When you have the opportunity of good fortune , do you attribute your good fortune to luck? Or do you agree with Seneca, a 1st century roman philosopher, who said, “Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.” I am with Seneca. I believe that the good things in our lives come to us by intent, opportunity, action, and commitment.
Let’s explore this concept as it relates to health. People often say that individuals with good health are lucky and those who are unhealthy are unlucky. “She’s unlucky because she is obese.” “ He is unlucky because he has cancer.” “She is unlucky because she has diabetes. “ Many health conditions are a result of lifestyle choices. The opportunity is HEALTH. Have you prepared for it? This conversation embraces the concept of epigenetics. Epigenetics is the idea that environmental factors can alter the way are genes are expressed. I will use an aspect of my health to help express the point. Genetically I have a predisposition to heart disease. It’s part of my blueprint passed on to me by my father. My father, grandfather and great grandfather all had heart attacks at a very young age. With this information I may choose to think, “Oh – I am so unlucky that I was dealt the genetic card of cardiovascular disease”. Instead I have chosen to prepare for the opportunity through lifestyle choices. With the information of epigenetics I know that the lifestyle choices I make can trigger or not trigger the expression of these genes. If I ate fatty foods, did not workout and did not manage stress I likely would trigger the expression of the gene(s) related to cardiovascular disease. I eat well, move, and think well for many reasons and one of those reasons is to create an environment that supports a healthy cardiovascular system. I would be LUCKY if I made poor lifestyle choices and abated cardiovascular disease. I am not lucky because I have a healthy heart. I prepared for the opportunity of good health.
I encourage you to ponder Seneca’s statement as you examine your life. Are there areas where you have given in to “luck thinking”. Take another look at these areas with the lens of opportunity and preparation. Are there steps you can take to better prepare for a better opportunity?