It might seem easier to shrug your shoulders and say that success is only for the lucky. But what is the real line between success and luck?
If someone won the lottery, you would say they are lucky, but would you say they are successful? Possibly not, especially if they do not use their winnings wisely. Some people may even find that long lost relatives crawl out of the woodwork with their hands out and bring fights, stress and uncertainty.
There may even be cases where a lottery winner finds themselves worse off and could even be heard to say it was the unluckiest thing that ever happened to them! Just look at Keith Gough who died penniless and alone after winning $14 million, with money stress being the most likely cause of his heart attack.
So what is needed for success really, luck or hard work?
Richard Branson says in his book, THE VIRGIN WAY: Everything I Know About Leadership, that the people and businesses that are seen as fortunate or luckier than others are usually also the ones that are prepared to take the greatest risks and, by association, are also prepared to fall flat on their faces every so often.
You can’t get lucky if you’re playing it safe.
No matter what the circumstance, a person who has proven themselves to be successful believes they create their own luck. Yes, they were in the right place at the right time, but they put themselves in that place, and said yes to the opportunity before that put them in that right place. In other cases, where you could say someone was lucky to be born with an ability that leads to success, the person who became successful took their natural ability and created an opportunity, through hard work to make that ability the best it can possibly be.
As Will Smith so powerfully puts it, “No matter how talented you are, your talent will fail you if you’re not skilled. Skill is achieved through practice. Work hard and dedicate yourself to being better every single day.”
Feeling lucky is a positive mindset and positive mindsets embrace the future and bring new opportunities.
If you couple this mindset with smart thinking, a good investment, or positive action, you can go a long way!
It all depends on how you view it. Successful people say they gained their stature from a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, whereas those looking on tend to believe that it’s a little bit of hard work and a huge amount of luck.
A circumstance that is lucky to one person might be unlucky to another. Hard work or fate? It’s a matter of perception. What we find as we study successful people is that part of their success is having their luck filters turned on and then working really hard to make sure it happens. A person who is destined to greatness may, in fact, lead an ordinary life, feeling they were destined for nothing simply because they never took the chance to be great.
Rick Smith, founder and CEO of 3D printing company Fast Radius has a love/hate relationship with luck, and wrote a great article about people who get lucky, such as a developer who launches an app that takes off, versus someone who works hard and earns a series of promotions. They both worked hard, and were they both lucky?
It works pretty simply. If you tell yourself you are lucky, and you see your circumstances as lucky then you are more likely to see more options, open more doorways to opportunities, and follow your dreams. It doesn’t mean that things won’t go against you, it’s just that those things are either not taken to heart, or flipped to be used positively.
Yes, you read that right, a negative circumstance that can be flipped to be used positively!
What’s lucky depends on your mindset. Someone who says, “It was lucky I was made redundant so I could get started on my own business” will open themselves to new opportunities and success more than someone who feels unlucky about being made redundant and fearing the future.
The unlucky thinking person will feel that their options are limited and their mindset is focussed on scarcity. They are more likely to batten down the hatches and create a negative frame of mind.
When people talk about luck what they mean is circumstances outside our control and the impact it has. Good luck is a positive impact and bad luck, a negative one. When people talk about success they usually refer to circumstances within their control, proper care equals success, and improper care equals failure.
In truth, the impact of both is really up to us. How we leverage those outside circumstances is what makes us who we are and proves the mettle of our worth, which can then lead to better use of those circumstances within our control and greater success.
If we only respond to a situation with fear, we will never see that diamond that shines inside us all. It’s by accepting the challenge and seeing it as an opportunity to grow that we open our ability to reach our inner potential.
What truly successful people do is consider that all circumstances are, in part, within their control, perhaps not in the beginning, but certainly in their reaction and subsequent growth from what’s happened. Nobody counts how much a millionaire has lost, especially not the millionaire, if they did, she or she might certainly feel unlucky!
To be successful, lucky or not you’ll still do the hard work and leverage your circumstances as much as possible. And if bad luck comes your way it’s up to you how you take it. If you see it as an omen that you are on the wrong path or punishment for trying something new then you are probably going to shrink back to limited thinking patterns and create less opportunity for yourself.
If you are able to take a “bad experience” on board as a life lesson or the circumstances required to gain eventual success, then you open up even more possibilities in all areas of your life.
The difference in these thinking patterns explains why some people flourished in the Global Financial Crisis whereas others, in the same industry, went bankrupt.
Our ability to respond to our circumstances and adapt is not lucky at all, it’s practice and grooming that allow flexibility in our ability to respond as well as being able to take ownership for everything that happens in our lives.
Growth is just as rapid from negative as from positive experience, and could possibly make us even more successful than if our path had been untroubled, as we have more understanding, more ability and more resources than a person who just ‘happened’ upon a great deal without working for it!
How you think about luck and how you respond to your circumstances is entirely up to you. In my experience, the greatest way to be successful is to acknowledge the gifts that come your way. Be it luck, a win, a skill, or if you prefer to call it fate, by being grateful for what you have and how you got to where you are is a powerful way to stay positive, to stay present, and to create positive change globally.
Circumstances outside our control will always play a part in our lives. From who our parents are and where we are born, to what skills and abilities come naturally to us and the people we meet in our lives. However, it’s those who overcomes the greatest amount of bad luck who truly inspire others and create movements with their sheer willpower and endurance. Onlookers might even say, we are so lucky to have witnessed that moment, or they might use that moment and turn it to their own success…
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