born under an unlucky star

Parents feel immense grief and helplessness when too many things go wrong, one after another, in the life of their adult child. So they get him to come back home, to take care of him until things are better. They say he was born under an unlucky star.

What is Luck? This is what researchers who have been studying Luck have to say:

  • Luck is subjective, and a positive attitude can make you luckier.
  • Alert people who watch for opportunities can create good luck by grasping a chance quickly.
  • Lucky people tend to use serendipitous encounters cleverly, though they might say, “I got lucky”.
  • Lucky people vary their routines and thus increase the likelihood of serendipitous events.
  • Successful gamblers hone their betting patterns to get luck on their side. I don’t know how that might work, but that’s what they say.

Is there no such thing as pure luck that is controlled by Destiny alone? I do believe there is. Some people seem more prone to having things go dreadfully wrong with everything they try. I think the fear and negative attitude are a result, rather than the source, of bad luck.

I’ve heard people described as ‘someone whose touch can turn gold into mud’, the opposite of ‘someone with a Midas touch’. Some of them have gone from mistake to astonishing mistake, so you might wonder for a moment if they did create their own bad luck. But if you listen carefully to their story you can quite see that they couldn’t have done things differently in the circumstances of the time. Only in hindsight does it look like they could have.

As psychiatrists, we don’t usually make room for luck in interpreting patients’ problems, especially as people in India express it in astrological terms like, “Our astrologer told us he is going through saade-saatha shani”, and we know nothing about Astrology. We are trained to look at events in a patient’s life pro forma:

Problem

How did it start and progress

What was the immediate cause

Why does it persist

What has been done about it so far

Has such a thing happened before

Family history

Personal history

How is his current mental state

Though we empathise, our primary job is to objectively work out how best to alleviate his distress using solutions that Science offers.

Answering our questions can’t be easy for the patient. He can’t always justify the steps he took as he tried to scramble to his feet after each slide. He can’t explain why all his efforts have failed. He looks and sounds utterly defeated. That’s when the accompanying family member protectively steps in to say that he has had a lot of bad luck, and gives a number of instances.

His family is not going to abandon him when he is down and out. This impression could be something that inched into my mind subliminally over the years. Or, it is unconscious cherry picking I did out of a need to believe in human goodness, because I’m one of those people who read the newspaper every morning.

These cases give me hope that people still care, though things I read make me feel that we are done with all that, and now it is only about making the world high-tech, obviating the need for human beings and their troublesome emotions. Of course, I’m also aware that for every person who gets support from a loving family there are many who aren’t welcome back in the fold, but well . . .

With the corona virus unleashing a sort of guerilla war on us, a lot of young adults who are graduating from college this year are apprehensive. For many, confirmed job offers have been rescinded. Those who graduated last year and are in their first job are no longer certain what will happen to them. Young people who started new enterprises in recent years, and have not yet broken even, are worried. Those studying abroad are in limbo, online classes being a poor substitute for the vibrancy of real college life.

It’s bad luck that the corona pandemic intersected with their lives at this point in time. Many of them will suffer from anxiety and depression, and incipient psychotic illnesses will flare up in those at risk. It’s quite likely that many of these graduates will be jobless and need family support for an unpredictable length of time. This is pure bad luck and it’s not because of a negative attitude, a lack of alertness, or wasted chances.

They will eventually find a way around it. Some say “And this, too, shall pass away” was first carved by wise sages on a finger ring for an unknown Eastern monarch centuries ago. Some say the Eastern monarch was King Solomon. Some say Rumi originally wrote these words, and some say Rumi got them from Attar . . . Whatever their source, these wise words are our common inheritance, they belong to everyone, and are especially comforting for youngsters who might be feeling very unlucky in these locked down times.

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7 thoughts on “born under an unlucky star

  1. (a) Luck favours the prepared mind. — Louis Pasteur. (b) Many will have to start life afresh….on all frontiers…from scratch…so it will take more sweat and toil and emotional turmoil to reach that personal/professional dream….(c) But you are right some where in your article…obliquely you mention about the world going more and more hi-tech…neglecting emotions is not right…substituting robots is not going to be great solution always…etc. (d) All the three aspects of human beings personality: IQ, EQ and SQ determine his “luck”…(e) As John Nash Jr. had said : The only thing greater than the power of the human mind is the courage of the human heart….

    Thanks and regards, for all your nice blog articles. From Nalin Pithwa

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  2. As you mentioned that pure luck received by destiny is there, I feel it has connection with our past karma and the present we are creating. Sometimes opportunities present as luck. There is a certain portion of us that we can create or modify with our hard work in any form done and maybe that has a connection with our luck. Life unfolds and teaches us slowly

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  3. People feel unlucky when their situations don’t change in a significant amount of time. Reason you feel unlucky is because you’ve been doing the same things day in and day out with the same people. Try and learn something new, volunteer, expose urself to new people .

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  4. The way I see it is luck is nothing but the failure to launch ones self. Some people stay as plants never become a tree. May be for several factors. For example a child goes abroad to study with big hopes and dreams but when they get abroad to study they realise that even though they managed to get good grades the system is rigged in most countries where citizens of the that country will get preference over others and so the child returns home but realises that they might not fit into the life style at home so there is definitely a sense of displacement and for some other they feel alas i can breath i feel more safe in the surroundings I know. Luck is also based on your Karma (family, country, self, maybe even past lives).

    Being a brown woman trying to make it in a white world is hard. But i take it as a lesson in life. Luck, like you said, is nothing but positive energy. We all have the ability to manifest positive energy in life (meditation, devotion, kindness etc). We are far more capable than we think. Why give all the credit to luck. Through observation we are able to determine other opponent’s behaviour patterns and build one against them. I personally believe in Astrology and i think it does play a big role in each one of our lives. Spirituality and science are tools to deal with problems although i see them as two sides of the same coin. We are evolving beings and so we must go through are own personal hurdles in life. The one thing all evolving beings measure themselves is by growth. All i am trying to say that is that bad luck plays its role in life too. As bad as that sounds, it creates depth in our personality, in other words, your soul grows. Be it a Shaman or Psychologist they are all trying to help you achieve the path you want to pursue.

    Indeed the coronavirus is going to set back a lot of students in their life. People are out of jobs every where in the world. The governments are stalling because they have no plan in place and we are going in for global recession. Which seem like a doomsday effect. There is going to be a loss of trust and a hopeless feeling that is going to be hard to shake off. Rumi was simply stating the obvious “that this too will pass” coz change is consistent.

    There is a revolution starting in most countries and it’s true coronavirus is a setback for greater changes to come. No one wants to depend on a government that does not have our backs. We all need hope and it will come once we all have one voice, one purpose.

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