even gives you a pat on the back and hints that you’ll be up for promotion the first chance they get. So now that there IS a vacancy, you have all the reason to believe it’s gonna be you.

But at the next staff meeting, they announce that the promotion goes to… Jane. Jane who is always late, who has less experience than you, and can’t even do Excel.

Well sh*t.


The first time something like that happens to you, you can’t even wrap your head around it. Your brain desperately tries to find a reason for what happened. Make sense out of the whole thing.

Well, if you dig deep enough, you probably will find a reason. Like, maybe Jane is pretty. Maybe she’s sleeping with the boss. Or maybe her dad and the boss were childhood friends. (I never said it’s gonna be a fair reason.)

If that kind of thing happens in your life a couple of times, you can easily grow bitter. And discouraged. If life is random and Fortuna is really blindfolded, then what does it matter if you work hard? Or study hard? Or give your best at your job?


We’ve all heard those sayings. You know, sayings like “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” If this were true, the gal who works double shifts at KFC wouldn’t still be living in a trailer. Or “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” If that were true, you wouldn’t have been passed over for that promotion they gave to Jane.

That proves one thing: everyone gets lucky once in a while – including you, if you really think about it. But nobody gets lucky often enough to rely on luck alone. We all get a random break here and there.

But get this: there are two types of luck.

Random luck is when you get stuff you didn’t work for in any way.

Coined luck is when you, well, coin your own luck. You work to get stuff you want. And “work” doesn’t necessarily mean physical labour – it could also mean doing the right things or saying the right words. (Much like improving your chances of getting rich.)


You might be able to work on your luck, but that still doesn’t mean that life is fair. Sometimes you work hard as hell but don’t get the result you want. For example, you can work overtime each day for a year and you still won’t become a millionaire. Or you can study for your Accounting exam all semester and still get a low grade.

When you work hard but don’t get the result you want, there are two possible reasons. You either didn’t work hard enough or your approach was wrong. Like that girl who works double shifts at KFC and still lives in a trailer. How would you react if she told you that working double shifts was her plan to becoming a millionaire? I know, right? It’s not that she doesn’t work hard – she does – but her approach is totally wrong. (See The Formula for Getting Rich.)

Of course, sometimes you can do everything right and still not get what you want. Because sometimes life is just scr*wing with you. Sorry.


Even though you don’t always get what you want (or “deserve”), you can still win. Positive thinking will help you a lot – it will help you build the right attitude. (Do not mistake positive thinking and wishful thinking! “Happy thoughts” alone are not enough.)

What you have to do is keep coining your luck. Keep working on the luck you CAN change. Build strong connections with people, mind your reputation at work, save your money so you can make them work for you later. These are the things that you have control over, thanks to the everyday choices you make.

And is there any way you can improve your random luck? Well, maybe. Check out the book Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman. This Amazon link allows you to take a look inside the book, and there’s a simple test you can take to check out your “luck score.”

But I’d still work on my coining my own luck, if I were you.

Like that? Check all our stories in the archive.

Leave a Comment