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Luck by chance

Inspired by the post from Ravindra

Most career and business success are assignable to the personal factors like the calibre, work ethics, talent and experience. and then of course, luck. The former is settled more easily as there are evidences of behaviour, efforts and achievements. While luck is discussed as an external factor (good or bad) that is seen to be not creditable to the individual but rather seen as a benefactor or disadvantaged. In an extreme case, luck can be even an overriding factor, almost to the point of making personal factors inconsequential. In most instances, however, luck is used as a bridging factor between the person's efforts and outcome. In fact Scott Barry Kaufman has written in a blog in the 'Scientific American' on the “The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized” and called it the unexplained variable.

By the logic of 'grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' other people who are successful are usually credited with good luck and our own shortcomings are credited to poor luck.

But what really is luck?

Luck meaning from -

- the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities

- good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance

- a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person

- some object on which good fortune is supposed to depend: This rabbit's foot is my luck.

So, the dictionary also assigns luck a certain probabilistic characteristic, hinting that there is a randomized variable that determines the circumstances that a person finds around him or her.

If we were to try and decode the meaning and implication of luck, it could be listed as -

  1. Luck is a random variable. It is not loaded against you or anyone else. If luck makes you feel like a victim, choose fate, a situation, or any other neutral word that does not have a negative baggage in your mind

  2. Luck is a purely random selection of a particular outcome out of the many possibilities. So yes, something else could have happened, but by the probabilistic nature of things, the dice falls on a particular face. Accept such an outcome as 'It is what it is', and that nobody conspired against you.

  3. If the outcome is dependant or influenced by your previous action, it is not luck but consequence or 'karma'. Life is a series of decisions. One following the other. They are interconnected, sometimes it is obvious and at other times, they are latent or spread over a long time period. E.g. the efforts of one generation sometimes rolls over to the other – good work and even the poor ones. When you do something good to others, it can back to you as a goodwill or even a direct quid pro quo

  4. Life is likely to have, numerically speaking, more dependant events than pure chance or ‘out of the blue’ events. When we do not understand this, we begin to believe that somehow, magically, things will ultimately happen by pure chance and we will be on our way to success or else we will blame bad luck. This is being fatalistic. Hoping for a random event to cover up for series of missteps.

  5. Resilience, determination, and drive to push through can make deeper impact on our future than those rare ‘lucky’ events. Humans have been gifted with the ability to create vision and manifest it. Putting a man on the moon, driving the vision of improving billion lives, one at a time, putting a can of coke within an arm’s reach of desire, have driven organizations to take actions and bring to life such aspiring visions through strategic moves and efforts of multitude of people. Leadership exists in setting the vision and driving the organization to move mountains to get there.

  6. Creating success is a habit for people with action bias and sound decision-making skills. They are not waiting for the next big bang moment, but they evaluate every situation that comes their way and keep creating their own path. They put their stake in the ground and make bets on the future, supporting the adage - Luck favours the brave.

Our belief that our actions have a huge impact on the outcomes, allows us to take responsibility for our goals and empowers us. Luck should then be seen as a given situation for which finding the appropriate response, is up to all of us. Luck provides a possibility, but it really takes your perseverance and intellect to convert that into success.

Before I close this post, I feel obliged to mention that the purpose of this post is to not leave you with the feeling that successful people have nobody or nothing to be grateful but themselves. Remember, all success comes with the efforts of people around you and before you who have played a role.

In a letter to Robert Hooke in 1675, Isaac Newton made his most famous statement: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. He was being neither complacent nor fatalistic.

Agree? Disagree? Do leave your comments below, with your experiences/thoughts.

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