One night, coming home from work, you get into a car accident. It wasn’t your fault. You were going through an intersection, when some idiot on a cell phone, runs a red and STRIKES. They crunch your car. Your day is ruined. Your week is probably ruined. Depending on the severity of the hit, maybe your whole life could be altered from that one moment.
Now, think of everything you did on this day, that led you to that very singular moment in time, when you got hit.
You got up that day. Got ready for work. Went to work. Had to eat a late lunch because your boss called an emergency meeting because of an event that happened in Singapore. That late lunch forced you to stay late. On the way out of the office, you stop and talk to a girl that you have been trying to get a date with. You flirt with her. You decide to stop at the bathroom before you go home. On the way out, a security guard talks to you about the Yankees. And you talk to him for a few seconds before you head out for the night.
What if you slept late that day? Or woke up early? What if that event never happened in Singapore? Or your boss didn’t think it was emergency meeting material? What if you ordered in instead of going out? What if you didn’t talk to that girl? What if you talked to her, but left on that high note after you made her laugh? Or what if you just asked her out already? What if you didn’t go the bathroom and held it until you got home? What if you didn’t talk about the Yankees with that security guard for ten seconds?
Ten seconds. That extra sentence played a part in you getting into an accident. Everything you did that day, if done minutes, or maybe even seconds faster or slower, you probably don’t get into that accident.
You can back up even further. Maybe last night you stayed out late and if you were sharper today, you would have been faster today. Maybe if you didn’t stay out so late two days ago, you would have been able to get a better night’s sleep last night. Maybe if you took that job in Chicago 3 years ago. Or went to college in Boston 5 years ago, you would have never been in this city.
You get my point…the decisions you have made your whole life lead you to this single moment. And if you get into an accident, any decision you made up until that point led you to that. It’s kind of mind boggling to think about.
Now, think of every day when you don’t get into a major accident. Think of all those decisions you made that led you to avoid that accident that never happened. Think of the emergency meeting that led you to stay late. Think of the few minutes you talked to that girl. Or the few seconds that you talked to that security guard.
Billions of potential accidents avoided.
You lament over the one accident though. You wallow in that misery. You pick the one day out of a decade that something bad happens to you, to use as your prime example that you are just that unlucky. Yet you fail to recognize, every day, just how lucky, just how protected, and just how blessed your life is. You completely ignore how the world moves and spins and shakes, every other day, just to keep you safe.
Does that seem unlucky?