Have you ever wondered why people who won by taking a risk are praised but don’t give the same amount of respect or praise to a person who won with the help of luck? Lucky people are envied and looked down upon when compared to the ones who take on risky stuff all the time. Would it confuse you when I say that Luck and Risk are the same in terms of definition and the only difference lies in how people perceive them?
Let’s go down this rabbit hole.
In this post you will find
What is the difference between Risk and Luck?
Defining luck is simple, “it is the events that happen that are not in your control which determine whether you succeed or fail in your endeavor”
Luck is predominantly looked like a positive chain of events that lead to success in life. But it works both ways. There is good luck and bad luck.
To get a better understanding of luck let me introduce another word to you, ‘Risk’.
This is how the definition of risk goes ” it is the events that happen that are not in your control which determine whether you succeed or fail in your endeavor”
If you notice, this is the same definition I gave for luck.
Luck and Risk are one and the same, but people choose to look at luck as a positive and risk as a negative. Every successful person does not want to associate himself with luck, but after every failure, we lament the cause of ‘bad luck’ that prevented you from winning.
For example, if you buy few stocks and they go up in value, you will claim that it was a calculated risk and it paid off. But you will never claim that you got lucky even though the events that caused the price of the stock to go up are not in your control.
This sounds biased right.
Just remember that luck and risk are one and the same when you look at it in terms of events, not in your control, influencing your life. People just chose to look down on luck.
Why is Luck considered taboo?
Everything in life, good and bad, depends on a chain of events happening that will never be in your control.
People don’t attribute luck to mundane things in life. You reaching your workplace on time is also luck, what if your phone battery died and the alarm did not go off? What if thee was a flat tire? What if you spilled coffee on yourself after getting dressed? The list is endless. But we don’t give these scenarios much importance because they rarely happen, but keep in mind that they do happen.
Even the process of you being born is a game of luck where the odds are placed at 1:400 trillion.
Given all these, we still do not like to call ourselves lucky
The main reason why people consider luck to be degrading or even taboo is because they feel that if they got lucky then they have not done anything to achieve what they did achieve. They fear that people will think that they id not do any work and they were just lazying around. All these thoughts naturally lead to imposter syndrome.
But this is when we need to understand what luck actually is. People who keep lazying around all day will never get lucky, it is the only sure way to not get lucky. Here is an amazing saying by Seneca.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”Seneca
I have done a podcast episode on this quote as well. You can check out my Merkol podcast if you want.
What Seneca is trying to say is simple, you need to do your work, practice your craft, go in search of opportunities. If you keep doing these for a prolonged period of time, the events that are always happening around you will align themselves in a way to give you a shot at whatever it is that you have been working on.
People will say that if they do all the work, naturally they will get a shot at their dream. It may not be the case. You believe you will get what you’re working for but it may not happen. I know people who have worked hard at one thing but never actually made it.
For example, Mark Zuckerberg would not have been one of the richest entrepreneurs in the world if the Winklevoss twins had not shared their idea with him.
Is it Zuckerberg’s good luck that he became rich or would you say that he worked for it?
It is not just luck, he needed to be a pro coder, he needed to build face mash to showcase his talent. He worked hard, worked on his craft, and when the Winklevoss twins offered him an opportunity, he turned up to find out what that opportunity was. Then lady luck struck him.
Everyone knows the rest.
The importance of luck cannot be understated because there are problems with it when you attribute too much of this good luck to your ability. Simply put, you go over your head.
Problems that arise when not conisdering importance of luck /chance:
You simply will not appreciate what it is that is given to you. You might get a job that you a million dollars a year. But if you consider that all that money you have earned is only because of your intelligence, then all this fame and money will get into your head and you will lose all of it faster than you have made it.
The people snippet from David Roberts of Vox, explains the importance of luck beautifully.
The less credit/responsibility you believe we are due, the more you believe our trajectories are shaped by forces outside our control (and sheer chance), the more compassionate you will be toward failure and the more you will expect back from the fortunate. When luck is recognized, softening its harsh effects becomes the basic moral project.David Roberts – Vox
So whatever happens in life, good or bad, always remember that half the reason why is attributed to events outside of your control.
Acknowledging luck does not mean denying all your hard work. It doesn’t mean people are nothing more than the sum of their inheritances, or that merit has no role in outcomes. It doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be held responsible for bad things they do or rewarded for good things.
It just means that no one “deserves” hunger, homelessness, ill health, and all the bad that is there in this world. Similarly, no one “deserves” the giant fortunes which they claim to have achieved all by themselves and their hard work either. All such outcomes involve a large portion of luck.
So if you are one of the fortunate ones, it doesn’t mean it is your chance to gloat. It is a moment for you to acknowledge luck and show gratitude for it. Use this fortunate moment to help people around you who have fallen along the way to also come up in life.
Take every small thing such as having food to eat tonight. Look at the chain of events that made it possible. You will realize that a lot is attributed to events, not in your control (luck). Embrace the importance of luck and keep working on what it is that you want in life because the more shots you take, the more chances that you will get ‘lucky’.
Hope you enjoyed this article. If you did not agree with what I have mentioned or if you have anything extra to add to this article then please do share it in the comments section of this article. Let’s learn together.