Luck: Where Preparation Meets Opportunity

It’s only fitting we consider the word ‘luck’ on St. Patrick’s Day; you know, that “luck of the Irish” thing, and while I am not Irish, I guess I could say I believe in luck, and then again, I don’t believe in luck depending upon how ‘luck’ is defined. And many of us confuse ‘luck’ with ‘destiny.’ But in that it is St. Patrick’s Day, let’s talk about luck.

Webster defines luck as, “success or failure brought about by chance through one’s own actions,” and based on that definition, I believe in luck, because I believe that success, just like failure is a choice. Our choices result in consequences, we make choices, thereby we make things happen or not, and if we make good choices, we better the odds at realizing favorable consequences. However, if our choice is not to take any action toward what it is we hope to achieve, then I guess we can deduce that our ‘luck’ won’t be very good.

There’s a lot of clever quotations about luck, and here are a few: The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity,” and Harry Golden said, “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work,” and that’s hard to argue. It was Thomas Jefferson who stated, “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

So it could just be that luck is not only real, but there exists a correlation between it and hard work. And sadly there are those who only believe in luck in a negative sense, because it gives them the opportunity to excuse their own failure, born of their lack of willingness to work. Said another way, and said by Jean Cocteau, “We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like.” And Earl Williams expressed, “Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.”

Luck? I believe in it more than I don’t, but I know in my heart that luck rarely, if ever shows up without hard work by its side. Luck and hard work are friends not foe, luck is a choice, as is success and failure. We choose our luck.

But, here’s something I can say for certain about luck; if you lean it, it will fall away. Luck and hope have never been solid strategies from which to build one’s success, but hard work has almost always proved to be a sound strategy.
Choose hard work, and you just may be amazed at how lucky you are!

- Randy Smith


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