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What Is Luck? - Machiavelli speculated that Luck is responsible for half our successes and half our failures.

Enjoy the little poem below. 


Luck is the impact of all unpredictable events on your life and happiness.




What Is Luck?


Luck is the shuffle of the cards.

Luck is bird shit in your hair.


Luck is the Lotto machine picking the numbers

that you have been playing every week for five years

– making you a millionaire.

Luck is the Lotto machine picking your numbers

– on the only day in five years that you forgot to buy your ticket.


Luck is inadvertently running a stop sign at sixty miles per hour

– when there is no cop around to write you a citation.

Luck is inadvertently running a stop sign at sixty miles per hour

– hitting a school bus filled with fourth-graders broadside.


Luck is the difference between dropping a glass

and seeing it shatter into a million splinters

– or catching it intact and unharmed on the first bounce.



Sometimes Luck deals you a very bad hand. A terrible thing can happen in your life for no good reason. You didn’t deserve it. Nothing you did caused it to happen. The loss to you is immense and irreparable. The pain you feel seems unbearable. People around you go on with their happy lives without regard to your pain. Nothing like what happened to you happens to them. The injustice of it makes your blood boil. You can’t think of anything else but your pain.


Your choices are to let your life spiral out of control or you can salvage whatever is left to you and pull yourself back together. Remember that the pain is all in your mind. Your brain, in response to the emotional trauma you have suffered, has tipped into a very distressed state. In your anguish, you can’t imagine any other response to your situation but grief over your losses. Allow yourself a few days or even weeks to accept what has happened.


At some point, you must stop looking at the past and begin looking toward the future. Continued suffering on your part does not help anything. Imagine the best possible life that you can yet achieve, given your situation. Start working toward it. Use your brain for something other than feeling sad. If your heart is still beating, then you have a future. Make the best of things. What would be the point of doing anything else?


I once knew a woman who told me a classic story. She married a medical student when she was young. She was a loyal and dutiful wife who dropped out of college to work so that he could stay in school. She worked to support him while he went through his internship. After he began his medical practice, she became pregnant with one child and soon with another, so college for her was forgotten. Unfortunately, when her children were still in elementary school, he left her for a very pretty younger nurse. He divorced her, agreed to the minimal child support imposed by the Texas courts, and began a new family. She worked as a secretary to support herself and provide for her children what his skimpy child support did not.

I found that being in her presence was unbearable. No matter how any conversation began, it ended with her talking about what a rat he was, what a whore is wife was, what kind of car the whore drove, what kind of clothes the whore bought, what kind of private schools his little bastards went to, how he forgot her children’s birthdays, how he bought her children cheap Christmas presents while his other family got expensive ones, and how he bought a second house at the lake while she lived in an apartment. The house at the lake was her biggest complaint. I soon found reasons not to spend time with her, and I assume she is telling the same story now to someone else. The purpose of her life became the telling of her story.


Chapter 25





Download or read online: Machiavelli’s Prince in English translation by W. K. Rowling


Read a brief summary of Machiavelli’s life and works,

written by W. K. Rowling as the Introduction to his translation of The Prince


A readable summary of Machiavelli’s Prince can be found at






The Modern Prince:

Better Living Through Machiavellianism


Click to read a couple of sample chapters. Click here to read a couple of chapters


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