Careers

"You're not smart, you're just lucky"

  • Last Updated:
  • May 24th, 2018 1:18 am
Tags:

Poll: Which represents why you're successful

  • Total votes: 164. You have voted on this poll.
Luck
 
31
19%
Hard Work
 
18
11%
Combination of both luck and hard work
 
115
70%
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 7, 2004
1463 posts
362 upvotes
Toronto

"You're not smart, you're just lucky"

Was recently having a chat with a friend who is.... between jobs at the moment.... and throughout the discussion he kept insisting that people who are successful in their careers are for the most part just lucky and not particularly smart/capable.

I don't consider myself to be particularly successful. There are people who are better than me at my job and there are people who are worse than me but I've made a comfortable living for myself through what I consider to be having a good work ethic and a drive to grow and improve my situation. In fairness, I think there was an element of "right place, right time" in terms of developing my skill set that brought me to where I am today but I'm not sure that I'd attribute that to luck rather than making the right decision to pursue an opportunity that was presented to me. I could have just as easily declined the opportunity and ended up very differently.

This friend in general has only seen marginal success in his career and chalks his (self-admittedly, bleak) situation up to just being unlucky and not having the same advantages as everyone else. I think he's just made decisions that didn't work out the way he had hoped.

So, do you attribute your success and failures to luck, hard work, or a combination of each?
34 replies
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2017
688 posts
132 upvotes
Toronto
need both to be successful. probably more luck
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 7, 2004
1463 posts
362 upvotes
Toronto
DimsumDeals wrote:
May 14th, 2018 4:45 pm
need both to be successful. probably more luck
Is luck real though? What about that expression that successful people make their own luck? Is "right place right time" considered luck? or a happy coincidence? or?
Newbie
Nov 26, 2016
90 posts
34 upvotes
Life is all about timing. Hard work is generally overstated for getting most jobs/careers. Obviously a doctor needs to be focused and study hard, but you’re average high paying job will typically require simply knowing the right person, applying at the right time, having a resume and cover letter someone likes, etc.
Banned
May 13, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
Really vague and general question.
What is "luck"? Are you defining luck as circumstances we cannot control?
Deal Addict
Sep 4, 2007
1184 posts
581 upvotes
Edmonton
Your capacity to do hard work in the first place is an endowment bestowed upon you from birth. Some people have no attention span (ADD / ADHD), some people have no discipline (impulse control issues) and some people can focus on what they need to do for hours and hours. The fact that you are able to do hard work at all is 100% luck as it is a product of your birth and your environment, both of which you have no influence over as a child.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
1710 posts
561 upvotes
Alberta
gqbluez wrote:
May 14th, 2018 4:58 pm
Is luck real though? What about that expression that successful people make their own luck? Is "right place right time" considered luck? or a happy coincidence? or?
I understand what you’re saying. My current role I got from a recruiter who just happens to contact me. So it could be seen as luck, but I’ve spent time cultivating those relationships in advance and kept my linked in profile up to date. So that could have contributed to my “luck”.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
9038 posts
2932 upvotes
Brampton
Part of being successful is:
Being smart enough to know you're not smart enough to succeed on smarts alone and smart enough to know how to put yourself into the right place and time and and when to apply the right amount of effort.

I attribute failures to others or things outside of my control.
Last edited by tebore on May 16th, 2018 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Nov 15, 2004
15396 posts
1960 upvotes
Toronto
You should read this: https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10663.html

Most successful people are smart, but the ones who are really successful owe it to luck and the opportunities they were presented with far more than to anything they did. The key is to be ready to take advantage of any opportunities you come across.
Could HAVE, not could OF. What does 'could of' even mean?
Member
Jul 21, 2009
248 posts
142 upvotes
Ottawa/Gatineau
"The harder I work, the luckier I get" (Samuel Goldwyn)
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2010
3874 posts
783 upvotes
Toronto
Piro21 wrote:
May 16th, 2018 12:28 pm
You should read this: https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10663.html

Most successful people are smart, but the ones who are really successful owe it to luck and the opportunities they were presented with far more than to anything they did. The key is to be ready to take advantage of any opportunities you come across.
I think that's how they're linked. Smart doesn't mean being willing to work 16 hours a day and not complain. Smart is about making the right decisions, meeting the right people, being able to identify an opportunity and having (or knowing how to acquire) what it takes to take advantage of that opportunity. Knowing what it takes, and being able to do that - and of course in certain situations, like medical school, that involves hard work - but not working yourself into the ground just because you think that's somehow noble and virtuous and will be rewarded.
Deal Addict
Jan 9, 2011
1366 posts
611 upvotes
Vancouver
If it's about luck, then you can definitely raise your chances.

Everyone knows the guy who does 1 job application a week vs the guy who pumps out 50 in a weekend.

The first guys is gonna call the 2nd guy lucky when he gets a job.
Sr. Member
Aug 27, 2004
610 posts
42 upvotes
Cyberspace
twostepdrew wrote:
May 16th, 2018 2:18 pm
"The harder I work, the luckier I get" (Samuel Goldwyn)
I think the origin of the quote might be Thomas Jefferson:
"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
but I agree with it.Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Former Know-It-All
Deal Addict
Sep 4, 2007
1184 posts
581 upvotes
Edmonton
twostepdrew wrote:
May 16th, 2018 2:18 pm
"The harder I work, the luckier I get" (Samuel Goldwyn)
How often opportunity knocks is almost entirely up to luck. How often you can answer when opportunity knocks is still related to luck, but mostly related to how hard you work preparing for it.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 16, 2010
2342 posts
971 upvotes
Burlington
Probably a mix of both.

I used to be a teller at TD, then promoted to financial advisor. While i was working full time I started working on my CFA. I had just finished level one when someone from my family was talking to someone about the program I was doing, mostly because I spent all my time studying and never came home to visit, etc. The conversation was 100% not about the CFA and just my absence from family events.

Turns out that guy was hiring for what has been my last job for almost 5 years. Was I lucky? Absolutely, right place at the right time, but had I not been working full time and studying what FELT like full time I wouldn't have been presented with the opportunity.

Ended up moving and relocated my entire life, best decision I've ever made.

Top

Thread Information

There is currently 1 user viewing this thread. (0 members and 1 guest)