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The Nova Effect: Why Your Bad Luck Could Actually Be Good Luck
And how this can change your life
“Nova, no, get back here.”, Eric screams as Nova breaks free of his leash and bounds after a rat he spots. Eric gives chase but he’s no match for Nova and in relentless pursuit of the rat, the dog loses his way.
Devastated, Eric puts up signs, enlists the help of his friends and neighbors, and lodges a request at the police station. The days go by but there’s no sign of Nova.
One morning, when Eric’s lost all hope, he answers the door to find Nova and a woman. Eric breaks down, crushes Nova in a bear hug, and profusely thanks the woman, Vanessa.
He and Vanessa hit it off right away and before long are madly in love. Eric wonders how lucky it was that Vanessa happened to be at the right time and the right place to find Nova and return him.
A few weeks later, armed with a gift-wrapped ring, Eric’s on his way to Vanessa’s place for her birthday when he gets T-boned by a speeding truck.
“In other words, the accident saved your life.”
The world goes dark and he opens his eyes to a doctor’s face looming over his face. “Am I dead?”, Eric croaks to which the doctor replies, “Thankfully no. You got very lucky. Such an accident is usually fatal.”
“So am I completely fine?”, he asks apprehensively. “Err no. Suspecting brain injuries, we ran a few tests and I have both good and bad news for you.”, says the doctor, “Which would you like to hear first?”, with a pang of fear, “The bad”, Eric replies.
“Through the tests, we found that you had a glioma in your head.” Eric fumes in anger and despair as he thinks about how unlucky it was that he was going to get Vanessa in that exact direction and exact time.
“A scurrying rat had actually saved his life.”
“Well, what’s the good news?”, he asks dispassionately.
“The glioma existed since before the accident and in most cases, such tumors remain undetected until a malignant stage. But in your case, since we ran the tests after the accident, we were able to detect it at an early stage.”, the doctor continues, “In other words, the accident saved your life.”
Eric thinks how lucky he was to be at the exact place and the exact time for the accident to occur. He then thinks if the rat hadn’t appeared, Nova wouldn’t have gotten lost, he wouldn’t have met Vanessa, the accident wouldn’t have occurred, and his glioma wouldn’t have been discovered.
A scurrying rat had actually saved his life.
A realization dawned over him — he had no way of knowing if anything that happened to him was actually good or bad.
You’ll Never Actually Know
When things happen to us, we are quick to attribute them to either good or bad luck but we don’t know. As in Eric’s case, a “bad” thing could actually turn out to be a good one.
Life functions in a cause-effect manner and every single thing that happens to us is caused by something and becomes the cause for other things.
And since these cause-effect chains keep extending as long as you live, you have no way of knowing if some event or experience of your life would end up becoming the cause for something positive or negative. This is called the Nova effect.
“Until our life completely plays out, we cannot determine whether anything that happens to us is good or bad.”
It’s like a line of infinite dominoes where every event pushes down one of them. Until the very end of your life, the dominoes will keep toppling one after another.
The Best Part of This
Until our life completely plays out, we cannot determine whether anything that happens to us is good or bad. As scary of a thought as this seems, there is a beautiful upside.
Every single event could happen for your own good. I am a strong believer in this and try to find the positives in every experience of my life.
Being bullied in middle school made me throw myself passionately into lifting weights. Losing a class election triggered a life-changing epiphany. The Covid lockdown made me discover writing.
Every “negative” experience is only another way to empower yourself. All it takes is a perspective shift. Instead of getting bogged down by a failure, learn from it and try again with renewed vigor. Rather than complaining about an undesirable situation, try to change it.
Believe that every single thing happens for your own good and it actually will.
“Every “negative” experience is only another way to empower yourself.”