In the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” the character Gust Avrakotos, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, tells the story of a village boy who is given a horse. Everyone in the village says, “How wonderful, the boy got a horse,” everyone except the Zen master who just says, “We’ll see.” Two years later, the boy falls from the horse and breaks his leg. Everyone in the village says, “How terrible.” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.” Then war breaks out and all the young men in the village must go and fight…all, except the boy because his leg is so messed up. Everyone in the village says, “How wonderful.” To which the Zen master says…well, I think you know what the Zen master says.
The point is, it’s not always an either/or situation. It depends on the circumstances. Thomas Jefferson, who famously said, “The harder I work the luckier I get,” clearly wasn’t talking about winning the Mega Millions lottery. And then, there was Wright Bryan, who was lucky enough to get a seat on an airplane when no one else could. A case of being in the right place at the right time for sure, but what Mr. Bryan did as a result of his luck seems to give credence to the words of Louis Pasteur who famously is said to have proclaimed that “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” It’s a luck versus good type of story in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.