Diligence is the mother of good luck” – Benjamin Franklin


You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” – Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in “Dirty Harry”. We have all seen the movie. And the punk got lucky. That day.

The harder I work, the luckier I get” is a quote attributed to several people, including Gary Player (golfer), Samuel Goldwyn (the middle name in MGM studios) and a host of others.

It has variously been described as a meaningful coincidence of unrelated things, an escape from responsibility, a false idea that may produce positive thinking which changes a person’s response for the better, a self-fulfilling prophecy and as a form of superstition. Hence it varies by philosophical, religious, mystical or emotional context depending on the interpreter.

Many in-depth studies has been done on it with one definition suggesting that it is “a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause” (Noah Webster’s dictionary).



Luck is luck in retrospect. You don’t know if you have had “good or bad luck” until you have some perspective of the outcome of matters. Whenever I reviewed my “luck” I could afterwards see the dots connecting the events.

You win lotto – was it luck? Did the ticket just blow into your front door? You hit a hole-in-one on a golf course. How many thousands of clubs have you swung? Were these actions out of your control?



An aura of luck may surround self-made people, but there are rules to luck. Prod them for answers and they will relate stories of late nights, hard work, diligent research and analysis – following a set of logical steps on their path to success. They have taken risks – and sometimes lost.

Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates were not lucky. They made their own opportunity and then prepared themselves for it. Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Rolling Stones have not been lucky. Many hours of practice preceded hard-earned success.

Gamblers sometimes have an illusion of control over random events. But when their “hot hands” and “hot streaks” are analyzed over time they even out. How many gamblers win constantly at “luck-based” games?



People make their own luck – and good fortune. Yes, given there are instances where people were at the right time at the right place and “luck happened”. But Seneca the Roman philosopher reminds us that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  I would add to that “and a willingness to do something about it”.

Life is not as easy as we would like. Most people will have to deal with challenges and tragedy during a lifetime. At times it is called “bad luck” to give us a hook to hang our emotions on. However, to deal with and overcome it we must muster wit, understanding and energy. Not good luck.



It is said that Edison conducted 17,000 experiments before successfully creating the incandescent light bulb. Both success and failure motivated him – eventually holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name.

Successful people learn to manage the emotional contrast between the highs and the lows of winning and losing. They see themselves to be surrounded by countless opportunities every day – regardless of the uncertainties that also lie in wait. They celebrate success and put their losses behind them, letting go of their feelings of disappointment – and persist forward.



Cause and effect. That is what science and motivational speakers teach us. You do not wake up as a successful writer or speaker one morning.

Take your luck into your own hands. J.K. Rowling conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series on a delayed train in 1990 and only published the first novel in 1997. That is not called luck, but hard work whilst enduring many personal upsets including a death in the family and a divorce. Though the measure of her success can be calculated in terms of finances, what Is beyond calculation is the effect she had and still has on reading amongst the youth when reading was not in fashion.

Whatever happens, happens due to a cause and will have an effect in your life sooner or later. Why wait for luck when you can lead!



The great religions of the world is not the product of luck. And they do not believe in luck.

From a moralistic perspective, it seems that the cards would fall right for some – born into wealth – whilst others would not even sight a single card. Well, if we believe that we have no control over destiny then why not just sit and wait for a life ordained by The Angels of Luck or Predestination.

Your life is based on the merits of the choices that you make. You might be born into wealth but not into luck. Make your own.


Key Principles

  • Luck is luck in retrospect.
  • An aura of luck may surround self-made people, but there are rules to luck.
  • “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
  • Successful people manage the emotional contrast between the winning and losing.
  • Cause and effect. That is what science and motivational speakers teach us.
  • Your life is based on the merits of the choices that you make.


Action Steps

  • “Connect the dots” between cause and effect.
  • Study the lives and methods of successful people – then apply the rules.
  • Develop a willingness mindset to do something about “luck”.
  • Celebrate your successes and put your losses behind you.
  • Take your luck into your own hands.
  • Be prepared and create your own opportunities. Then your own luck.




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