Issue #14 - Why You Shouldn’t Use the Word Luck in a Compliment

Growth Mindset Jan 4, 2023

Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world.

Whether you're looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you're in the right place! Each week, with just a few minutes of reading, I aim to expand your awareness through a quote and a piece of content that made me go hmm...

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Thought-Provoking Quote:

"There is no substitute for hard work." - Thomas A. Edison

I am sure every one of you has that one friend who shreds the guitar...

For me, that friend is Daz, my partner in crime at Looking Glass Education.

A little while back, he blew my mind with his incredibly talented guitar playing.

After seeing him move effortlessly over the fretboard, I remarked, "You're so talented. I wish I could do that."

He immediately stopped me and said, "You can! You just have to practice... a lot."

It was at that moment that I realized I too often fall into the trap of not only romanticizing people's accomplishments, but I put down my own capabilities.

For my entire life, when I've watched someone fascinate me,  I've responded by saying:

"Dang, you're so lucky that you can do that."

"I wish I could do that,"

"Boy, you are gifted!"

This response does two things:

First, I have discredited the effort that the person in front of me has put in to master such a skill by simply attributing it to luck, talent or giftedness.

And second, I am not giving myself credit for my own capabilities. Many times through hard work and perseverance, I, too, can do whatever it is that inspires me. It's just whether or not that is something I want to dedicate my time to.

Along these same lines...

Insightful Content which made me go, hmm...

I was rock climbing in Red Rocks, Nevada, a few years back. My friends and I were looking to rent bouldering pads from the local climbing store, and by chance, the shop owner mentioned that Alex Honnold was talking at a nearby climbing gym that night.

With Alex being one of my idols, we immediately purchased tickets and eagerly awaited the talk.

For those unfamiliar with Alex, all you need to know is that if a monkey and Matthew McConaughey had children, that would be Alex. A truly genuine individual with an aptitude for climbing like no other.

You could say I have a bit of a man crush.

Anyways that's enough about me...

This awe-inspiring talk was Alex's practice attempt at his upcoming Ted Talk in which he would delve into his 3000ft free-solo ascent up El Capitan in Yosemite.

As everyone was mesmerized by Alex's explanation about how he climbed to climb El Capitan with no ropes, someone shouted out, "you're just lucky you didn't die."

Paraphrasing Honnold, he replied, "This project has been on my mind for years. I have climbed this route so often that it's become second nature. So much so that I know every foot and hand sequence up the entire route."

When people call him gifted, lucky or talented, they disregard the immense work he has put into achieving this incomprehensible feat.

They're ignoring the fact that everything in his life, up until that point, has prepared him for that climb. His success wasn't about luck. Luck, if anything, was the last thing involved in free soloing. As most soloists would say:

"If you're relying on luck, you're doing it wrong."

Just like Daz's abrupt reply, Alex's response had the same effect. It made me realize that, for the most part, these inspiring events don't simply happen. They are the product of dedication, hard work and perseverance.

To keep this post short, the next time someone does something that inspires you, rather than shrugging it off as luck, compliment them for their hard work, then break down their accomplishment. What did it take for that individual to achieve whatever they accomplished?

And ask yourself, with the amount of time and energy needed to achieve such a goal, is it something that I want to do?

By analyzing what it takes to achieve such a feat, not only do we have more of an appreciation for others, but we put into perspective what it takes to achieve such an inspiring feat.

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. I hope you found it insightful.

I always welcome feedback and thoughts. So, do not hesitate to respond to the newsletter email, comment on the article or reach out via Twitter.


The future is bright!