‘Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity’

‘Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity’

This quote, attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, reminds us that we make our own luck. The difference between lucky and unlucky people, as we’ve seen before, is all in our perspective.

Luck isn’t just about being at the right place at the right time. It’s also about being ready for new opportunities. As Richard Wiseman’s 10-year study has shown:

Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

Are you a lucky or unlucky person? Or, to put it more precisely, are you prepared to be lucky?

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” [Goodreads]


  • I just don’t buy it based on personal experience. I’ve had mostly bad luck in life despite excellent preparation and work ethic and personal standards/morals. To the point that when I finally got a bit of a break, and was the only person out of maybe 30 to get this break, my brain couldn’t even process it. I walked around asking my friends, “WHY ME?” and actually feeling guilty about it, because I was SO unaccustomed to having things break my way professionally.

    You can get lucky with far less prep than many who are less lucky Ask those who just happened to live the next dorm room over from some Internet tycoons vs living a few dorm buildings away from them and therefore BY LUCK had opportunities that others didn’t have. Ask Bill Gates’ buddy from Harvard. (That would be Ballmer. 😉

    But prep alone without opportunity (ie, LUCK) WILL NOT get you lucky results, or my life would have turned out far different than it has. Most of my peers are company directors and GM’s by now. They’re all puzzled at, “What happened to Barb? Why isn’t she one of us?” — a woman with the same talents at work as they had (more in some cases), an accomplishment-oriented “will do all that it takes” attitude, just as socially very personable, and so on. And they and I have honestly concluded that it’s a case of unfortunate random back luck.

    Believing otherwise would only open a person in this situation up to many remaining decades of teeth gnashing about “WTF can I do differently? WTF have I been doing wrong?” that thousands of dollars and hours spent on business coaching, mentorship, and so on already, have not uncovered. My life’s too short for that. I’ve tossed myself in the frame of, “I’m just unlucky”, and I’ll be ready for the very-rare opportunities that might come my way, but I absolutely WILL NOT lose any sleep over it, because no one has been able tell me how to do a better job of executing at work and running across those opportunities than I already do.

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