Chance or Destiny, God or Fate?
Jim Pinto poem, December 2010
All my life, I’ve had what many people call “luck”. I consider it simply a combination of hard work and positive thinking, always being open for good possibilities and being bold enough to pursue the plethora of prospects that life always presents.
When bad things happen, I try not to waste energy on complaining, but focus on correcting the problem quickly. When I find something good, I seldom consider waiting for better things to come along. I simply hit the ball as hard as I can. And most often, it works! People call it “luck” – but it isn’t. It’s finding what you want and going for it!
I’ve been brewing on this subject for some time. When I explain that positive thinking always generates good “luck”, some consider my ideas “woo-woo” (as one friend calls them). As a rational engineer, I’ve kept looking for solid, scientific arguments regarding how and why this happens, but with no rational results.
On this subject, there is very little tangible proof – till you dig specifically for it. The very act of researching with an open mind yields lots of ideas. Rather than wait and continue to flail around further, I decided to take the leap and write this essay.
I know that simply presenting the ideas rationally will itself yield further opportunities for growth and success. In addition, I recognize and am grateful that many friends and blog-readers will surely come forward with their own specific views, which will help expand our mutual understandings.
Positive Mental Attitude
Positive mental attitude (PMA) is the philosophy that having an optimistic disposition in every situation in one's life attracts positive changes and increases achievement. Positive people continue to seek, find and execute ways to win, or find a desirable outcome, regardless of the circumstances. (1)
Many studies have been done regarding PMA and its effects on health. It’s well recognized that people with serious illnesses have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery if they have PMA. (2)
Critics of PMA argue that it is simply a by-product of success. Cynics accuse positive people of wishful thinking. My own view is that positive people are quite capable of understanding cynical reality. They just change their mindset to experience that reality from a different perspective. In my view, it certainly helps and never hurts.
A positive mental attitude does indeed change reality by allowing people to act in an entirely different way, getting entirely different results from the people around them and from themselves.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote that the basic needs of humans must be met (e.g. food, shelter, warmth, security, sense of belongingness) before a person can achieve self-actualization – the need to be good, to be fully alive and to find meaning in life. (3)
Maslow described self-actualization as a high-level need: "What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization. It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."
Abraham Maslow showed that those who live lives that are different from their true nature and capabilities are less likely to be happy than those whose goals and lives match. For example, inherent potential may never be realized if energy is focused on attaining basic needs.
In my own view, the true power of positive thinking is generated by rising above the stress of dull and repetitive activities, to ascend above anger and anxiety – simply to choose to be happy and feel the pleasure, joy and exhilaration of simply being alive. This is self-actualization. (4)
I have discussed the mechanics of the results generated by the power of positive thinking with my good friend and fellow-engineer, Dick Morley, the inventor of the industrial programmable controller. Dick has a large mind that seems to work in several dimensions at once. When he has no answer, the Morley response is usually, “Does not compute”.
Dick sent me references to former NASA computer scientist and now homeopathic practitioner, Dr. Amy Lansky’s 2011 book, Active Consciousness: Awakening the Power Within. (5) This generated some resonance with me in my search for a rational way to describe the power of positive thinking. Here are some of Amy Lansky’s ideas that trigger my thinking in the direction of explaining what I was grappling with.
At each moment of time – the Now – each one of us stands at the gateway to an infinite number of possible futures. This is the Choice Point. Some of these futures are more likely to occur than others. If a person does nothing, one of the probable futures will emerge. As conscious beings, each of us has the ability to affect how the future unfolds. This is experienced as the sensation of free will.
One of the ways to exert a force upon this unfolding is to use explicit actions – making choices. People have the ability to navigate and influence the unfolding of their own lives. Some have experienced that beliefs and intentions do affect choices and the results in profound ways.
