The Role Of Luck In Life

My friend Karen Triggiani emailed me this essay by Dennis Prager:

There’s a lot of luck in life.

The longer I live — Aug. 2 was my birthday — the more I come to realize how much of life is affected by luck.

Let’s begin with life itself. Whether one lives to 62 — or to 92 (my father’s age) — and whether in health or in sickness is largely a matter of luck.

I strongly believe in taking care of one’s health, but for most people, living long and in good health is a matter of good luck.

My wife’s sister died of cancer at 35. The brother of my radio show’s producer died of a brain tumor at 57. Friends of mine lost their son at the age of 13.

None of these people did anything “wrong.” Whether you get a brain tumor or not is identical to whether you win at roulette. Either the ball falls on your number or it doesn’t.

The subject of the role of luck — good and bad — depresses many people. And well it should. To realize how much happens to us and others that is not in our control is sobering, if not depressing. And some reject it outright.

Some people — many who believe in karma or various expressions of New Age thought, for example — believe that everything that happens to us we bring upon ourselves. Even if we are hit by a drunken driver, we somehow caused it.

That, of course, is irrational. And it is even cruel, as it causes some people to blame themselves for suffering they had no hand in.

And many religious people resent the notion of the role of luck since it seems to minimize the power of God in this world.

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (, he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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