It is true indeed that fate is very cruel to some--like the orphans,the physically or mentally challenged,those bereaved of all or many family members in one stroke,or those beset by sudden calamities through no fault of their own. One cannot but admire their grit & determination in face of such misfortune. The very fact that we see them around indicates that they accepted the inevitable & gathered courage to carry on. Hats off to them!
There is another group that complains of ill-luck & discrimination. According to them nothing good ever happens in their lives. They are so unlucky that they fail in every thing they undertake to do. If an outsider were to see their trajectory s/he too would notice that their efforts mostly come to a sorry end. Initially one feels sorry for them & extends moral support, but after a while all tire of them & drift away.
This raises an important question--is it fate which is conspiring against them or is it because of their own weaknesses that they are not able to achieve anything in life?The answer is not so simple.It is a mixture of both, heredity & environment.Heredity it is ,which endowed them with certain physical &mental attributes which became their strengths or weaknesses.The environment too,must have played an important role in shaping their personalities,forming their behavior patterns and cementing their beliefs.
While talking of environment,not enough stress can be laid upon the kind of nurture a child receives. Even a weak or unattractive child can bloom & do well if s/he gets proper support from his family--particularly parents--& mentors.
The sort of heredity & environment a child gets might be clubbed under luck by the fatalists.But we have seen many swimming against the tide and coming out winners.If one is mindful of one's own strengths & weaknesses;& decides to overcome the latter,a lot can be achieved.
Take the case of Tina. I have known her since we were kids,living nearby,playing together,eating together &studying together. She was frail in health & ordinary in looks.This was in sharp contrast to her younger sister who was bright,chirpy & enthusiastic. There were constant comparisons between the two of them-- mostly at home &sometimes even in school. I remember how her face would lose all color at such remarks. She would lament that she was no good &born unlucky. This feeling took a stranglehold on her psyche as she grew up. Gone was the natural resilience of childhood &Tina was engulfed in a cloak of despondence. Her wistfulness at not being as good as her sister gave way to a strong belief that she was born unlucky &would remain a loser all her life.
As i look back i can see now that because she did not expect anything good to happen in her life, she just threw in the towel & began to gloat in her failures. Her inertia attracted further disappointments & reinforced her belief in her bad luck. In fact she had begun to like this cocoon that she had built around herself. People would sympathize with her & she took on the role of a martyr. This was much easier than going full throttle for achievement.
At this point i decided to take charge. I made her see that her pessimism was actually the result of her childhood environment, ¬ because of a serious deficiency inside her or her stars. She did not expect anything good to happen in her life therefore she had given up setting goals & making efforts. Her attitude was also not conducive for problem-solving. So we put our heads together & chalked out a program for her.
(1)FAIR EVALUATION---Firstly she undertook an impartial assessment of her abilities &achievements. She realized that she did have the qualities required to be an achiever. It was her hesitation that was holding her back. As we looked back i pointed out many instances where she had attained success &won accolades.But she conveniently glossed over those instances & glorified her failures. These observations inspired her to change her mindset.
(2)BEING PROACTIVE --Once her attitude changed, she decided to be practical, to regard every thwart as a challenge¬ a failure. She was no longer resigned to her fate but leading it by the nose.
(3)REALISTIC AMBITIONS--I cautioned her to not overshoot her capabilities. She started with tiny forays. Success in these made her optimistic &after a while she was able to achieve bigger targets.
(4)EMERGING FROM THE SHELL--Tina no longer felt unlucky or inferior. Her visage was much more serene &cheerful. Her confidence level was rising concomitantly with her achievements. No more whining but a zest for life & a hunger for more success. Now was the time to reach out to others-- even those who had discarded her for being too morose. I encouraged her to vocalize her new-found enthusiasm &satisfaction at the way her life was going.Today one does need to speak about one's accomplishments. Very soon people realized her worth. She joined the mainstream&people welcomed her with open arms.
(5)BEING PREPARED FOR SET-BACKS TOO--So far so good. But as time passes it is not possible to bask in the sunshine always. Ups &downs are a part of life. It was important to drill this into her mind so that she would not slide back at the first setback. I urged her to remember that nobody was lucky for ever. All had to undergo their own share of rough patches in the form of failures ,disappointments, difficulties, pain &grief. By nature some people were reticent about their personal problems. Not knowing their hardships,we considered ourselves to be the unluckiest souls on earth.
(6)KEEPING CLEAR OF SELF-PITY --Tina realized that she had been suffering from chronic self-pity until she decided to change the course of her life.Her attitude obstructed problem-solving abilities. Therefore she had had more than the usual run of bad luck.Self-pity is just like morass. It sucks the person in it's vortex.
Now Tina proudly proclaims to others "Nobody is born unlucky. Make an effort to change your destiny. It can be done."
As long as one sets luck aside & concentrates upon one's own efforts, it is possible to better one's lot to a large extent.At least then one won't have cause for remorse because s/he knows that s/he has not been lacking in his/her efforts to evolve.
What do YOU think?Do you believe in luck or hard work?Please share your thoughts.