At each point in time we make choices. Should we walk left or right? Will we work to help our body to repair itself, or simply allow it to deteriorate further? At each instant, we choose one from a potentially infinite number of possible futures that lie before us. And while it may seem that only one future is chosen at each point in time, perhaps all of the other possible choices and futures exist too.
Amy Lansky suggests that our many possible lives would look like a vast branching tree of possibilities in another dimension – she theorizes that this could be a fourth dimension. She considers that the power of active consciousness – what she calls the C-force – is generated by Consciousness, Choice and Creativity. A person’s use of the C-force can influence not only their own life, but can also affect the unfolding of the greater reality around them. As a result, a much greater collective reality is generated. So, everyone may have creative potential that they can utilize if they wish.
People who believe in God consider active consciousness a prayer. They believe that God hears them and grant what they ask for.
Using Active Consciousness
Harnessing the power of active consciousness will enable a person to become active creators of their own destiny. They can enable an unlikely combination of otherwise mundane events to occur so that a desired goal comes about.
Here’s a simple example: let’s say that you are seeking a good parking spot where parking spots are hard to find. You’d get the perfect spot if everything connects correctly: the route you choose to drive, the timing of the lights as you are driving, the person who parked in the spot before you is just leaving, and so on. By feeling the power of active consciousness, this could happen. My friend, to whom I have tried many, many times to demonstrate this, calls me incredibly lucky. They cannot believe that anything else is involved. Says Amy Lansky: “When you have the right vibe, it's not a coincidence”. My cynical friend responds, “Show me the data”.
Some consider that luck (good or bad) comes from God. But, surely, God cannot be bothered with finding parking spots.
Here’s another example: You would like to find a new job with better pay. You’ve been stuck in a rut for a long time and can’t figure out how to leave your current job situation. Your company decides to lay you off. The same week, a friend calls you unexpectedly to tells you about an acquaintance who needs to hire someone with your exact qualifications. This is the ideal job, which you get easily. Was it just a lucky coincidence? Or was it a blessing as the result of your prayers?
This is all about possibilities and probabilities. Even if something is improbable, it can still be possible. And if it’s possible, the force of active consciousness can play a part in making it happen. Believers consider it a gift from God. Cynics dismiss it as luck.
No Scientific Explanations
All this is just conjecture. I myself have been feeling the power of “active consciousness” for several years now, and cannot explain it in any meaningful way. Cynics (they call themselves “realists”) shrug it off as luck.
Amy Lansky explains it as the power of “active consciousness”. She refers to four-dimensional and quantum mechanics to generate examples regarding which make her theories plausible. I have a Masters degree in Physics, and her references seem plausible to me. But still, this just shows that such things are possible, with no direct proof. The examples are all simply anecdotal. There is no direct linkage to any cause.
So, what to do next? I’ll appreciate your own views and experience to help me in this quest. Tell me frankly and directly – am I simply engaging in wishful thinking? Am I deluding myself into thinking that these experiences are not just luck?
Please share our discussion by responding to these questions directly via the blog.
- Do you “feel” lucky? Or, unlucky?
- When good things happen, is it something more than luck?
- Can you explain why some people are always lucky? Others not?
- Are good things that happen blessings from God?
- Do you practice positive thinking? Does it always help you?
- Do you feel self-actualized? Do you know anyone who is self-actualized?
- Does the concept of Active Consciousness make sense to you?
- Do you feel in charge of your own destiny?
- The Power of Motivated Positive Thinking: https://goo.gl/zYnWJy
- Positive thinking improves physical & emotional health: http://goo.gl/4g4x8F
- Maslow's Needs Hierarchy: http://goo.gl/RbrQai
- The Theory of Self-Actualization: https://goo.gl/alrjNr
- The Power of Active Consciousness: http://goo.gl/it7E4V
- Dr. Amy Lansky – Active Consciousness website: http://goo.gl/1VUjD7
- Dr. Amy Lansky Video: https://goo.gl/dqrn7j
Carlsbad, CA. USA
25 August 2015