Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Am Lucky!

This month of November marked as my fifth year of being an in-house lawyer, and third year in my current position as an international legal manager for a corporation sole with global corporate affiliates. Since I was then only in my late twenties, landing an in-house counsel job is considered to be a lucky streak in the sense most people use the word. As with other awards and commendations I received – among others, passing the Philippine Bar Examination in 1998, and consequently becoming one of the youngest female lawyers in the country, graduating as class valedictorian in the college of Law, cum laude in the University, and becoming a recipient of several awards and scholastic achievements since my elementary days, I remember family, friends and colleagues coming to me extending that heartfelt word of “congratulation” and a pat on the back saying I am either- intelligent, smart, hard working, diligent and lucky. Then, I don’t like to be called lucky! For me, luck connotes an unpredictable attribute, something beyond my control to change or reverse, such that those who are blessed with luck is raised to the heights, while plunging those whom it eludes to the depths of self-pity and defeat .

My view has changed after reading the book “How to Attract Good Luck” by A.H.Z Carr. The book was a Christmas gift by my friend Doris in 2003 and it has helped me ever since. As I learned the true nature of luck, I made good luck a constant factor in any project I wish to bring to fruition and I constantly take positive steps to attract luck in my life. LUCKY becomes my favorite word!

At the outset, the book differentiates “chance” and “luck” – (words I used to think were closely related, and often used interchangeably), but according to Mr. Carr actually contains a world of difference and are only distant cousins. “Chance” is defined as the “unknown, or unidentified, cause of events not subject to calculation” while “luck” is the effect of “chance” in our lives.

Mr. Carr’s book is replete with various lucky people’s actual experiences that left me no doubt that good luck can be induced. It lies within our power to influence, not chance, certainly, but our relation to chance. And by that very fact, none of us can escape a measure of responsibility for our own luck. I began to see that in order to become known as one of the lucky ones, we need to develop a number of characteristics which have an especially close relationship to the workings of chance: zest and generosity, with their power to attract luck into our lives; alertness, self-knowledge, judgment, self-respect, and intuition – all of high value in the recognition of a favorable chances; and qualities of especial significance in our responses to chance - energy, confidence, and determination – imagination – and the courage, sense of proportion, and integrity that grow out of faith.

Yes, I am lucky! And as I continue to develop the qualities that relate to luck, I can well be on the way to a higher luck-potential. Taking Mr. Carr’s advised I pick for a beginning in luck-development a promising characteristic which is merely underdeveloped rather than one in which I am gravely deficient. As an example, I focused my energy in developing zest and generosity which acted as magnets and attracted favorable chances of becoming an in-house and corporate counsel at a fairly young age.

To be zestful is to have within our minds a secret and exhaustible fountain of youth, which could be attained either through a more productive reading, a hobby, a new experience or the broadening of our human contacts, according to Mr. Carr.

I was visiting my friend, Atty. Jon, at his office in Makati sometime in November 2003. I soon learned that he had been Almeda, Inc.’s in house-counsel for barely two years at that time (and would soon be leaving the company once appointed as a Fiscal). When I was ushered into his office, he was having a discussion with boss Edwin. The heated discussion revolves around eminent domain (a concept in law that the State can take a private property for public use). Jon introduced me to boss Edwin as his law school classmate and class valedictorian. That introduction invited interest in the eyes of boss Edwin. He then asked me of my thoughts on the eminent domain issue which I readily obliged. I do not remember now what I have said but that started my career in the company as its In-House Corporate and Litigation Counsel! Taking Mr. Carr’s word, here’s a quick completion of luck-cycle: the zestful me –the stranger boss Edwin – the favorable chance – the stroke of luck.

My generous spirit, on the other hand, paved the way for my present position. In June 2005, at my friend Brian’s request, I agreed to meet Karen and Wendy, American law students who were then doing internship in my current company’s Hongkong’s office and visiting the Philippines. The information their boss Jim Pollock learned from them brought some kind of a déjà vu to him of my name and positive description! (Deja vu is the feeling that one has seen or heard something before). Jim asked if I have time to do something for the Church’s corporation. I instinctively said yes even though I did not know exactly what he would possibly ask me do. But whatever that was I was very willing to do it, at no cost. About a month later, I got a phone call from Jim’s office and the rest is history. So again, quoting from Mr. Carr, “Selfishness invites bad luck, while our warm-spirited behavior tends to pull lucky chances toward us”.

“How to Attract Good Luck” is an excellent book that can serve as a blueprint for everyone. It did for me! I’ll learn that – any person can attract luck with almost mathematical certainty. It is simply a matter of one’s personality – an adequate self-image, a capacity for hard work, a careful self-evaluation and certain other attributes can change a negative and failure prone personality to a positive one that admits no defeat and recognizes that good luck is not an accident.

As I have seen from the book of Mr. Carr, the influence of chance on our luck is profoundly shaped by our own actions. Now that I have written about the book “How to Attract Good Luck” as an entry to My Favorite Book contest is in itself a chance. So to me --- good luck!

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