Those Lucky Successful People
I regularly deliver career development support to people who are job seeking. We often look at what it takes to be successful. I pose the questions ....’what makes successful people successful?’ For the purpose of the exercise a person is successful if they achieve something they set out to achieve.
I am always surprised at how much discussion this question prompts and the sticking point is almost always the notion of luck. I am nearly always in the minority who do not believe that luck plays a big part in a person’s success.
When people say I am lucky to have a business or that I am lucky to still be making a living in the current economic climate I find it a bit insulting.
When I worked round the clock, marketing a business no one had ever heard of, without a bean to my name and living with newly acquired sight loss no one was too quick to say how lucky I was! This is the reality of the road to the success some think I am lucky to have had. At the time lady luck did not seem over keen to be my new best friend!
Ok, I was lucky that I had supportive family and friends, although if I am being pedantic I could say that had I not been good to them also they may not have been so inclined to be so supportive.
I was lucky that my Dad was self employed and could offer lots of advice but I CHOSE to listen and CHOSE to act upon his advice.
When I look back over the time I spent starting and growing my business I can think about many times I may have appeared lucky. For each of these occasions I can trace back to having DONE something, sometimes small and seemingly insignificant, that played a part in creating the ‘luck’.
It is often the case that successful people have had plenty of failures. It is the successes that we tend to hear about but to get to the successes they have usually failed more times. Because we don’t tend to hear about all the failures that have gone before, we tend to feel they are never unlucky and therefore believe they are lucky, as it seems they only have successes.
I am willing to accept that luck exists and can contribute to create success. However, I am more inclined to believe successful people GRAB the luck that comes their way rather than regularly ‘get lucky’.
What is really striking to me is that the people who swear blind that luck plays a big part in success are the people who don’t tend to DO much towards achieving what they want. It is comfortable to believe they haven’t got want they are after because they are unlucky and those who achieve are the lucky few.
When I am talking with people who are doers; who put themselves forward for things, who start businesses and step out of their comfort zone they never mention luck. They are much more interested in sharing tips and experiences that they can DO something with to aid their progression.
Sometimes what appears to be luck can be based on hours of practise or study. The more informed and experienced you are the ‘luckier’ you will appear.It is important to remember that hours of study and practice does not happen by accident, it takes dedication, sacrifice and hard work.
‘Some people are just in the right place at the right time’ goes one of the arguments I hear all the time. I accept this to a point. Sometimes you are lucky that an opportunity arises from you being in a particular place. If I am being harsh, I’d argue that if you are looking for work for example, you are never going to be ‘in the right place at the right time’ in bed or sat playing video games.
‘It’s not what you know it’s who you know’ goes another argument they put to me. Yes, I accept that sometimes there may be an element of luck involved with knowing someone who can open a door for you. On the whole, I believe that it is also about who you are. By this I mean you can know the right people but most people have to feel confident to recommend you. If you believe who you know is a bigger factor than what you know you can DO things to increase your networks and know more of the right people. Funnily enough, those who cite this to me are rarely DOING anything to expand who they know who could support them.
Believing in luck as strongly as some of these people do gives them a certain amount of let off. If luck decides if they move forward, why strive for it? They are content to believe they are just as skilled and just as talented but are not as lucky. The people who argue with me about this are skilled and talented but I can’t help feeling their skills and talents will be wasted waiting for luck.
There are experts who have studied this who will no doubt say I am being far too simplistic about this. Perhaps I am being simplistic but it is funny that the HARDER I work the ‘luckier’ I become.
Even if you go along with the idea that luck plays a bigger part than I am suggesting it is not helpful to be too passive when it comes to luck. If you assume luck, and therefore success, is out of your control then it follows that there is no need to TRY too hard.
If you believe luck exists but CHOOSE to take a more proactive approach to it, you are more likely to believe your ACTIONS and your MINDSET can influence the luck in your life.
Some people do appear to have a good deal of luck and the probability of success is increased. Some people do appear to have terrible luck but they also go on to be successful. The probability of achieving success for these people is lower and the road a whole lot rockier but it is still possible.
‘Yes’, say the people who argue with me on this matter ‘but what about the lottery? You have to be lucky to win the lottery, don’t you?’ Notice they are always people who start their sentences with ‘yes but….’! Of course, you have to be lucky to win the lottery jackpot. However, I still maintain that I am never going to be ‘lucky’ enough to win the lottery because I never get off my arse to buy a ticket.
I recently met a woman at a spa hotel who had won her stay. I was really impressed and thought how lucky she was. On talking to her she told me that she regularly wins prizes. I was even more impressed! Then she told me that she spends about two hours every night after work entering competitions. Suddenly she didn’t seem quite so lucky. She was actually spending hours finding the competitions then entering them in order to be so lucky.
I liked the idea of winning a nice stay at a beautiful hotel or going on a wonderful holiday so I started entering competitions. To date I have entered nearly three hundred competitions and have not won a thing! I am starting to feel deflated and am beginning to give up. Here lies the difference between a successful person and a non-successful person. The ‘lucky’ lady I met does not give up and I am on the brink of giving up. PERSEVERANCE is a greater determinate of success than luck.
Go MAKE your own luck……
Which side of the lucky fence do you sit on? What is your view of luck and success? Leave your comments below.