But what is luck? Is it some kind of natural law? Does it exist when nobody is there?

The need for luck

The truth of the world is that, while everything happens by cause and effect, it is all so complex we can only reliably predict so much. Yet this does not stop us trying. We think that if we can tell what is going to happen then we will be able to act in ways to our best advantage.

Our however need for a sense of control, horewer is a two-edged sword. While it drives us to predict and manage the world around us, we also know that we have limited success in this. So how do we cope? In short, we lie to ourselves. We explain our failures as the incompetence of others or just bad luck.

As well as seeking to control the familiar, our control need also pushes us to test our boundaries, to take risks and to gamble. When we succeed against the odds, when the gamble pays off, we feel lucky.

The reality of luck

In some ways, it is all just a game. When gamblers feels lucky, they believe they have beaten random chance, that their ability to control has somehow overcome natural chaos.

We may also feel lucky when we survive a poor decision or a road accident. Without our intervention, things happen to us and around us, and we explain the near misses and actual harm as being due to fortune, to good or bad luck.

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