Create Your Luck

By , SparkPeople Blogger
“See a penny pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck.”

This sweet saying was something my dear Grandmother would tell me whenever she saw a coin on the ground. Keep in mind this was at a time when a penny could still buy something even if it was just piece of bubble gum at the local convenience store.

In August 2007 I was out for a run with my running group when I looked down and saw a penny. I couldn’t help but run back and pick up the tarnished and hardly recognizable coin. I joked with my pals that I was going to put this in a jar and see how much money I could find. They all laughed and yet, for the year we ran together it turned into a game as to how much money I would bring in. There was never a day I didn't find at least one coin.

When the group disbanded because of busy lives and family commitments, I continued the trend that began August 24, 2007 and in 23 months since that time I have collected close to $25 dollars, all in the form of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and yes, even one half-dollar.

So many people have told me I must be one of luckiest people in the world because of the money I have found. This got me to thinking, which I do a lot of when I am running. Why is it that I found these coins when no else has? Was it really luck?

What I have discovered is I am no more fortunate in finding a penny, or any other coin for that matter, than anyone else. The difference between me and someone else is I look for them. I actually scan the road in front of me searching.

I once thought luck was something that just happens to us-it was a random act of chance or success. But, what I have discovered on this journey is, luck doesn't just happen; we actually create our own luck by looking for the opportunity in our lives to seize the moment. In other words we must create our luck by examining our lives and coming up with a plan to change our direction.

As much as it is a thrill to find a nickel, dime or quarter, I still get the biggest thrill when I see that copper penny in the road. While a penny doesn't buy anything these days a whole jar full does. And just like an ounce doesn't seem like much, put 16 ounces together and you have a pound.

So the next time you see a penny, are you going to take the time to pick it up or will you pass it up hoping you will find a bigger treasure down the road? I hope you will stop and pick it up!

Do you believe luck just happens or that we create our own luck? Do believe that the small changes we make in life can have the most profound outcome in our lives?

Photo: My jar of coins!

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I am just like you always picking up pennies when I am walking. I think you have to achieve your luck it is what you do in your life that help you to acquire that luck. Report
Funny, I was in the gym today and saw two pennies! I still get excited when I find pennies! Report
Funny, I was in the gym today and saw two pennies! I still get excited when I find pennies! Report
I believe that we make our own "luck" by using opportunities given to us to their greatest advantage and keeping a positive outlook. Report
Great story with incite... motivates me for sure Report
I always find spare coins! I too look for them on my walks. I once found a 10.00 dollar bill sticking out of a snow bank! I have also found gold jewelery. A crayfish, on a sidewalk, no ware near water, in the middle of an industrial park, on a very busy street!!
Go figure! He was not to happy with me upsetting his day! Report
I truly believe in creating your own opportunities. Since I have begun walking, I regularly pick up coins and its adding up slowly but surely. It feels so wrong to walk past even a penny so I dont. Life is also like this. Success can be incremental and every opportunity to improve yourself should be taken advantage of. This is such a good topic for discussion as the responses have shown. Report
Just an of 4/1/2010 I am up to $36.32...the jar is almost full ;-D! Report
My huband and I will pick up a penny. We have for years, our though on this is that is one more penny we don't have to earn.
I love the jar idea. Report
Ever since I moved to downtown Portland in 2008 I've been picking up the money I find on the sidewalks and streets. Since the economy turned sour it has been more difficult to find money. I play a game with a friend, on our walks we look for money 5x a week and the one who has won the most days of the week wins for the week. I had a great streak from Jan-Feb, but I've crashed ever since. The money stays in a piggy bank from Dollar Tree and it's given as a donation later on in the year to our local church. Funny things, there are many homeless outside the local Safeway stores panhandling, and most of them won't accept pennies. There are always a few pennies near where someone has been waving a sign asking for change. Report
My husband and I have been doing this for years. We used to live near a self-serve car wash that had problems with the coin returns on their machines, so most days we would find anywhere from 25 cents to 3 or 4 dollars. We also make it a point to walk in areas where you're more likely to find money, like shopping centers, restaurant parking lots, baseball fields. It makes the walk so much more fun when you find money. Some days you may only find a penny or two, but other days, you may find a LOT more - even some of the green stuff! Whenever we find money, we put it in a jar, then add it up at the end of the month and cash in the change. In about 3 years' time, we found enough to buy a set of tires for our car. Of course, that was when we had the "slot machines" at the car wash - but we still find enough to make it fun! Report
I too pick up money from the road even a penny. Luck these days not happening for me. I guess I would like some good luck once in awhile but lately struggling with all my bad luck. Report
I enjoyed the blog, but I enjoyed all the experiences that everyone shared even more! Report
I had heard a few years ago, that finding a penny on the ground was like getting a kiss from heaven. So, I pick up every coin I find, whether it be on heads or tails and remind myself that my mom, who passed away in 1997 is still looking over me. I keep them all in a cup, which is now too small to hold many more. The best part is that I always seem to find a penny or a few pennies just when I need it the most. Report
I do infact believe luck is not random Report
I never pass up a penny on the ground.The largest amount that I have found was a $l00 bill Report
I learned from this! Thank you!

