Chapter Ten: Deciding 13 October
What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways.
|Can Good Fortune Be Forecasted?|
The young millennial staffer emailed me: he could not finish the assignment because his hardware would not let him connect to the software because he took the weekend off and was travelling with a spotty Internet connection, etc., and etc., and etc.. MEGO (My Eyes Glazed Over) at his high volume of words and low volume of work.
Truth is short. Excuses are long. The young man may or may not have been competent. He should have planned for a back-up plan for an Internet connection failure. (And how did he email me anyway…?)
Make the decision to plan. I can’t stop the rain, but I can plan to carry an umbrella.
Wesley Branch Rickey was General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953. He couldn’t stop baseball pitchers from beaning batters. But he could limit the damage by directing his team to wear helmets at the plate. Branch said, “Luck is the residue of design.”
Is luck something that can be managed? Can it be planned and organized, led and controlled?
The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, said, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” (The quip is often attributed to golfer Ben Hogan and movie-maker Samuel Goldwyn.)
Are sports and entertainment and luck uniquely American? Arthur C. Brooks, president of American Enterprise Institute, would say that diligence makes luck and that this is a decision. He addresses the question in his book, The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise, “how do people get ahead?”
For forty years, between 60 and 70 percent of Americans have said “hard work,” while never more than 16 percent have said “lucky breaks.”
This faith in the effectiveness of hard work is distinctly American.
In the World Values Survey conducted between 2005 and 2007, researchers asked people in fifty-four countries whether hard work brings success or whether success is more a matter of luck and connections.
Americans were more likely than people in the developed countries to say success comes from hard work. For example, [Americans] were more than twice as likely as the French to give this response.
This may be why many believe America is—for now—an aspirational society, while Europe is more animated by envy.
The singer Bono summed it up evocatively: “In Ireland people have an interesting attitude to success; they look down on it. In America, you look up at …the mansion on the hill and say, ‘One day…that could be me.’
In Ireland, they look up at the mansion and go, ‘One day I’m gonna get that [bast@ard].”
Wesley Branch Rickey served as a Major in World War 1 on the Western Front and was General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1943 to 1950. He was also a devout Follower of Jesus Christ who recruited another strong Christian to play on his team, #42, Jackie Robinson.
How to get lucky? Decide to work hard, to plan and find the right staff for your team.
What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. Job 22:28