“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it”; wise words indeed, frequently attributed to America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, that imply we create our own luck.
Success is often linked with innate traits like talent, tenacity, mindset, grit and self-discipline. But Scott Kaufman, a Colombia University Psychologist adds, “While I have found that a certain number of traits – including passion, perseverance, imagination, intellectual curiosity, and openness to experience – do significantly explain differences in success, I am often intrigued by just how much the variance is often left unexplained”.
Many recent studies, including one by Cornell University economist, Robert Frank, point to how there is ‘systematic evidence of the role of luck’ such as what month you’re born in making it more or less likely you will become a CEO or a professional athlete.
It’s not easy to measure luck. After all, it comes down to chance and randomness. But an in-depth study was conducted at the University of Catania in Italy, involving simulations of individuals with ‘wealth distribution we see in the real world’ alongside the ‘talent distribution’; what the researchers observed was that it wasn’t ‘the most talented that became the wealthiest’ but ‘rather those regarded as the luckiest’.
The simulation involved looking at 1000 virtual people over a period of forty years. Some of these imaginary people were given lucky breaks, whilst others were hit by misfortune – as would happen in the real world. Concluding, the researchers, led by Professor Alessandro Pluchino, wrote, ‘It is evident that the most successful individuals are also the luckiest ones, and the less successful individuals are the unluckiest ones.
Believing in luck encourages us to grab opportunities, to have hope and to push ourselves. Aside from doing our utmost to strive for desirable results, it seems that there is a very real element that we can't control. You never know when it’s about to sprinkle its magic on you.
The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized - Scientific American Blog Network
What Role Does Luck Play In Success? (forbes.com)
World's most successful people are simply the luckiest | Daily Mail Online
Why Luck Is the Silent Partner of Success - Knowledge@Wharton (upenn.edu)