Luck of the Irish

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner I started to think not only about the luck of the Irish and where that expression came from, but also about luck in general, and why some people are luckier than others.

Luck of the Irish is an old mining mining expression

The phrase luck of the Irish is commonly thought to mean “extreme good fortune.” However, according to Edward T. O’Donnell, the term has not an Irish origin but “a happier, if not altogether positive,” American one:

“During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish decent. Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression “luck of the Irish”. It did carry a certain tone of derision, as if to say, only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, could these fools succeed.”The word luck is Middle Dutch in origin, coming from luc, a shortening of gheluc, “happiness, good fortune.” Luck may have been borrowed into English in the 15th century as a gambling term.

So … before reading any further answer this question: Are you lucky? Do you consider yourself a lucky SOB?

For me the answer is an unequivocal YES! Over the years I’ve had many many lucky incidences. One example, long time ago, is that a friend and I went to Corsica for a summer job in a hotel. 
We were in our early twenties, super excited. However, that adventure didn’t fully pan out the way we would have liked, and after a few weeks slaving in a hotel in a picturesque harbor under the hot Corsican sun, they put us on a flight back home.

In the plane we noticed a handsome man in a dark blue suit, sitting across the isle, who was working the whole flight. I didn’t have a clue where my new job would come from or what it would look like, so I asked this hot guy if he didn’t have a job for me. To my surprise he said: “In fact I do. Not me – darn 😉 – I live and work in the US, but the office in Rotterdam does.” I happened to live in a small town just outside Rotterdam and a week later I worked at this American firm. So I called myself lucky. But was that the whole story?

What if I had just watched him and had never asked that question? I would have had to start the agonizing job hunting process.

Recently I discovered that lucky people share certain habits and common traits. Gosh I never knew that. Did you? It’s actually quite a long list. A positive, can-do attitude, stick your neck out are high on the list, but first of all lucky people acknowledge that luck actually exists. That raises the chance of being struck by luck considerably.

They see failure as an opportunity to learn, take imperfect action, learn on the job, and they listen to their gut. That’s what I do and I even work with it. I show people how to trust their intuition.

Being out there, courageous and adventurous can help too. I am a firm believer that you have to put yourself out there, and that one thing leads to another. Years ago I went to a Christmas party at the home of the then president of the ICF (International Coach Federation) Maryland Chapter. It was December, dark, snowed, it was a lousy and long drive from Woodbine to Annapolis. At every exit I wanted to turn around and forget about the party, but I kept on driving. I had come this far so I was going for it.

At the reception I didn’t know anyone and everyone seemed to know everyone, and not interested in saying more then: “Hi, the bar is over there. Enjoy!” 

Right … you know the feeling? I thought it was a lost cause, but it turned out to be so different. There was one other odd one out drifting around and we struck up a lively conversation.

That talk has led to many many great opportunities. His name was Irvine Nugent, a coach, former Irish priest and we, both Europeans, had a lot in common. Over the years he rose in the ranks of the ICF, became a dear friend, and sort of a mentor to me.

What did I learn from that? Don’t give up too easily. Believe in yourself. Believe in LUCK. 

If you are not positive yet. Take on Amy Cuddy’s power pose for just 2 minutes, feel your testosterone rise and go grab that luck!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Be Lucky | Trust your Intuition
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