Many participants were interested by the theme of luck and chance raised in the Learning Histories. One reader raised an interesting question asking: "What is the difference between luck and chance?"
I suppose reading that question one might respond by saying luck is simply chance that has gone the right way. This sounds very passive though - like the toss of a coin one stands by and waits to see how it lands.
Let's call this 'passive luck'? What's clear from the learning histories is there is a more pro-active kind of luck in there that has, as the old saying goes, been made by the protagonists. For example in the Merton case, when he bumped into his old colleague at the vets, Adrian could have as easily reminisced about the old times instead of seeking a contact that would help him progress the Merton rule. In the Southampton History, when Mike found himself in a cafe in Italy with a couple of EU delegates, he could've enjoyed his coffee and talked about the cultural differences between the UK and Italy instead of asking about funding for the geothermal well. And so on. Chance moments in the Histories have sometimes been converted quite actively into luck.
Let's call this 'active luck' - where the link to how the luck was made can be identified. To make it more complicated it seems that one (wo)man's 'passive luck' can be made by another's 'active luck'. Take the example of the Fuel study tour in Barnsley. Dick recalls that as a crucial piece of luck. When you read Robin's perspective however you see just how much work he put in behind the scenes to make that piece of luck happen.
The idea of 'active luck' doesn't preclude the existence of 'passive luck' as chance that just went my way. However the argument does make me more cautious about the notion of benevolent chance existing in isolation from determined, visionary actors right across the system.
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