The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Today I was laying on the grass under the sun and I found myself searching for a four-leaf clover. I didn’t find a four-leaf clover, as most of us never do – the success rate is about 1 in 10,000 but my search for nature’s luck did make me consider what luck I have of my own.
Recently, there has been a narrative of the ‘lucky girl’, also known as ‘lucky girl syndrome’ floating around Tik Tok and other social media platforms. Conforming to a kind of new age enlightenment, it has become trendy to appropriate a new spirituality. Manifestations and affirmations are everyone’s new best friend and it takes a quick search to find a new ‘friend’ on Tik Tok who has a simple step guide on how to access your personal luck. I think this trend has an undeniable positive outlook, it roots in a desire to see through the hurt and pain in our world. After Covid, especially, the world was struck with a new vulnerability, an inability to assert agency in our lives. We have tried to create this agency in our mindsets and outlooks. Almost paradoxically, we have convinced ourselves that we can create agency by believing that not all of our actions are within our immediate control, hence the narrative of the ‘lucky girl’.
At first, I bought into this mindset. Anything positive that would happen to me was a reflection of my luck, and it felt good. It felt like the universe was solving all of my problems. The universe had my back when the coffee line was surprisingly short and I wouldn’t be late for my class, or when the seat next to me on an 11-hour flight was empty. I had almost convinced myself that I had a magical fairy godmother following me around, sprinkling her fairy dust and clouding my vision.
In the past few weeks, I have been struggling with self-confidence, especially in academic environments. On top of this, despite all of the hard work and time I put into my school work, I have a self-deprecating tendency to put all of my success down to my personal luck. I have been stuck in an almost purgatory, between blaming myself for not feeling confident in my work and believing that the universe will help me to succeed like it always does. In other words, I have been walking around telling myself that I am dumb whilst expecting to achieve. You could say that I have adopted the ‘lucky girl’ narrative too religiously. I believed that all of my achievements were not down to my own intelligence or resilience, in my mind they were simply because I was lucky. Obviously, there are nuances to this, luck is on most occasions linked to privilege, which dictates who can experience certain types of luck. However, being aware of your privilege and the luck you can experience from this is not the same as completely diminishing your own intelligence. We need to place boundaries on the ‘lucky girl’ narrative. Not everything is simply an act of the universe’s goodwill. I also have trouble with the notion of making our own luck. Although I do think you can have more agency in making success, this is once again nuanced and problematic because not everyone has the same access to privilege. My point still stands though, to make your own luck takes away all of your authority.
I tend to reach for metaphors to explain my thoughts, it helps more to run with a metaphor than to actually spell out direct thoughts. So, whilst laying on the grass, I looked to my left, towards a sprouting blossom tree. The pink petals against the light oak branch were calling to be used as a metaphor, well not literally. But, I was looking at this tree and it struck me that its flowers were not going to blossom just out of luck. You could say that the universe, or whichever entity you appoint your spirituality in has a plan for the tree and that it has to experience just the right conditions to survive. Still, this tree has adapted over hundreds of years to grow in the way it does today. It has been planted, it has adapted, and most importantly, it is not going to grow identically to the adjacent trees. In other words, a whole lot more than luck goes into the growth of a pretty pink blossom tree and like this tree, we cannot just rely on luck to grow and function healthily in the world.
The ‘lucky girl’ narrative is fun, it feels comforting to believe that the little happy things in life are meant for us, but it can be dangerous when taken too far. If finding a four-leaf clover is roughly a 1 in 10,000 chance then these lucky moments are just that, but those other 10,000 moments can be in our control. I think that 2023 should be the year that we affirm our own powers, that we take a hold of our agency and we do not leave our lives up to chance. There is already so much out of our control. We should feel powerful in what we can do, and realise when to value our efforts. Don’t leave it up to luck, you are worth more than that.