Why Bad Luck is Good

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Can bad luck be a good thing? Comedian Adam Carolla, best-selling author and the world's most popular podcaster, well understands this riddle. He's lived it. Using examples from his own life, he explains that learning to deal with adversity is a key to success. Thus, everybody needs some bad luck: it's how you prepare yourself for the curve balls life throws you.

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Here’s how I look at life:

You’re unlucky. I’m unlucky. We’re all unlucky.

But don’t worry, that’s a good thing. Let me make my point.

You’re not going to win the lottery, you’re not going to win in Vegas, you may get crabs. Well, you bring that on yourself. Actually, they don’t want me to work blue so I’ll keep it straight.

Now, people say to me all the time, “Adam, what do you mean you’re not lucky. Look at your house, look at your cars, look at your life, look at your wife, look at everything that you have!”

That’s not luck. That’s me. I earned that.

And if I thought I was lucky, I’d probably still be sitting in my one bedroom apartment in North Hollywood on my futon scratching lottery tickets.

See, that’s just it. I know I’m unlucky. I’ve bet on the last five Super Bowls and lost. As a matter of fact, I lost four in a row and said I’m not betting this last year because I lose every year. And Jimmy Kimmel called me and said, “Who do you like in the Super Bowl.” And I said, “I’m not betting Jimmy.” And he said, “You have to bet, so I know how to bet, because I’m going to bet against you -- because you’re that unlucky.”

And, I lost. Thus, he won. It’s always nice when a rich guy gets richer.

People say, “Oh! Well if you hadn’t met Jimmy Kimmel, you wouldn’t have got into radio. So, that was lucky!” I’ll grant you this -- we’re all lucky not to be born still born, or to have been clipped by a cattle truck when we were roller blading, or not stepped in a bear trap when we were five years old and devoured by hyenas. (That’s how my cousin went.)

But the point is, yes we’re all lucky to be standing on this planet without a horrible disease. And I understand there are certain people that are super unlucky and have things like tumors and bronchitis and that sort of thing. We dodged that bullet.

So, your dad could own a Ferrari dealership. That would put you at the top. Or you could be born without your limbs. That would put you on the bottom. But then there’s the middle, and the middle is where 99% of us reside.

And what I’m trying to tell you is don’t count on luck. Rely on hard work.

Look at life as a prize fight, and you’ve got to get up and do road work every morning. And you’ve got to work that heavy bag, and you’ve got to work that speed bag, and you’ve got to work that double-ended bag. (What’s a double-ended bag? That’s that one in the middle. It’s got the bungee cord on each side. It’s cool. Anyway, I digress.)

Why? Because if you don’t train, you’ll go into that ring of life and get your ass whooped. And I don’t want to see that happen to you.

So, let’s not rely on Vegas, let’s not rely on the lottery. Let’s rely on hard work.

“But Adam, you met Jimmy Kimmel, you’re so lucky. He made your career.”

No, no, no. Jimmy did not come to my house. I went to Jimmy’s work. And I couldn’t get into it because it was a radio station and it was locked up. And I came back the next morning and I got in. And I found him and made my own luck.

Figure if it ever comes down to a coin toss, if your resume is on a desk and there’s someone else’s resume on the desk -- and they’re both exactly equal -- they’re going to pick the other guy’s resume every time. Look at life that way. Thus, your resume must be twice as good as the guy you’re going against.

Now that you guys are feeling like you’re born under a dark cloud, let’s get out there and take over the world.

I’m Adam Carolla for Prager University.

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