Why Luck Matters More Than You Might Think
The man who said “I’d rather be lucky than good” saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It’s scary to think so much is out of one’s control.-Chris Wilton, Match Point
Why Luck Matters
Hard work and talent are important, but success also depends a little on luck.
When you achieve some level of success, such as a promotion, it’s easy to congratulate yourself for your hard work and perseverance. However, you should also thank your lucky stars.
Luck determines your starting point in life and influences everything that occurs throughout it. From your birthplace to your career opportunities, luck is one of the few things you can count on to always play a role.
Let us take a moment to explore some of the reasons why luck matters more than you may assume.
What Is Luck?
First, we should define luck to ensure that we are on the same page. Luck is the idea that positive and negative experiences occur due to chance instead of through your actions.
You may experience good luck or bad luck. It all comes down to the luck of the draw.
There are several aspects of luck and its significance, including:
- External factors
Luck can lead to seemingly random experiences, such as finding a coin on a sidewalk. These random events are not influenced by your actions. Luck can also create or remove opportunities. You can train and work hard at a skill or pursuit, but luck ultimately determines your success.
For example, you may receive the right training, but not find any job openings immediately after school. Or you may land your dream job immediately. It’s a matter of timing.
Luck is also a factor when serendipitous events occur. Many major scientific discoveries throughout history occurred thanks to serendipity, which is when a chance event results in a happy outcome.
Some of these unplanned scientific discoveries include life-saving developments, such as the creation of X-rays, penicillin, and Viagra.
Luck is also influenced by a long list of external factors, many of which influence the amount of privilege you receive.
Luck Determines Your Level of Privilege
Here are some of the ways that luck influences your life from the very start:
- Socioeconomic status
- Biological sex
You have no control over these factors, yet they all impact your life. Some people are lucky enough to have relatively happy childhoods with access to a decent education. Others are born and raised in areas without the internet and the comforts of a developed country.
For example, your country of residence largely determines your income.
Even given equal opportunities, some people are simply more likely to succeed than others. This success often comes down to luck.
The month that you were born may also influence your potential. One report found that children born in September were more likely to succeed compared to children born during other months.
People with names that start with a letter that appears near the beginning of the alphabet are also often more successful.
Your Very Existence May Depend on it
Your life started when a single sperm fertilized an egg. The sperm and eggs not involved in fertilization quickly die.
On average, males release about 300 million sperm during ejaculation. About 1,000 of those sperm may reach the Fallopian tube. Only a couple hundred sperm reach the egg and only one fertilizes the egg.
The stars, the moon, and everything else under the sun had to align properly for your conception to occur. Without that bit of luck, you may not have been born.
Gratitude for Luck Leads to Greater Generosity
Recognizing the role that luck plays in your life may make you a better person.
Multiple studies have looked at the connection between gratitude for being lucky and generosity. Those that believe that they are self-made are less likely to give their time or fortune.
If you believe that you owe some of your success to luck, you are more likely to want to share some of it with others.
For example, after winning a lottery with a large payday, you may want to spread the wealth to some of your friends and family. This likely comes from the realization that winning the lottery was a matter of luck and not your skills or talent.
Maintaining a grateful attitude can also give you a more positive outlook and boost your resiliency for dealing with negative outcomes and setbacks.
Unfortunately, successful people are the ones that are the least likely to recognize luck and show gratitude. Studies have found that wealthy people tend to believe less in luck.
Luck Influences Your Outlook on Life
The luck that you experience can influence your perspective and attitude. If you frequently experience good luck, you are more likely to have a positive outlook on life. If you frequently experience bad luck, you are more likely to develop a sense of hopelessness.
Optimism and hopelessness can impact your motivation and confidence. When you feel lucky, you tend to also feel confident and ready to take on more challenges.
Hopelessness can decrease your confidence, especially when it comes to taking risks. If you anticipate a negative outcome, you may not want to try at all. You may overcome this problem by focusing on what you can control instead of worrying about your potential success or failure.
Your talent, skills, and drive are not the only things responsible for whether you find success. Luck is a factor in all aspects of your life, starting with your birthplace or the fact that you even exist.
So, before patting yourself on the back for your success in life, think about the role luck has played.
Show gratitude when you succeed instead of giving yourself all the credit.
At the same time, luck is not the only factor in your success or failure. Your individual efforts still play a crucial role.
When luck creates a new opportunity, it is up to you to use your skills and knowledge to make the most of it. You cannot wait for luck to bring success right to your feet.
When bad luck leads to an unfortunate outcome, try to maintain a positive mindset and use your talents to navigate obstacles.