A lot of people might say "it's just a penny", but i say "it still is money"!

I really liked the ounce comparison!

Thank you! Report
I think for the most part we create our own luck. I remember in March 1993, my family was going to Hawaii for a week (a business trip combined with pleasure, of course). As luck would have it, a blizzard was predicted for our departure date, and it was strongly predicted that the airport would be shut down before our scheduled takeoff. DH was on another business trip and planning to return the day before, so leaving a day early was not an option. It was not easy to exchange the tickets, but in the end we did (involved staying overnight at an airport hotel, DH going to airport at 5:00 am and me rushing to airport from the hotel with two young children and minutes to spare on the flight). My mother told the story to a friend who commented that we were lucky. Mom's response was that we made our own luck. It was true. Not to mention that we were fortunate to beat out the storm. The predictions were on the money, and the airport did shut down before our scheduled departure.

I do believe there is a difference between luck and fortune. I think you are fortunate if good things happen but you control the destiny, at least to some degree. If I ever won a large lottery, I would consider myself lucky and not fortunate!!! Report
I believe we create are own luck. Report
What a great story!! And how true it is. I, too, believe you create your own luck. A coin jar would be a fun thing to start. I think I'll get one going. Thanks for the thoughts. Report
I have heard that when you are not losing pounds, you are losing inches. Is there any truth to this? Report
Luck we are all lucky is our own way Just some of us are more aware of who we are what we are doing why we are doing it and where we are at Being in the right place at the right time helps we must be willing to make changes always have always will pick up coins and bills once found a twenty dollar bill out walking it was near the high school and had thought of going in and turning it in but decided to donate to charity also found a five dollar bill on way to prayer hour at church and decided maybe God put me there in that spot at that time so gave it to the box in the chapel not only look down but look up and around enjoy your run and walks and thanks for sharing your story Report
I believe in both. Sometimes, luck does come our way and also that we create our own luck.
I always pick up change that I find when I am walking. It does add up and I am saving it to help with Christmas gift buying. Report
I love this blog and the stories. It's funny because i too have a jug. It was a habit that started a few years back. From finding change on the floor and the i was a waitress. All loose change would go in this jar. Every year in November the kids and i would dump it out count it to see what we had. It would be our christmas fund. We used it for the dinner and gifts that we could give out. I told them that I would never hide it, but if they got into it that meant that at the end of the year their christmas would be different. They wouldn't be able to share with thier friends, and drop change in the buckets with the bell ringers. They never got into it.....out of 4 boys I know of two that do the same thing to this day. Report
I always pick up pennies and coins and add them to our coin jar. We put all our change in a jar that is now nearly too heavy to pick up. The great thing about coins is that they tell us "In God We Trust". Report
We create our on 'luck'. People are not lucky, we are in the right place at the right time; we pay attention to what is going on around us. If you sit at home, nothing will happen. It doesn't mean that you have bad luck, it just means that you have not done anything to be in the right place at the right time.

