The snow was falling heavily outside and I had settled on the couch to binge watch Netflix for the rest of the evening when my dad called.
My parents, who live more than an hour from the city, were on their way downtown to see my uncle in the hospital. He had just been transferred to the city's major trauma center after an accident his local hospital wasn't equipped to handle.
He had backed his tractor into an ice-covered pond while clearing his neighbor's driveway. The tractor had fallen through the ice, submerged, yet he managed to climb on top of the seat and crawl onto the ice to escape the freezing water.
By the time rescue workers got to him, his core body temperature had dropped dramatically.
He now has made a full recovery – without the loss of any limbs or function. Everyone called him lucky.
I think he survived because he chose to. Instead of succumbing to the icy waters, he took action and fought to save himself. He trusted his instincts; he persevered.
That's certainly not to say that you can skirt death simply by positive thinking. But in some cases, a strong willpower can buoy your chances.
In many ways, luck is something you create for yourself.
How often do we hear about those lucky ones? The ones who seem to get the great job, the great friends and family, the great life? Those people certainly didn't acquire those assets by luck; they no doubt worked hard – despite what life threw at them – to get what they wanted.
Everyone experiences tragedies and hardships, and some have very difficult roads in life. Yet, despite all of that, there are people who don't give up and who remain positive. They don't become a victim because they don't let themselves.
And those are the people I want having my back at work. I want to work in a culture in which everyone feels lucky to work there and lucky to be alive. I think we all do. Feeling lucky is a very different concept than being lucky.
Imagine there's a fire in a factory. A group of workers get trapped in a room. As the smoke pours in and the temperature rises, do you want someone who gives up because he believes the world is out to get him, or do you want someone who uses every last ounce of his strength to pry that door open and escape the flame's fiery grasp?
I don't know how to create a workforce of people who fully appreciate and grasp life for all that it is, but I do know that some people just get it – whether they realize it or not. And those people are the ones who make me feel lucky to know them, to work alongside them, to be their acquaintance.
Granted, my uncle never should have been plowing in that snowstorm and certainly not near an unguarded pond.
But my uncle has lived in his house for years and I'm assuming has plowed his neighbor's driveway for just as long. I'm sure the danger in performing this routine task never even occurred to him.
Because we often don't think about the danger. And as much as we prepare and safeguard, unfortunate things will happen.
The trick is in making sure that when bad things happen, there are people on board who take action and minimize damage, making everyone feel lucky to be part of team that didn't let things get worse. The trick is in having people who don't give up when the icy waters creep in.