Good Luck or Good Management?
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
A playlet that considers and compares luck and good management.
Preparation and materials
- You will need students to play the following characters in the play: Speaker 1, Speaker 2, Lucky, Curious, Unlucky, Player 1, Player 2 and Happy. The students will need time to practise before the assembly.
- You will also need a coin, a recording of birdsong (available at: http://www.british-birdsongs.uk/), three sets of muddy sports gear and a three-seater bench (chairs placed in a row is sufficient).
Lucky is at one side of the stage, scrabbling around on the floor, searching for something.
Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 enter and address the assembly.
Speaker 1: Are you a lucky person or an unlucky person? Do you even believe in the concept of luck?
Speaker 2: Have you ever heard this old proverb: ‘No one is luckier than the person who believes in luck’?
Speaker 1: That’s an interesting saying. But what exactly is luck? And more importantly - how do you get it?
Here's another quote about it: ‘Luck is a matter of preparation meeting up with opportunity.’ So do lucky things only happen when you’ve made it possible for them to happen to you? Is good luck better described as good management?
Speaker 2: Let’s try to figure out what luck is and what the differences are between lucky and unlucky people.
Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 move away as Curious enters and notices Lucky on the floor.
Curious: What are you doing?
Lucky: Looking for a coin. I’ve just dropped a pound coin and I can’t find it! I need that money. It must be here somewhere! (optimistically)
Curious: Don’t panic! It can’t have gone far. Where exactly did you drop it?
Lucky: Over there.
Lucky points to the other side of the stage - far away. Curious is even more curious.
Curious: So why are you looking for it here?
Lucky: (casually) It’s a bit dark over there, so I thought I’d look here, where the light is better.
Curious: Let me get this straight. You dropped a pound coin way over there, but you’re searching for it here because the light is better. Are you nuts?
Lucky, unperturbed, continues the methodical search.
Lucky: No point searching in the dark. I’d never find it.
Curious: But that doesn’t make any sense. If you dropped it over there, that’s where you should look. There’s no way you’ll find it here.
Lucky suddenly finds the coin and yells happily.
Lucky: Here it is!
Lucky shows the coin to Curious, who is astonished.
Lucky: I knew I’d find it if I searched long enough.
Curious tries to rationalize the situation.
Curious: It must have rolled over here somehow. You’re lucky.
Lucky: Yes - I’m always lucky.
Curious: Always lucky? How come?
Lucky: I don’t know. Just luck, I guess!
Lucky heads off stage, followed by a dumbfounded Curious.
Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 return to the centre of the stage.
Speaker 1: Well, that certainly looks like pure good luck.
Speaker 2: We’d better get some more evidence - from someone who’s not so lucky.
Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 move away as three exhausted and depressed sportspeople (Unlucky, Player 1 and Player 2) take centre stage after a tough match. They are in football or netball gear.
Unlucky: That was a really important match and I’ve gone and lost it for the whole team. I could kick myself. No - you do it for me.
Player 1: Don’t be so tough on yourself - we came away with a draw.
Unlucky: I could have made it a win if I hadn’t ruined that final shot!
Player 2: The scores were level all the way through. We always knew they were going to be a hard team to beat.
Unlucky: But I came so close and then blew it.
Player 1: Just a bit of bad luck that you didn't score at the end.
Unlucky: Bad luck? It’s a disaster. Just seconds before the final whistle and that golden opportunity opened up for me to score the winning point. I was moving in for the kill and I knew I had a good chance as long as I didn’t lose concentration. Then, suddenly, I was aware of their defender on my tail and I completely lost control of the ball! Missed by a mile! I felt such a fool!
Speaker 2: You did your best. Missing that shot could have happened to anyone.
Unlucky: I knew before I got here that this was going to be an unlucky day for me.
Unlucky, Player 1 and Player 2 exit forlornly.
Speaker 2: Ooooh, the disappointment!
Speaker 1: But was it really anything to do with luck - good or bad? Maybe that player needs to spend more time practising instead of moaning about being unlucky.
