When Life Gives You Lemons and Turnips…

when life gives you lemonsIf you’ve lived long enough, you’ll discover that life is often unfair. You could do everything right and still end up where you didn’t want to be.

In poker analogy, it’s being dealt a bad hand or even worse, being dealt a good hand and even getting a good flop and turn but then getting the worse possible river card. It happens in poker and it happens in life.

Does Bad Luck Exist?

Throughout history, many people have been forced into superstitious rituals because they believe the bad things happening to them is due to bad luck. Do a search online and you’ll find people who 100% believe bad luck exists even when there’s no scientific proof of it. You’ll see people doing things like wearing the same sock or carrying around some good luck charm to help attract good luck into their life or at least keep bad luck away.

There is a show called, The Secret of Luck, Darren Brown tested the theory of luck where he convinced a town that a particular statue of a dog gave those who touched it good luck. Sure enough, those really believed the lie, in general, experienced more “good luck” than usual. Here’s the full video:

The reality is, both bad things and good things happen to us all. Those who believe they are struck with bad luck will tend to focus on all of the things that has gone wrong in their life. They are less likely to take advantage of good opportunities and in general, will feel like they aren’t in control of their destiny.

Then there are those who believe they are lucky and tend to focus on the positive aspects of their life. They can get a flat tire and believe they’re lucky because they avoided an accident. Much of what we get from life depends on what we look for because either way, you’ll be getting a bit of both.

You Determine Your Luck

In essence, we create our own luck, whether it be good or bad. If you believe you have bad luck, you’ll tend to expect things not to work out for you. When you do this, you’ll tend to not really give your full effort out of the fear of wasting your time, money, and energy because you’re certain things will go end up going bad.

If you study highly successful people, you’ll discover that most of them had their fair share of bad luck as well. It’s been said that the average millionaire has gone bankrupt at least once. Most people viewing a millionaire would say they are lucky but had they seen them at their worse, they’d think the millionaire was an unfortunate person.

The difference is in what part of the life story you focus on. Anyone’s life can seem bad if you only focus on the bad parts and we ALL have bad parts sprinkled throughout our life’s story.

Who Has It Worse?

Have you ever had those debates about who has it worse with anyone? Many people do this habitually as if whoever has it worse wins the sympathy prize. It’s a pointless habit and doesn’t really do anything positive for your life.

Sure, some have it way better than others and you can sit there and give me reasons as to why you have it way worse than most people but that’s not going to help improve your situation. All it will do is confirm your self fulfilling prophecy about how bad your life is.

So you have a couple of choices when it comes to being handed a lemon in life. You could either spend your life complaining about it and finding evidence to back up your beliefs so you can say words like, “See?” and “I told you so” and “I knew it”… or you can learn to focus on what’s good in your life and work hard to make it better.

You’ll still have “bad” things happen to you but instead of whining about it, learn to effectively deal with it by not letting those events slow you down for too long. Besides, you never know when “bad” things will eventually turn out to be something good.


There’s a story of a farmer who lived with his son. One day, as the son was riding on their horse, he fell off and broke his leg. Villagers stopped by and said how bad it was for his to have that happen. The father simply replied, “Maybe.”

A few weeks later, war broke out and every eligible person was forced into a losing war which meant they would surely die. Since the son had a broken leg, he didn’t have to go. The villagers stopped by and said how lucky the son was to have broken his leg. The father replied by again saying, “Maybe.”

Some time afterward, their horse ran away, causing them to lose production on the farm. Again, the villagers stopped by and said how bad it was for this to happen. “Maybe”, the father replied once again.

A few days later, the horse returned to the farm but it wasn’t alone. He brought back with it several other horses which the farmer and his son tamed. Yet again, the villagers stopped by and said how lucky it was for this to happen. And yet again, the father replied, “Maybe.”


The lesson here is you just never know when “bad” luck might end up being “good” luck and vice versa. It’s probably better to just see things as they are, an event, and not place a label on them that can cause you to focus on anything remotely bad in your life.

Remember, we tend to get what we focus on so focus on the good and believe in your ability to control the general direction of your life. When challenges come up, deal with them, learn from them, and then move on.

So when life gives you lemons, as the saying goes, make lemonade with it! I’ll end with this quote:

“Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.” – Unknown

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