Monday, July 4, 2011

Today's fortune: July 4, 2011

Today's fortune: Good luck is the result of good planning.

When I began My Daily Fortune over six months ago, I knew luck would be a major factor in the completion of the project. And, truly, luck has been a driving force guiding me through a year with 365 fortunes.

But this fortune is right, too: good luck is the result of good planning. Before the new year, I set out a very specific plan for how to make the project work: I was going to open one fortune cookie every morning, post the fortune and the lucky numbers on the blog, and then spend the day interpreting how each fortune cookie guided my life. Then, at night, I would write about it.

It was a simple plan, but I knew it could work if I stuck to the routine. And I've done that - for more than half a year now.

And what I've learned during that half a year is that fortune cookies are all about luck. In fact, I was glancing through some of my old fortunes today and some of them even specifically address luck. The one I received on April 15 said, "Your lucky number for this week is nine." The April 28 fortune said "Today will be lucky and memorable for you." Back on February 14, the fortune told me "You will be fortunate in everything you put your hands on." Those specifically address luck for luck's sake.

But others - in fact, most fortunes, I would say - details the planning necessary to have luck. The January 14 fortune was "Your magnetic personality will draw people to you this month." On February 16, I was told "Your respect for others will be your ticket to success." And on April 16, I learned that "A simple kindness today will soon bring you unexpected rewards."

I was thinking about all this today when I turned on the television and flipped over to ESPN. Every year on July 4, ESPN broadcasts the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, held every year in Coney Island, New York. For the fifth year in a row, American eater and world record holder Joey Chestnut won the Mustard Yellow Belt and the grand prize by eating 62 hot dogs in ten minutes.

A lot of people would say Chestnut has been lucky to win that competition five years in a row. And those people would be right. But others would say Joey's talent, technique and planning have been the keys to victory. They're right, too.

Joey is a very talented... um, athlete? And his skills as a competitive eater have led him to good fortune.

Luck and planning go hand in hand, and on this Independence Day, there's no better example of that than Joey Chestnut, a true American gastrological hero.