By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
A woman recently won $758 million, the biggest grand prize of a single lottery ticket in U.S. history. Some lottery losers wonder if they will ever be that lucky!
If you think of luck in terms of dollars, you are missing the point. Most people like me, who haven’t and will never win the lottery, are in fact quite lucky, without knowing it. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, called it “ignorance luck.”
Last year, I witnessed a hit-and-run accident on South King Street. The victim could have been me. The real victim, who used a walker, was on the other side of the road. She and I were crossing the road in the opposite direction, simultaneously. When she sped up (and the car sped too and hit her), I suddenly slowed down and gazed at her for no particular reason. That delay of a few seconds saved me from being run over by the car. The victim was crying in pain, but suffered no major physical injuries. We were both lucky. If she didn’t have a walker, the car might have caused a more serious injury.
If you often pray in church and temples, asking God’s favor to make you rich, get a good job, get a promotion, get that business deal or that favorable stock trade, you are similar to those praying to win the lotto. The attempt is to advance your financial wellbeing.
Why not give thanks to God for the blessings He has given you, not necessarily in the financial sense, but in other things, such as a new baby, health, and happiness? Stop comparing yourself to the lotto jackpot winner or your friends who won airplane tickets, a lump sum of cash, or big prizes like television sets through raffle drawings. I used to say my aunt is lucky, as she usually wins at mahjong. Is she? What good will it do when her legs get weaker due to long hours of sitting during the game?
We have all been guilty of taking life fortunes for granted. It’s time to appreciate the blessings already present in your life.
How do you recognize luck?
Timing is a critical factor in luck. Take my recent vacation to Europe. We had no idea that Seattle would suffer record-breaking heat. Nor did we know that it would be the perfect time to visit the British Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben.
My husband and I left Seattle without sufficient planning because we were too busy. I was working on the Asian Weekly and Chinese Post’s 35th anniversary dinner celebrations.
As soon as we returned to Seattle, it was announced that Big Ben would be shut down for four years for repairs. How lucky we were to hear the clock bells toll several times as we stayed across the other side of the river. How amazing that we even picked the right location for our hotel!
Before we arrived, the weather forecast called for rain in all our destinations: London, Norway, and Hamburg.
To our delight, it rained for only two days of our 17-day trip. The rain fell in the morning, before we ventured outside. There was thunder and pouring rain while we dined inside a restaurant. By the time we finished dinner, the rain stopped as if we had waved a magic wand for it to cease.
And one more unexpected tale. In London, I was almost a victim of pickpocketing. A young girl unzipped my backpack and dipped her hand into it, while we were strolling on the crowded River Thames. Luckily, my husband caught her in time.
She couldn’t steal anything that quickly because my two wallets with credit cards and ID cards were under a notepad and book, which I normally don’t carry. I threw them in the last minute! Luck, I guess. Sure, the money and the lost items could be replaced, but still, such an episode could spoil anyone’s vacation.
Sheryl Sandberg, author, activist, and Facebook’s chief operating officer, said, “Happiness is made of small moments of joy” each day. My point is, examine your life and the people around you. Observe even the little things which can enhance your day, make you smile, and be thankful. Choose to experience joy. If you are able to acknowledge that life is good, even in the face of adversity, you are blessed with a remarkable gift.
Can you grow your luck?
Luck is defined as preparation meeting opportunity. After publishing the Asian Weekly for 35 years with dedication and passion, I am just waiting for opportunities. Fate intervenes again and again, and luck keeps appearing, not always in cash, but in opportunities to serve and give back, and open doors for other people.
In the past two years, interesting events have occurred. When something transpires, it rewards me with unexpected benefits. Then, there are people I’ve encountered, whom I would never imagine meeting. Luck always finds me, through thick and thin, pain and joy.
For instance, I won the “Cultural Ambassador – Individual” category in the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards, beating a big name, Maestro Ludovic Morlot of Seattle Symphony Orchestra on Aug. 31.
His contribution is several times more powerful than mine, and his name is globally-known. I am a nobody — a little publisher of a small media company — I am not an artist. And I am a fan of Morlot.
I was so sure I wouldn’t win that I didn’t even prepare a speech. I told very few people and requested them not to bring flowers. You can understand how shocked I was when Cassie Chinn, Wing Luke Asian Museum deputy director and a member of the Seattle Arts Commission, announced my name as the winner.
Luck made others see my qualifications differently. One supporter said, “You have been doing the Asian Weekly for 35 years,” meaning our history impressed the judges.
“The printed word is the oldest form of written art,” said Kwan Wong, who was present at the awards ceremony at the Seattle Center.
Did I program my luck? Yes, anyone can. I am not smart, but my team and I earn it through very hard work. I don’t really have a long-term plan, but I have a goal. For us, it’s week after week for 35 years straight. We give you our best — bringing you the relevant stories and what’s going on in the community.
Nobody, including myself, could predict that I would be in the news business for so long. And that is my special fortune.
May you receive life’s meaningful fortune — many sweet little blessings and magical moments, even in days of unbearable hardship.
The Seattle Arts Commission hired Nao Yamamoto to create the glass awards that were handed out at the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Awards. Publisher Assunta Ng’s award was inspired by Lake Union. The others were inspired by Green Lake, Golden Gardens Park, and Lake Washington. A Seattle resident who was born in Japan, Yamamoto is only 29. She said each piece took her two weeks to create. She received a Masters of Fine Arts from California State University, San Bernardino, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tama Art University, in Tokyo, specializing in glass art. ■
Assunta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This story was updated 9/8 to correct the spelling of Cassie Chinn’s name.