COLUMN: The Luck Of Opportunity
Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013 03:12
I am a little embarrassed to tell other photographers that my luck was all I had without prior experience or formal education. I tell my friends 51 percent of the quality comes from pure luck. I have been lucky to catch up with photography so quickly that I had the privilege to be the Photo Editor at The Heights. Appreciating all the amazing responses to my photos, I once again acknowledge how much I’m blessed with what I have beyond my photography skills.
Looking back, I believe there is no way I was able to pick up the skill out of blue without the help of an “invisible hand.” The concept or the event of luck can be defined as opportunity, as it either can be given by the invisible hand or earned by personal pursuit of desire. Let’s say I was innately talented with photography—as many have told me. Nevertheless, if I hadn’t put some time and practice into photography, I wouldn’t be as good as I am now. I was lucky enough to buy a camera, lucky enough to have the right moments, and lucky enough to meet the right people from photography. I saw the opportunities and took the opportunities as far as I could go with them.
At my favorite cafe in Germany, my best American friend from Wyoming, Nick, and I often had dorky discussions. One of the memorable conversations was about what luck is. Non-religious at the time, I had been thinking a lot about whose hand the invisible hand is. I asked questions like why we met at all from different parts of the globe and why at this particular moment. One by one, we knocked down levels of questions and traced back to the origin of “all-of-these,” or the universe.
I thought about the very first substance related to the big bang, with my limited knowledge in physics. Knowing that quarks spin in a certain direction, I had to ask what gave the first spin. Whose individual hand gave that little push in that particular vector? Nick kept answering: “s—t just happened.”
“It just happened” isn’t convincing, however, as we tend to give meanings to subjects and ideas. And we believe those meanings are the universal truth—if not reachable, our objective is to approach the nearest of it.
The reason I’ve been tracing the origin is the emptiness I find behind great achievements. If I deny the existence of the invisible hand, to whom do I thank for everything I experience? Without gratitude, the meanings and the values of opportunities easily diminish over time as one’s life decays. I believe every encounter with everyone has a meaning, as I learn something from each one of people I meet.
Namely—and empirically—believing in the coincidence of occurrence seems a little naive to me. I just can’t believe that everything happened completely coincidentally from the beginning of the universe to our present, because time also seems to converge into the present and near future, even after I consider that the time bends in space. If there is no meaning in occurrence and opportunity in the cosmos, I don’t see the point of the pursuit of happiness.
Some may say I’m being biased with this (sort of) religious view, but please bear with me. If you can’t credit my approach in the invisible hand, consider this a philosophical approach. I had to imply the question of religion as the final step to explain my direction of gratitude.
As this is my last column for The Heights, I tried to re-evaluate my opportunities and what I have done with them. Many times, my opportunities have been given, and I tried my best to earn the full meaning from them. I would like to believe that my opportunities—my life in the global community—have had some meanings. That being said, I’ll never forget the Jesuit education I had at Boston College when I take action.