I would be insulted if you called me lucky two years ago.
After all, I worked my ass off to get to where I am today. That’s not luck. I created this reality I live in.
Or so I thought.
I realized something a few months ago. Luck isn’t about winning the lottery. Being called lucky isn’t an insult. It’s the truth. After reflection, I am very lucky.
I was born in the right country to the right parents. Everything I have experienced has brought me to where I am today.
I almost drowned in family friend’s pool when I was 3 years old. But I didn’t. I was saved by my neighbor’s friend. I could be dead. But I’m not.
I have a natural drive to work hard. I’m self-motivated. I always wanted to do that best I could. I can’t describe what gave me this internal drive at a young age.
It wasn’t something that I learned from a book. There was a moment or series of moments that shaped me into becoming that type of person.
Maybe it was my mom, who started teaching me when I was 3 or 4 years old.
Or, maybe a teacher help change the trajectory of my life.
Or maybe it was my three siblings influenced me.
All I know is that if you change one of those inputs, the output or my life would be different today.
Bill Gates is brilliant. He’s ambitious. He took advantage of the opportunities he saw early in his life.
Bill Gates is also lucky.
He attended Lakeside, a private school in Seattle. A private school with a computer. Not just any computer, but a brand new, top of the line computer.
The Lakeside’s Mother’s Club had a rummage sale every year to raise money for the school. And instead of just funding the budget, they always would fund something kind of new and interesting in addition. And without too much understanding, they decided having a computer terminal at the school would be a novel thing. It was a teletype — upper case only, ten characters a second — and you had to share a phone line to call into a big time-sharing computer that was very expensive.
This was one moment in Gate’s life that put him on the path to revolutionizing the world. Luck played a role in getting him there.
What if one detail and his life changed? What is he attended Public School in Seattle instead of private? What if he not have access to a computer in middle school? Would he have still changed the world?
(Credit to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers for this story.)
When comes down to it luck and hard work two sides of the same coin. Here’s how I see it:
Luck + Hard Work = Success
No Luck + Hard Work = A difficult, but fulfilling life (in my opinion)
Luck + No Hard Work = A recipe for disaster (Case in point: lottery winners)
No Luck + No Hard Work = Not much
Being lucky isn’t a bad thing
Bill Gates got lucky. He worked his ass off for years and change the world and process. He took advantage of the luck bequeathed to him.
He leveraged this and used it as a springboard to create one of the most successful companies in the world.
Sometimes you just have to put yourself in the right place with the right amount of effort. Embrace the serendipity around you. Work hard. Follow your curiosities. Go where others haven’t dared to go. Who knows, luck might just find you.
What is one thing that has happened in your life that you would say was “lucky”? How would your life be different had that not happened?