The place of luck


Luck is preparation meeting opportunity

  • Fred Siegel

We have in the past, talked about luck as part of the phenomena that some people are wont to place so much emphasis on in the quest towards successful achievement.  So what really is luck and what role does it play in aiding you to achievement and wealth? This week, we examine this topic in some detail. 

The new Webster’s dictionary defines luck as ‘chance, good fortune, success due to chance or the tendency for a person to be persistently fortunate (or unfortunate)’.

Luck, according to Fred Siegel, is blind chance, a total accident that happens to you for no reason.

Luck…from where?

Some believe that luck comes from God.  Others have more ‘New Age’ beliefs that luck is a matter of positive thinking – if you put out ‘good vibrations’, they tend to come back to you.  “The saying, ‘What goes round comes round’ reflects this,” explains Siegel.

Gambling is the purest case where ‘luck’ can be observed.  It is exciting to win occasionally, but the laws of probability say that in the long-term, the house will win and you will lose.

Even if heads come up ten times in a row, blind chance is still determining the outcome of each toss. While it is true that some people win at gambling, it is hard to point out anyone who obtained money that way and used it as the basis for a fortune.

Research shows that not only do such ‘winners’ not build fortunes but also within a few years, most lottery winners and even people who inherit money end up back where they started.  Money obtained without effort seldom changes your life.

Using George Classon’s classical work as a basis, Siegel defines luck as ‘preparation meeting opportunities’. While Classons believes that good luck is actually made up mostly of one taking prompt advantage of opportunities, which do present themselves once in a while, Siegel goes a little further to say that the things you do to prepare yourself and to go looking for opportunities will bring you more luck. He agrees however that exactly which opportunities you find may be based on blind chance (which is the pure luck aspect).

Hard work, procrastination and luck

While hard work appears to enhance luck, procrastination kills it. Through the years, many people have commented about the relationship between hard work and luck. People who are consistently lucky in business seem to be the ones who work the hardest both in preparation and in looking for opportunities.

We are all exposed to opportunities, but most people don’t act on them.  Or they don’t prepare themselves or put themselves in situations where they can meet extra opportunities.  It is (thus) their own shortcomings that cause them not to be ‘lucky’.

With regards to money, there is never a perfect time to save money and invest, but you must start anyway.  That puts you on the path to making your own luck and building an estate and particularly taking advantage of good investment opportunities when they do appear (as they are sure to appear).

If you procrastinate, you are rejecting opportunity.  When you feel that an opportunity is a good one, act promptly.  If you make a few mistakes, it is your tuition in the school of making your own luck, learn from it and move on.

Many people hope that ‘good luck’ will find them without any effort on their part.  They may never have thought about taking action.  Or they may have been afraid of failure.  Or they may have fallen into the bad habit of procrastination, thereby missing their opportunities.

Opportunities come from time to time

Take the investment world for instance: Opportunities for part ownership of some corporations came during the era of indigenization in Nigeria, and also in the spate of privatization.  They were here again through the instrumentality of banks’ and insurance companies’ consolidation.  Opportunities will also present themselves in other forms of asset ownership, such as entrepreneurship and real estate businesses. But you need to have prepared yourself by making some savings in the past in order to buy up some of these opportunities. And opportunities will keep presenting themselves as the economy continues to witness cycles, which come naturally.

So improve your skills and save up to take better advantage of opportunities.  And then get more exposure to the outside world to network and expand your coast of opportunities and TAKE ACTION when opportunities present themselves, as that is the basic means of conquering the fear of failure and grasping opportunity and ‘luck’.


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