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Learn About Psychology and Self-Mastery Through History

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Sometimes all you need in a desperate situation is a little luck…


When George Washington first entered New York with his army, he knew every attempt he could make to defend the city would be futile.


The Harbor was fully controlled by British ships, with hundreds of ships anchored at the harbor, and thousands more men than Washington had in his continental army.


But Congress told Washington that New York was vital, and that at least an attempt should be made to defend it, so that’s what Washington did.


But he quickly realized that his view of New York was right, it was utterly indefensible, and it was only a matter of time until the British would come for the continental army and take over New York.


The only thing Washington could do was retreat.


So eventually, when the battle of Brooklyn began and seemed to become a slaughter if they kept on fighting, Washington ordered a retreat.


They would fall back, at night, and cross the river towards Long Island, where they would be safe for the time being from the British.


But, such a retreat wasn’t easy, Washington had a totally inexperienced army, which had no experience with orderly retreats, and worst of all, they had to make such a retreat over a dangerous river in the middle of the night.


But before they could even think about retreating, the British army could have simply surrounded the continental army by going around that same river and closing the army off.


There was only one reason that this didn’t happen: the wind.


There was a tough wind going right in the other direction that the British would have to sail in, and in the time when ships still were dependent on which way the wind went, they couldn’t make the encirclement and destruction of the continental army a reality.


If they had, the American army would have been almost entirely captured, including General George Washington, and the revolution would have probably been over.


But it didn’t, the wind was perfect for the continental army, and they got a chance to make their retreat.


For such an inexperienced army, the retreat went surprisingly well, especially considering the circumstances.


They made the retreat at night so that the British couldn’t see them and interfere with their retreat.


Almost all of the American army had crossed the river, but then daylight came, and they wouldn’t have the cover of nighttime anymore.


But then another, almost magical, thing happened.


First, the wind saved the continental army, but now they had another environmental factor that saved the army.


At dawn, suddenly a thick fog came up, right in between Washington’s army and the British one. The fog was so that the British couldn’t see the Americans retreating, but also just so that the Americans didn’t experience any trouble from the fog themselves.


This meant that the Americans were not troubled in their retreat by the fog and could continue, while they couldn’t be noticed by the British army.


Eventually, the American army successfully retreated, living to fight another day.


The British were stunned, one day they were so close to ending the war and capturing Washington and his army, and the next day they vanished.


The revolution was saved, by the wind, by the fog, and simply by good luck.



When Washington ordered his retreat, many things could have gone wrong. 


The army, being inexperienced could’ve made it a mess.


The retreat, taking place at night, could’ve gone awfully wrong.


The wind could have gone the other way, which would have made a retreat impossible and encirclement and therefore surrender of the continental army likely.


There could have been no fog, which would have meant that the British would have gotten onto the continental army’s retreat and eliminated it either way.


Any of these things not being the way they were, could’ve cost America its revolution, and the Declaration of Independence would’ve simply been a meaningless piece of paper.


But the Americans had luck on their side. The wind was just right, a magical fog set in at the right moment in the right way, and the army made a miraculous retreat.


Sometimes all you need, is simply a bit of luck.


Of course, skill is crucial, but so is luck in any endeavor that you undertake.


Understand that it is not all up to you, events are often chance, which can be seen as luck or misfortune.


Take the action, learn the skills, and do the work, but remember that whether you succeed or not is often also up to chance.


Just as you should never become hopeless, because you can always get out of a bad situation simply by being lucky, just like the American Revolutionaries.

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