Earlier this year I wrote 3 blogs using one of my favourite movie mantras, ‘Luck is not a factor, Hope is not a strategy, Fear is not an option, and after writing them I decided to try to stop using the word ‘luck’ altogether. It has been quite an enlightening experience.
We use the word ‘luck’ frequently in our modern vocabulary. My dictionary gives the definition as – An unusual and unpredictable phenomenon which causes a favourable outcome – but we use it so often now that it has almost lost its meaning.
“I’m so lucky I met you” says Barry (with fingers crossed behind his back). “No, actually, we both went out one night with our friends, we were single and in the same place, at the same time and I liked the way you smiled at me” I chose you. No luck involved.
“Lucky I didn’t fall off that ladder” says the Senior Caretaker (in his West Country burr). Well no. You carried out a risk assessment. The ladder has had its annual check, you’ve been ladder trained and your assistant was holding it at the bottom. So when one of your hands missed a rung, you had 2 other points of contact and therefore did not fall. No luck involved.
“Good luck in your exam” Barry says to DJ. “I’ve revised, don’t need luck” he replies (at 13 he is man of few words).
As a consequence, and on what I think is a further plus side, if we are going to cut ‘luck’ out then we must also, inevitably, cut out ‘bad luck’.
So, for example, It’s not ‘bad luck’ that you slipped on the ice. A section has been salted and marked and you chose not to walk in it.
It’s not bad luck that your car won’t start, you haven’t put any petrol in it recently. (Oops!)
So, what I’m trying to say is, as every SBM knows, the other mantra also holds true. ‘Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail.’ I have no doubt that, in our work leading the support functions in a School or Trust, preparation is key. Our role is all about Risk Assessment, Training, Maintenance, and Care…Luck is not a factor.
Try not using the word ‘luck’ yourself, see if it makes you think differently… and prepare more!