Dec 262012

role of luck in success

The Most Important Lesson Regarding The Role Of Luck In Success

What is the role of luck in success?  If we’re being honest with ourselves, luck plays an important role in almost everything we do.  Do you agree?

I used to have the following mindset:  someone would wish me good luck with something and I’d respond with something along the lines of “no luck necessary, I’ve got it under control”.  Even if I didn’t say it out loud, that’s usually what I was thinking.

As I’ve grown older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve realized that luck plays at least some role in everything we do.  That wisdom has caused me to lean toward accepting sayings like “better lucky than good,” which I used to reject as the words of people with a weak mindset.

I’ve also seen a tendency in many people I coach, and even in my own kids, to come out with comments like, “they’re not good, they’re just lucky”.  Such a comment and mindset have embedded in them equal parts hope and denial.  Pointing out the luck of others can be used as an excuse, which tends to be a very unhealthy behavior that serves no purpose in helping you reach your goals.

So, what is the role of luck in success?  In my experience and observation, luck is shared equally among most people; that is, it’s shared equally among most people who are in the game!  The point is, that if you’re not “in the game,” you cannot be the beneficiary of luck in that game, nor can you be the beneficiary of the skills and willpower you bring to the table.  In such a scenario, you’re usually a powerless observer.

You see, the reality is that many of the people who are busy pointing out how lucky this person or that person is, are people who are sitting on the sidelines!  And if they’re not sitting on the sidelines, they’re often sort of half playing “the game,” while all the “lucky” players are pouring their hearts and souls into their efforts.  The casual observer or player takes comfort in the fact that the others are so much luckier than them, so they don’t have to feel bad about how their lackluster efforts are yielding less than extraordinary results.  Go figure!

Granted, there are people who put in very little effort and end up being successful based solely on luck.  They are few and far between.  They are literal (or virtual) “lottery winners” and we all know the stories of how they often end up squandering the wealth and other success that they obtained purely through luck.

True, sustainable success is that which we earn through our efforts and our willingness to “fail” over and over again, then get right back up and continue playing the game.  If we have that sort of “never say die” mindset as a player in the “game,” we appreciate any luck that comes our way, but we do not dwell on it, just as we don’t lament or dwell on the luck of others.

We know that sometimes our luck will be good and sometimes it will be bad, but at the end of the day, our true success will be dependent upon our ability to take on tough challenges again and again without becoming discouraged and quitting.

As the saying goes, luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.  The most important lesson is:  We must be in the game, prepared, and playing our hearts out in order to succeed, not sitting on the sidelines criticizing others and pointing out how lucky they may be.  Luck, be it good or bad, is just one part of the equation.  When it’s good, let it be the wind in your sails; when it’s bad, let it stir your sense of challenge, adventure, and determination and spur you along toward achievement of your goals.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

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