Luck? Or Hard Work?

I was chatting with a coworker today and she noted that I must be looking forward to having some time off this summer.  My job allows me a couple of mostly-free-of-work months over those warm days.  She said at first that I was lucky, then said, “No you’re not lucky. You made it happen.”  That got me thinking.

I think we tend to attribute far too little of our success or fortune to luck.  I think back on the key moments in my life and there were some lucky moments.  If I didn’t have a particular teacher or supervisor or friend I might have taken the path I took.  I had not seen the newspaper on the right day or if a housemate hadn’t taken a class on the right date, I might not have found this way in life.  Luck had a lot to do with it.

Sure, hard work matters.  In fact, it is what one does with the lucky moments that makes the difference.  Get lucky and land a good job?  That matters a lot less if you are a slacker, or if the people with whom you work hate you.  You need to make it happen, as my coworker said.  To clarify, hard work matters a lot, but luck matters too.

Think of the big ones.  How about where you were born?  That kind of makes a difference in the opportunities one has.  How about other members of your family?  Whether one has abusive parents or the most loving on the block makes a difference, and that has nothing to do with hard work.  Yes, with some struggle one can overcome these tricks of fortune, but that is my point.  It takes more work for one born into more challenging circumstances.  

One can be successful if one is mostly lucky and one can be successful if one works terribly hard.  I believe it is when one takes full advantage of the circumstances that simply happen to him or her that one can be most successful.  Sure, chalk it up to hard work.  I just don’t buy it.  Everybody gets lucky, whether he or she acknowledges it or not.  

Here’s Thomas Jefferson:  I’m a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it.

I’m with that.


Garden Beds Prepped for Spring

Garden Beds Prepped for Spring

I spent a lot of time this weekend prepping the garden for the spring. I wasn’t as good as I might have been at weeding come late summer, and a couple of beds only got used for a short time, so there were some (read lots of) weeds. I dug, I sorted, I raked, I hauled. By the tail end of the last bed I was ready to be done, but I kept going. I’m glad I did.

I am still hoping to mulch the beds. We have cartloads of leaves to dump on top, which will clear the lawn of leaves and feed the dirt while it protects the dirt from the winter. I put that off, however. I was too tired and frankly, sick of it, by late afternoon.

I went inside and made a maple latte and helped my daughter run through a photo slideshow. That revived me. Then I made dinner. That topped off a day that included a hike up Mount Philo. It was a good day.

I am glad I cranked on the garden beds. When spring gets here I will celebrate my productivity. If I can get the beds mulched (and the strawberries for that matter) my future self will give my current self some big fat kudos. But, then again, I’m not in it for the praise, especially from that guy.

Tractor Chores

I managed to get out on the tractor early this morning and get the field mowed. Well, not all of the field, but most of it. I managed to get stuck twice and had to use the bucket to pull myself out of the mud. Maybe 15% of the ten acres is not cut–too wet and mucky for this tractor.

My little boy came with me while I was out there. He wanted to come along so he sat on my lap. The tractor was at the edge of the field, close to the house, and needed to be filled with gas. I decided to drive it around to the garage, where the 5-gallon talk sat. Five gallons of diesel isn’t easy to lug too far. So he sat on my lap and steered us over there.

I was impressed with his steering ability. Maybe all that ride-on car/truck riding really has paid some dividends. He got us around the house without running into the clothesline or the wood pile or the car. I had to guide him a couple of times but really, only a couple of times. If he could reach the peddles he could almost do it himself.

I also turned the compost pile again and we hauled the old fence posts away. We took down a rotting fence this spring and all the posts were hiding, rotting, in the tall grass. We loaded the bucket and I drove them to the far edge of the field. I stacked them in hopes that some birds or other critters will shack out there while they take a few years to crumble. Maybe that is a bad idea and we will attract foxes who will eat our future chickens, but we have no real plans to get chickens so we are safe for now.

I am thinking we can get one more job in before we give the machine back. We have some dents in our driveway that could use some filling; fill them, smooth them, pack them and maybe we will not have to bump our way down the driveway so much. It shouldn’t take long.

I need to get the wood in still and I need to get cracking on making that pie. I should have enough time this afternoon to get to the latter. Maybe I can do some stacking while the pie bakes. But only if I get to it.