In his book The Happiness Advantage, author Shawn Achor talks about perspective and whether people see themselves as lucky or unlucky. He often tells a story at speaking events and asks people in the audience what they think.
The story is if a bank had 50 people in it and a robber came in and fired one shot which hit you in the arm, would you feel lucky or unlucky?
There are always people who answer that they feel unlucky because out of 50 people they were the one hit. Or that they never go into the bank but the one day they do they get shot. Or out of all those people, someone must have deserved a bullet more than them.
Then there are those who say, it wasn’t a fatal shot, no one was hurt, there may have been children there and thankfully they weren’t injured, or at least no one died. They feel lucky.
In his research, Achor has found that usually 70 per cent of people feel unlucky and 30 per cent feel lucky.
Each person made up a story about how they saw the situation. Some saw it as a fortunate outcome and some saw it as unfortunate. But the story they made up decided which it was. And the best thing is, we all make up stories about how we see what is happening to us and that story decides how we feel about it.
You almost get cut from your long-time hockey team, but they decide to keep you playing a position that you don’t usually play. Are you lucky to be with your team or unlucky to be playing a more uncomfortable position?
You get a pay cut at work but another group of people get let go. Are you happy to have a job or angry to be making less?
You find out you have cancer, but it was caught early enough to most likely end in a full recovery. Are you feeling blessed or sad that you have to go through such a thing at all?
Every day we decide what frame to put around the picture we have of our world. Will it make us feel good or bad, lucky or unlucky, happy or sad?
The thing is the person in control of that frame is us. What will we decide to see today?