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The Bad Luck Myth

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

A lot of people are going through incredibly difficult life periods right now. A season where winter does not seem to end, even in the summer!

And, if that is you, then it may be the case that, rather than experiencing the respite you expect after times of trouble, a time to catch your breath, all you seem to be doing is fighting one fire after the next.

I have seen this in my life but also in the lives of many friends.

They get divorced and then they have to deal with a critical family illness and then get pregnant ... in the middle of a financial crisis.

Or they are busy planning a wedding and then everything breaks down and your fiance loses his job and then the completion on the house you are planning to move into falls through .... and you have nowhere to live.

Or you are running a business and everything that can go wrong, goes wrong, and on top of that your savings account is scammed and your boiler breaks down in the middle of winter and there is a worldwide petrol shortage so you can't even go and have a shower at the gym.

These are actually true stories!

When you are dealing with one horrible thing after another, the streak of bad luck seems so overblown and unlucky, that it appears to go against any law of probability.

Surely, the system must be rigged because it's impossible that so many tragic things could happen at the same time to one person. Right?

Maybe not.

See, I have a theory that everyone on this earth has access to the same amount of good luck and bad luck - not opportunity, which is something different from luck (because I think, sadly, everyone has access to different levels of opportunity), but, I believe, when it comes to pure and simple luck, it works out pretty even eventually.

When it comes to luck, sometimes you are the pigeon, sometimes you are the statue (maybe I should have called this post that!). Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.

Luck is basically a form of chance. So, it stands to reason that luck, in the long term, kind of balances out for everyone. But why does it sometimes feel like that is not the case?

We have a saying in England, that when it rains, it pours. Meaning that, when bad things happen, they happen in a way that really suck! We also have a superstition about the rule of three, which says something similar: that bad things happen as a series of three unfortunate events.

I don't know whether this is true, but I have noticed that, when I have had a streak of bad luck, it does seem to come from multiple places, from unrelated sources, and it does seem to strike in a particularly below-the-belt way.

It is almost like the universe knows exactly the most annoying, frustrating thing that could happen ... and delivers a sucker punch that is designed especially for you. But how could it be that our luck is sometimes so bad that it seems to go against what is probable or fair?

One day I realised this simple truth: that, if luck is indeed a form of chance, and it is therefore purely random, and that it basically evens out for us all in the end, it cannot be the case we are intrinsically lucky or unlucky.

The reason we sometimes feel that we are more unlucky or are 'born unlucky' is because, we as humans, overestimate the negative and underappreciate the positive. When we are experiencing the 'ups' we take them for granted and expect they will carry on forever and when they don't, we claim it is because we are unlucky.

We also over-commiserate the bad and we personalise the lows. Rather than accepting the fact that everyone has 'off' days, we think that these unfortunate events are happening to us, when really the truth is, they are just happening, and we happen to be there experiencing them. There is no conspiracy against us.

We also assume, because we are all concerned mainly with our own self-interest, that, if it happens to us, it's worse than if it happens to anyone else (and by the way we forget that at any one point there are millions of people experiencing the same 'bad' luck). And the reason for this is because, in our life, we are the most important person - so, obviously, we will have a tendency to react in just this way.

I also think that there is another reason why bad luck appears to 'target' us and that is to do with the power of energy, inertia and momentum. I believe that energy creates reality, that the reason why bad things come in packs and why you get a deluge of bad luck rather than a light rainshower, is because you are caught up in a negative energetic spiral, and when you start going down it, you keep going further and further down.

Bad energy and toxic thinking, builds its own momentum and inertia, sucking you in like a black hole. It has its own magnetic current. The reason why bad luck sometimes can feel like it's casting a shadow that seems to follow you around everywhere you go is that, unknowingly, you have become caught up in one of these negative spirals. And this is the real reason why a spot of bad luck has become an improbable streak.

When you take personally the bad luck, you end up focusing on it, thereby magnifying it, and your reaction causes more things to happen because of your fragile emotional and mental state.

Sometimes, when you internalise these things for too long, you end up creating limiting beliefs, like 'this always happens to meeeeee' or 'I am just unlucky' or 'I am destined to always fail/be heartbroken/get laid off/ be disrespected' .... or whatever it is.

I have been there. Although I am generally a positive person, I can tell you that when I started going down that rabbit hole of negativity, things got worse and worse, and you then need to have an intervention with yourself, before you go even further into perpetuating these false and damaging thoughts.

Because the truth is that luck really is random. And so bad things happen randomly. This is life.

But it doesn't need to become a case of 'when it rains it pours' - it doesn't need to be a long and endless streak.

Deal with the issue, or ride it out, but don't let it change you into a person that believes you are unlucky. Because if you start adopting this belief system, you will change the very nature of luck from being a force of chance, that is annoying but can be dealt with, into a force of destiny, which can shape your life in the long term, sometimes permanently.

And if you do want to adopt a belief, why not believe yourself to be someone who is lucky and is just having a few simple setbacks?

Let me know what you think ... and what you believe about Lady Luck!

If you are interested in getting additional insight and support, I offer coaching and consultation services at the link below.

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