THEY SAID IT, I LEARNED FROM IT

“A sign of good luck in some countries”

Luck shows up at the strangest times. Sometimes good, other times bad, it can strike in both the most meaningful and in the most trivial aspects of life. Our reaction to either good fortune or misadventure is paramount to our success. Luck is invariably coming. Are we prepared?

Photo by Olivia Spink on Unsplash

Hi, my name is Craig and I have time anxiety. For some reason (feel free to analyze me and make suggestions), I feel compelled to be prompt. If you see me at the airport, stop me for a conversation. Chances are, we’ll meet with plenty of time before the scheduled departure of my flight.

I’ve found myself waking up in the middle of the night (on far too many occasions) to check that the phone is still on and the alarm is correctly set. It’s not about being early. It’s about not being late. There is a HUGE difference (at least in my mind). This aversion to being late has left me with a complete — almost natural — distrust of all types of public transportation.

Two colleagues and I were making a sales call several years ago. Rather than fight suburban Washington, DC traffic (the only thing less reliable than public transportation) and worry about getting stuck somewhere on the Beltway, we took the DC Metro to our destination in Northern Virginia. We arrived early, or rather, in plenty of time not to be late.

We ordered and ate lunch with time to spare on a beautiful spring day. The sidewalks were busy with people, but not overly crowded. The building location for our appointment was in sight. We spent a few minutes under a roadside tree for a quick final review of this prospective client’s needs. Time was still on our side. The conversation was relaxed and upbeat.

The bird sitting in the tree above me clearly had plans to ruin the casual discussion.

The aim was perfect.

A headshot.

Center top.

Although it was my first time taking such a direct hit, I immediately knew what had happened. The instant reaction in such cases (just so you’re prepared) is to lean forward, and lean forward I did. The droppings that didn’t get stuck in my hair fell in a dramatic plop on my right dress shoe. I had previously thought pterodactyls were extinct; however, only something both large and prehistoric could produce what hit me.

Anxious to be out of the line of fire and as far away from my contaminated head and shoe as possible, my colleagues each took a quick step backward. They, too, leaned forward. The laughter had them bending over in delight.

Gasping for air between chortles, one of them wittingly and quickly commented, “You know, that’s a sign of good luck in some countries.” Pausing for comedic effect, he added, “just not this one.” Being in a group of three is always a perfect set-up: one (in this case, me) is at the mercy of the other two when things like this happen.

At this point, I wasn’t sure what was worse — the hair full of droppings or the clock ticking toward the meeting start time. The trip up the elevator was thankfully a quick one. I made a beeline for the men’s room and went to work cleaning off the “luck”.

Water.

Paper towels.

More water.

More paper towels.

And so on.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a towel-free bathroom. The thought of using a hand dryer in that situation is beyond comical.

Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

By the time I was finished wiping my hair with the final round of paper towels, static electricity had it standing straight up. My suit was covered with a fine white film of paper towel dust. Glancing at my watch, I was on the borderline of being late. My mind raced back to the business at hand.

The meeting kicked off with an introduction I’ve never used before. I spoke about luck — both good and bad — and how there are measures much more important than luck when choosing a consulting partner. Somehow, I managed to make it through the meeting without touching the top of my head (the urge to do so nearly derailed every thought I had).

Misfortune is a constant factor in life. We never know when an unexpected drop (or bucket) of “luck” is going to interrupt our best-laid plans. What we do know is that we must have plans; otherwise, we’ll find that regardless of the country we’re in, our luck will consistently be bad.

Written by Craig Halsey

They said it, I learned from it is a compilation of lessons learned from the things we’ve heard people say over the course of many lifetimes. It’s amazing what you can learn when you listen. Watch for They Said it, I learned from it every Friday in The Weekly Hodl. It’s perfect reading while you enjoy your second breakfast. Sign up today.

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