Economic Multipliers (21)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Luck is an economic multiplier.


I have always felt lucky. Many times I’ve felt lucky and unlucky at the same time.

I was born in the United States: that alone guaranteed me a free public education. I went to state subsidized colleges at a time when it was still possible to go without taking on debt that could cover buying a whole house (some students today end up with more than $100,000 in student loans). I grew up in what I considered to be a wealthy community. Many people tell me that is not so but I look at the larger items people throw away and what doesn’t get picked up before the garbage guys show up and know that the needs in my community are VERY different than the needs in many other parts of the world (and even the United States). I was surrounded by tools and resources and people who knew how to use them. That is what I call ‘starter luck’ … luck that previous generations provided FOR me and all the individuals in my age bracket who grew up in this community.

Because I had ‘starter luck,’ I always thought I had some obligation to help make other people ‘lucky’ (one of the reasons I decided to put up these pages on economic multipliers).

Luck can come in a LOT of different forms … and sometimes you have to learn how to see it to know that it is there. Your ‘starter luck’ is all the people and things around you that help sustain and support you in POSITIVE ways while you pursue the ‘rest’ of your ‘luck.’ If you have access to the Internet and can read this page, I consider that you have an infinite amount of luck available … if you learn how to use it well.

For instance, is this ‘luck?:’ A teenager (William Kamkwamba) LOST the opportunity to go to school in Malawi (2002, not enough money) but still wanted an education. He found a book in a library about windmills and built one. He learned enough about electricity so that he could combine bicycle parts, wire, his windmill and some car batteries to provide basic power for his family and some neighbors. His efforts CREATED an opportunity for him to go to engineering school.

Many people would say that it was ‘work’ – not ‘luck’ – that got him his educational opportunity … and I agree … up to a point. The book about windmills had to be at a library, he had to have access to the materials, etc., etc., etc. Access to knowledge and materials creates ‘luck’ for motivated people … which is why it’s so important to ‘see’ and ‘build’ ‘starter luck’ in communities. (Book: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: Creating Currents Of Electricity And Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer).

I am always trying to make the young people in my life ‘lucky’ (but realize that most often I probably just seem annoying and odd). They are at an age when ‘relationships’ are front and center and they’re trying to figure out how to negotiate the ins and outs. Over the years, I’ve searched for couples that I consider ‘lucky’ – people who’ve come toward the end of their lives and can say: ‘I wouldn’t have done much different … and I am SO ‘lucky’ that I took the journey through my life with THIS person.’ That is what I want for the young people in my life: I can’t think of anything more ‘lucky’ than a supportive spouse.

Now, I don’t like leaving things to chance and have some perhaps ‘quirky’ beliefs. I ran across two books that I recommended to the young people in my life that cover the ‘process’ of sex and relationships (that reflect good health and good communication). I let them know that I never expected them to talk to me about their sex lives but I did expect that if they ever got into a relationship, they should never have sex with anyone they could not talk to about ALL of the items pertaining to it covered in these two books. I believe that if their physical relationships are healthy (and they’ve developed good communication skills related to those), everything else that they will have to figure out in their relationships (jobs, kids, finances, house cleaning, etc.) will be easy. The good communication they learn in the most intimate and personal areas of their lives will carry over into all the others.

Since a huge part of ‘luck’ is knowing WHERE to look so you can get things right the first time, the books I recommended were: The World’s Greatest Treasury of Health Care Secrets (2003) (Note: I have not reviewed later editions and got this one through Interlibrary Loan) and What You Didn’t Learn from Your Parents about Sex by Matthew Paul Turner (2006) (Note: The second book has a Christian base but don’t let that deter you if you are of a different faith: Most people in all religions like to have healthy, happy, ‘lucky’ physical and personal relationships.)

I myself was looking for ‘luck’ when I read the ‘… Health Care Secrets’ book. I try to take care of my health but what if there was some ‘secret’ I didn’t know? The other book was an opportunistic find: I decided to peruse a section in the library to find out what the librarians were setting aside for kids. I believe most kids get their information from other kids: They should be getting it from doctors and knowledgeable adults. There probably are thousands of other books out there that are equally good: I’ll leave it to the young people in my life to review them all.

‘Luck’ is a pretty simple concept:

  • ‘Luck’ is WANTING to come to the end of your life saying: ‘I wouldn’t have done much different … and I am SO ‘lucky’ that I took the journey through my life with THIS person.’

  • ‘Luck’ is WANTING to create ‘starter luck’ for future generations and helping do it.

  • ‘Luck’ is BUILDING a windmill or anything else that creates wealth for you or your community.

  • ‘Luck’ is about creating ‘luck.’

Now, there are people in the world who like to destroy ‘luck.’ Because I grew up in a nation where I recognized that as a GIFT to me, previous generations provided a lot of ‘starter luck,’ I have never quite understood why people can be so eager to destroy opportunities for others (and ultimately themselves and future generations):

  • Perhaps it’s because they never realized just how lucky they are.

  • Perhaps it’s because they never learned how to find and use ‘luck.’

  • Perhaps it’s because they never understood that ‘luck’ builds upon ‘luck.’

After all, the biggest part of ‘luck’ is knowing that it’s there.