Pride or Luck?

Ask people whether they would rather feel lucky or feel proud and pride will win more often than not. And yet, most people spend more time trying to improve their luck than doing things that will leave them feeling proud.

Consider how many people play the lottery. The chances of being lucky enough to win are dismal. But worse, even if you do eventually win, the chances it will leave you feeling proud are nil.

“Hey, I just won the lottery!”

“Congratulations. You must feel very proud.”

Lucky? Absolutely. Proud? Not a chance.

And yet, people continue to value luck over pride by obsessively seeking the easy way out of life’s problems.

Unfortunately, those who focus on luck rather than pride aren’t likely to end up with either. Those who focus on pride over luck often end up with both.

And in case you’re wondering…

Yes, I do occasionally play the lottery myself. But I’m not proud of it.

Originally published September 28, 2006

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Since writing this in 06, I’ve become increasingly aware of a trend to value not only luck, but also circumstance, more than effort. We’re told we should be proud of things over which we have absolutely no control – our race, our gender, our sexual orientation, etc – yet we’re discouraged from taking pride in things over which we do have some control – our work ethic and accomplishments, for example. I find this trend very disturbing. In the long run we’re not doing people any favors by encouraging them to to take pride in circumstance and discount accomplishment. But of course, in the short run, the long run doesn’t matter. And today, it’s all about the short run.

Photo credit: Upupa4me / / CC BY-SA