Making our luck

Might we make our own luck? Not mine. Not yours. But ours?

Growing up, I thought the kids from rich families were the lucky ones. I imagined all the extra opportunities for success they’d have. Friends in high places and the belief they belong there, intergenerational money to pay away the day-to-day pressures. 

I was seeing at a personal and family level what we’ve always known as a people. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini. Success is not the work of an individual, but the result of many. 

Researchers have studied this in environments of equally talented individuals. One environment or community was set up with better ‘luck’, resulting in more connections and opportunities. The other community had the same level of talented individuals but less ‘ environmental luck’. Luck here means things like family members who know good employers. Friends in the industry and the pathways they can open through random conversations. The kind of serendipity and luck that might connect the dots to success for those wealthy kids in and around their families. 

The study showed that good luck of growing up with opportunities nearby plays a major part in a person’s success. The more ‘lucky events’ a person receives from their environment, the more successful they were. Spontaneous connections and relationships, kōrero in established networks, trusted referrals that hand someone warmly to an opportunity – these lucky events contribute more in determining their success than how talented a person is. 

Not the work of an individual, but the result of many.

What I didn’t realise growing up, was how lucky we are here in our little rohe/district and the confederation of Ātiawa, Raukawa, Toa. We are the rich family. Richer in connections and nearby opportunities than any one family or individual. Even if we don’t always see them. 

Most people I talk to who I think are successful (loving their life and happy) say the same thing when I ask how they got there. At some point in their life, someone showed them that the thing they love now was possible for them. Usually, they helped them on their way.

Recently, we said goodbye to two of our rangatahi who didn’t think life itself was possible for them.

I cried and called out for my lucky mates, the ones spending their time trying to get from good to great as individuals. 

With so many of our young people far from being OK, how can we share what we already know about just being good, about being OK to live?

Can I better contribute to our success, instead of spending that time on more for me? 

The result of many, and a result for many. That’s what it means to be people, iwi, community, us. And if our rangatahi don’t want to be a part of the world we’ve created, how can any of us say we’re a success? 

So I’m calling out again. 

Because we are the lucky ones. But we need to act on that luck and turn it into opportunity. We are the rich family. We’ve already found our tribe. Rich in connections, a confederation, but we need to act more on that connection and we need to do it today, so our rangatahi want to be here tomorrow. 

Are you lucky enough to be doing what you love? 

Would you help our young people connect the dots to success and make your luck ours as a community?

Could you share how you found your success, the result of many, back with our young people so they know what’s possible for them?

Let me know here if you’d like to lend a hand – I’m still working on what this might be, but one thing it will need is people.

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