Speaker 2: Well, I’m sure s/he needs to change her/his attitude. Did you hear what s/he said? ‘I knew before I got here that this was going to be an unlucky day for me.’ That’s what’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. S/he was expecting bad luck and, guess what, s/he managed to get it.
Speaker 1: There have been scientific studies on this subject and, if you examine the statistics carefully, you'll find that unlucky people aren’t unlucky all the time.
Speaker 2: And the opposite is true, too. Lucky people are sometimes unlucky.
Speaker 1: According to the research, your attitude has a lot to do with being lucky. Apparently, it’s scientifically proven that if you expect good things to happen to you, they do - more often than if you expect bad things to happen.
Speaker 2: So positive thinking can make you luckier.
Speaker 1: You can literally make your own luck if you try. Let’s do an experiment . . .
Play a sound effect of birds singing.
Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 move to the side of the stage as Lucky and Unlucky sit on either side of a three-seater park bench, leaving a space in the middle.
Speaker 1: Here come Lucky and Unlucky again . . . Let’s see how their day is progressing.
Lucky looks perky and happy, but Unlucky looks miserable and depressed.
Lucky decides to be friendly to Unlucky.
Lucky: Isn’t it a beautiful day! The park is looking lovely, don’t you think?
Unlucky grunts some reply that could be a 'yes' or a 'no', but is definitely a signal that s/he is not interested in chatting to anyone.
Lucky isn't worried by this reaction and simply continues to enjoy the park.
Happy enters and crosses in front of Lucky and Unlucky.
Directly in front of the park bench, but a short distance away, Happy spots a pound coin on the ground and picks it up. Happy sees Lucky and Unlucky and has an idea that the coin must belong to one of them. Happy wonders which one s/he should speak to first.
Speaker 2: Oh, s/he’s found a coin on the ground. S/he’s thinking it must belong to one of the people on the bench. But which one will s/he offer it to first?
Speaker 1: Is s/he going to speak to the happy, smiling person or to the grouchy-looking, depressed person?
Happy speaks to Lucky.
Happy: Excuse me. Have you lost some money?
Lucky is grateful while Unlucky, distracted, hardly even notices what is going on.
Lucky: Oh, it's probably mine. I’m always dropping coins. I must have a hole in my pocket. Thank you - that’s very nice of you. Most people would have kept it for themselves.
Happy: I thought about it, but when I saw your smiling face, I couldn’t do anything but return it to its rightful owner.
Lucky: What a nice thing to say! As a reward for returning my money, let me buy you an ice cream from that van over there.
Happy: Thanks. That would be great.
Smiling, Happy and Lucky head off to get some ice creams.
Speaker 1: You see? Instant friendship. And all because of a smile!
Unlucky stands up and digs into her/his trouser pocket for some change.
Speaker 2: Unlucky fancies an ice cream, too. But what’s happening?
Speaker 1: Looks like s/he’s lost something.
Unlucky is now frantically searching her/his pocket without any luck! And then it dawns on her/him where her/his money has gone.
Unlucky: Hey! Stop! That’s my money! Come back!
Unlucky races off stage, hoping to retrieve her/his pound coin from Lucky and Happy.
Speaker 1: Something tells me s/he’ll be very lucky to get her/his money back . . . not until s/he learns to smile occasionally.
Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 now address the audience directly.
Speaker 1: How you interact with people is very important if you want to be lucky. Smile and put a bit of effort into getting on with them.
Speaker 2: Forgive their shortcomings - and with a bit of luck, they might forgive yours.
Speaker 1: Try some ‘good luck’ experiments of your own and see what happens.
Speaker 2: You might discover that good luck is more a matter of good management . . . of yourself.
Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 leave the stage.
Time for reflection
Help us to realize that the way we treat other people is important.
Help us to smile and aim to make those around us happy.
Help us to realize that we need to make an effort in our relationships and in our everyday lives.