As a child, I found wallets all of the time. And they always had money in them. I gave the money back and in return, I was always rewarded for being honest. Now, don't get me wrong, I thought about keeping the money and not telling anyone that I found a wallet, but I knew the difference between doing what is right and doing what you feel. I wasn't lucky, I was just in the right place at the right time. The person to whom the wallet belonged, wasn't lucky either. They must have done something right in their life, (paid it forward), so that when they needed something positive to happen, it happened. In other words, no matter how you look at it, our actions brought about a positive reaction. We created our own 'luck'. Report
My partner actually spotted a $20 bill one day while we were bike riding!! Needless to say we always ride the same route now - just in case :) Report
Found another 36 cents today, bringing my total to well over $25 meeting my 2 year anniversary goal by one month. And for all who may be wondering what I will do with my loot. I am going to donate it to a charity group to help young girls who want to take up running....running is such a great and empowering sport for our girls. Report
My daughter and I have a yearly contest to see who can find the most on the ground. We know the good places to look too. It's always a hotly contested battle and we always find money. Of course, nothing like that $17,000 I found once in the bank parking lot - a store's bank deposit they must have dropped from a handful of them. At the time, I was only taking home $19,000 a year after taxes. Ooooh, I wanted that money. No one was around. No one would have known. I gave it a feel. Put it in my pocket. What a satisfying bulge. But it had their name on it. It would have cost them their job if it just disappeared. I was a store manager myself at the time and I knew how it must have happened and what would happen to them next if it didn't get there - so I brought it in with mine. I still look for money and I always find it and maybe I'll make that big find again. But I hope not because I doubt I could withstand the temptation a second time. Report
Great story! I'll start my own jar with tomorrow's run. I think we create our own 'luck''s all MENT2BE!! Report
I believe that a positive attitude does wonders for the heart and soul. You are lucky because you believe in it Report
I never wish people 'luck.' You make your 'luck' by hard work and determination. I haven't been lucky to lose weight it's taken hard work and determination.
Best Wishes! Report
Nancy, who knew that your dedication to running and proving your grandmother's aphorism could yield such a lucrative pot? Good for you! I've known people who *gave* me pennies just to get rid of them. Finally, I rolled them and took them to the the tune of about $20.00!

