Wherever my family goes, whether it is the mall, Starbucks, or the local sandwich shop, we always seem to get the best parking spot and find ourselves at the front of what is soon to be a very long line. This occurrence has been coined by my father as “The Arcos Luck,” but we both know that it is something else. I believe that there is no such thing as luck. People think that they have been blessed with “luck”, but it is something deeper. If closer observation of apparent good fortune reveals hard work, sacrifice, and smart decisions.
To prove my theory, I must start at the roots of my family, more precisely, my father’s side. My father, Carlos Alberto Arcos, was born in the humble town of Ambato, Ecuador. His father, whom we all refer to as Lelo, worked as a teacher, while studying medical science. However, Lelo knew that a better life was in America, and worked his hardest to secure a future in the Land of Opportunity. Lelo set up a sponsor, and had to painfully leave his wife and four children behind. My Lelo also had to give up his medical studies to work in the clothing industry. He finally raised enough money to send his anxious wife and children over and later pay my father’s college tuition. My Lelo’s Ecuadorian friends said that he was lucky to live in the Land of the Free and have so many luxuries. However, my Lelo knew that it was not luck that had brought him to America, but the back-breaking labor, meticulous planning, and painful sacrifices he endured.
Now, it is time to fast forward many years later. My father had flourished at the University of California, Los Angeles, passing the Bar Exam to become a lawyer. My father took the risk of a small business, taking in several cases regarding estate planning. Later, my father met Maura Elder. Love bloomed, and they later got married and had me, their only child. A wonderful family now holds “The Arcos Luck”. My father’s friends tell him how lucky he is to have a small business and nice family, and he just smiles because we don’t believe in luck.
Because we create our own luck, the best thing for people to do is to not sit back. If one wants to be lucky, that person must be able to stand up and grab life by the horns. Whether it may be paying the mortgage early, working overtime one night, or skipping the cake, work and dedication will lead to good fortune, and the “Arcos Luck” is an excellent example.
The phenomenon in the parking lot and restaurant is really just my father’s passion to arrive early and beat the crowd. Through this belief, my father has taught me that my destiny is controlled solely by my own work, not this so called “luck”. When people tell me I am the luckiest man alive, I just roll my eyes, because I believe that good fortune only comes to those who seek it and work for it. When I look at my home, schedule, and school, well, I feel like the busiest man alive.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.