March 28, 2022
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“I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five'? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punk?”

Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry” actually reminds us that there is no such thing as luck, it’s really just about the numbers. “Did he fire six shots or only five?”

None of us actually believe in voodoo or rabbits’ feet, or horseshoes over doorways, now, do we? We’re just way too modern and sophisticated for all that. Or are we?

54% of Ontario adults bought a lottery ticket in the past 12 months. 14% buy a ticket at least once a week. The economically underprivileged are disproportionately represented – the unlucky, if you like. But if you just do the math, consider the money that goes in, the cost of administration, the slice that goes to charities, you realize that lotteries are simply a foolishness tax.

In Canada, your chances of being struck by lightning are less than one in a million. And that’s just math, not luck. But you can improve your “luck” by not taking refuge under a tall, solitary tree in a thunderstorm.

What about those days when you get slapped in the face by one bad thing after another? Or those marvelous days when it seems the planets are all aligned for you? Well, the truth is that for all of humanity for all of time, taken as an average, such days are just the tails of the bell curve, and your turn simply came round. Just math.

So, what about “lucky” people? We all know folks who just seem to go from victory to victory, golden moment to golden moment. We also know some of the other kind, too.

Well, again, it’s mostly math. Out of the nearly forty million of us here in Canada, most of us will have ordinary days most of the time, but a few will have an inordinate amount of sunshine, while the same number will have an inordinate amount of rain. It isn’t luck, it’s just numbers. Somebody has to live out on the tails of the bell curve, both ends.

But that’s not the end of the story. It’s not the hand you are dealt, it’s what you do with the hand you are dealt.

You can improve your “luck” by being wise – not standing under the tall, solitary tree in an electrical storm, for example.

And you can sit in a dark corner and suck your thumb, or you can be an overcomer. 

Mark Black, for example, is a six time gold medallist and four time marathon runner. Remarkable enough, but he achieved these things after being one of the few heart-lung transplant recipients in the world. Mark, for one, teaches how to turn adversity into victory.

And then there’s Alvin Law who plays drum and trombone. With his feet, because he was born with no arms. He also feeds and grooms himself. With his feet. And he spends his days teaching us to be overcomers.

I need people like this in my life whenever I want to sit in the corner and whimper, as if my luck were bad. I need to ask myself what kind of luck did they have? In reality, it’s not about luck, it’s just about what life dishes up to you in the course of things, and more critically, how you face it.


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Can I help you or your organization? Contact me at or at 613-862-3489. 

Friday Briefing Archives


Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again... said a shadow at the window... and you must be lucky to avoid the wolf every time...

But the wolf... the wolf only needs enough luck to find you once.

Emily Carroll, 'Through The Woods"

What I Do

I am an explainer, that is, I deconstruct complexity and re-frame it in understandable terms.

In particular, I explain the secrets of professional success-- things I wish I had known as a beginner lawyer in 1981, but which I had to learn by trial and error (and the occasional epiphany).

Simple yet profound, these secrets are really just specific applications of common-sense life lessons. They are the keys to true professional satisfaction and financial success.

Call me at 613-862-3489 or e-mail me at

© Norman Bowley 2022, all rights reserved.
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