But the dollar amount of fitness and good health you're reaping through running is probably incalculable. You have undoubtedly extended your life and improved its quality in every way - something you can enjoy not only right now, but later on in life. You've also lowered your medical costs, and in this environment, that's really phenomenal! Congratulations! - Susan (who used to be DIET NO MORE and is making a comeback :) Report
Like so much of life, where we put our focus is the direction that we move.
Yeah, on feeling 'lucky!'
I pick up change partly as a reminder to me that I CAN now- I've lost 100 pounds, and I CAN bend over and pick up the pennies with a smile.
I also go on 'garbage walks', when I carry a plastic bag to pick garbage up from the park, street, whatever. I like to turn around and see a prettier place when I've gone walking. A nice goal, to make the world a cleaner and prettier place wherever I've been. (Research shows that areas with less garbage have less petty theft and less minor vandalism... an amazing corollary. If the world looks taken care of, the minor hoods don't vandalize. Sweet!) Report
It's funny you would write about finding pennys (coins) while running, walking etc. I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning everyday for a full year faithfully to walk for an hour before work during the week, wkends off. I would find at least one or two coins a day. I would find all kinds of stuff. As of this day I have pennys maining in a water jug the big one about half of half way full. It's been about a couple of years now since I've been finding pennys and just putting them in my jar. I am curious to see how much it will add up to once it is completely full. I don't know how I am going to carry it because it is so heavy right now. So yes pennys add up... and everytime I find a penny I say to myself IN GOD I DO TRUST FOR EVERY PENNY. Yes Indeed. Thanks for writing this blog. Report
What a great blog and some wonderful stories here! I've always picked up coins and the saying would always come to mind. Thanks for the special time reading these posts. Report
Unfortunately my DH finds washers and nuts and bolts...and picks them up and brings them home. I don't think they are of any value, but he will not let them lie. I have a collection....wish he would change to coins..I could find a use for those.LOL Report
I don't beleive in luck, per say. I too stop and pick up coins on the ground, I remeber when I was younger I would not and someone told me one day that it was exercise. And from that time until now if I see a coin o the ground I pick it up. On my walk Saturday night I picked up $1,25 in coins, nickels dimes and quarters. Report
I love finding "angel money" and I do believe we make our own good luck with our postive attitude about life in general. Report
I was once told that luck is when opportunity meets perspiration....I believe it to this day....we do make our own luck! Report
I certainly think there are people who are just COMPLETELY lucky, and make it successful without any effort of their own. I think about Phyllis George, who was MISS AMERICA, and a "Friend" who had known her since childhood said "Phyllis was beautiful and could get away with anything because of it. At 4 we were in the middle of church service and she left the pew, ran down to the front of the church and started dancing. Everyone thought is was SO cute, but any normal kid would have been taken to the restroom and had their as# spanked, but NOT Phyllis. She succeeded in life in spite of herself."
I have know a lot of "pretty" people and I have to say that had they NOT had the looks, they wouldn't have amounted to anything at all. Report
Luck is the way we view things. Not just the road ahead of as we run in the literal sense. My friend received a windfall at the same time as needing some extra money, She believed that she was lucky because the unexpected money turned up at the same time as needing it. Report
My dad use to through pennies at me in parking lots as we walked into the store and on the way out I would pick them up and give them back to him. Just before my dad died he sent me one of those e-mail letters with all these silly thing on it. One of them stated that a when you find a penny on the ground it is a tear drop from heaven. Now that he is gone I look very hard for pennies so that I know my dad is still looking out for me. I do seem to find them more often when I am down and depressed and I know it is my dad telling me to keep on keepen on. Report
I always say "find a penny pick it up have good luck all day long," when ever I find a penny and pick it up. I always throw my change in a container at the end of the day. I have had enough change saved up at one time to pay 2/3 of a 300.00 vet bill when one of my cats got sick. Report
There's a dime in the road that I pass on my bike-commute home from work. It's in a bad place to stop, though, so I keep driving over it! Report
I am such a numbers geek and LOVE to log my splits etc... that I hate to admit, but I often HATE to have to stop for anything - because after all, that is extra time spent!!! I once got very aggravated when a cute puppy started to chase me because I had to stop and try and figure out where it came from then go see if I could find a human being attached to said puppy... and I LOVE puppies - but that was one SLOW mile!!! Report
I usually put my change from my purse in my money jug, but the change I find on the floor anywhere, I usually let my kids "find" it so they can put it in their money jugs. Report
I always pick up pennies (and other coins) when I walk or run or even in a grocery store parking lot - Gotta tell you why. They remind me of how lucky I am to not only find pennies, but for all the Blessings that I have. Good health, family, freedoms, etc.
All started when I saw this story on the internet a few years ago "
"And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust is in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!"

"When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up. I read the words, "In God We Trust," and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful and God is patient." Report
Wow.. what a wonderful post ! I never thought that some one would do that and above all admit it and present a wonderful post..

I have picked up a whole lots of coins on my way, but never had the thought to collect them all and see how much I've collected.. May be from now I'd start the habit of putting them in a jar.. So I am on the go looking for them..

I love this blog. I am thrilled to know that someone else does the same thing I do. I have picked up pennies from individuals who just threw them on the ground because they thought they were worthless change. I have found dimes, nickels, quarters, antique coins, and even $20. in a parking lot. I faithfully put it in a piggy bank and every year on the date I put the first coin in, I check to see how much I have found...the most I have found in a given year bill included is 71.19. Not bad for money I didn't "work" for. My husband found 340.00 blowing in the wind one day while riding his bike. After checking around for 20 minutes trying to find the potential owner, he brought it home to show me. He still holds the record in our family for the most money found!!! P.S he also found 800.00 blowing in the wind five years ago...but we were able to find the distraught owner and it felt good to see the relief of tears on her face. It was her rent money and when she opened her car door the wind blew it out of her purse. Report
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