All of us in America are absurdly lucky. We live in one of the most obscenely prosperous nations on the planet. Our government, although woefully financially corrupt, has a wonderful track record of not taking it out on us physically anywhere near as often as other governments have. The vast majority of us not only don’t go to sleep hungry, we also eat 4-6 giant meals a day and fall asleep in a high-tech mattress in a safe and secure home. If you have yet to live in another country and venture out past the “gringo zone” let me assure you that this is not even close to what the heartbreakingly large majority of the planet experiences on a daily basis. I have no interest in causing any untoward feelings of guilt with all of this. It is merely fodder to reinforce the basic tenet that we are:
Absurdly; fantastically lucky.
Like, seriously, stupidly lucky.
This past year has been a hell of a year for me and my family. Filled with massive amounts of chaos, upheaval, change, disaster, despair, delight, success, epic failure and massive amounts of luck. Most of the luck has been of the decidedly bad variety with a small sprinkling of mildly not bad luck. But even as I look back at this ‘firenado’ of chaos I realize, retrospectively, that I was in fact über lucky. And overall I have been super lucky in my life and business. I have put in extra ordinary levels of hard work and effort and been blessed by many seen and unseen examples of good luck.
It has gotten me to thinking about the very idea of luck versus hard work and what it means in business, jobs and success. Most professionals and entrepreneurs would argue that their success was based mostly on skill, talent and hard work. That all the accolades and accomplishment they received were their just reward. But in any competition like business there are only a few winners and a vast mob of angry or despondent losers. The vast majority of people, employees, teams and businesses lose. Very few of us win. Yet most people and most businesses try pretty danged hard to succeed. But not all of them do.
Is it hard work or is it luck?
One of the hardest things for me in the last year (besides being kicked out of our new home country and having to flee back to the US.) has been trying to look for a job. (there are few things more demoralizing)
I have been incredibly lucky in my life. I have not had to apply for a job in over 23 years. I never had to apply or even look for a job as the jobs came to me. Either someone I knew reached out to me, or a company knew of my work and reached out directly. I thought at the time it was because of my immense skills, talents and hard work (and maybe a dash of good looks) but now as I look back I realize that underneath all of that was the hidden power of luck. Of course it was the result of my accumulation of skills, talent and luck combined with hard work. But luck was always there like the unseen hand of the proverbial market. Most people I know did not have this experience.
Most people had the experience I have had the last 12 months and 12 days. Most people were unlucky.
The thing with luck is it seems like it’s earned when it’s good and a curse when it’s bad. Such is the force of our torturedly blessed psyches.
Would YOU trade all of your accumulated good luck for the sum total of your hard work, talent and skills? Would you?