Sunday, March 25, 2012

Are you lucky enough to be lucky?

Having a hard luck is one excuse that we all give when we fail to do something in life; whereas we just forget to appreciate our good luck when we succeed. Can luck really be good or bad? There have been numerous debates over the sheer existence of luck. I believe, there are two types of people when it comes to believing in luck - the ones who do, and the ones who don't.

Successful people deny its existence, as they believe you can create your own luck and guide your destiny. Whereas the not-so-fortunate say - luck is all what it takes to be successful. When a person wins a lottery or a jackpot at a casino in Las Vegas we say " She just got lucky!". But when another person wins the World Championship in boxing we say it's her talent that helped her win. Why does the boxer's luck not come in the focus then? Successful individuals are masters of seizing the opportunities but isn't it their luck that provides them these opportunities, to begin with?

Once Harsha Bhogle an adept Indian cricketer and an extraordinary cricket commentator described the difference between Talent Vs Attitude in his address to students of IIM-Ahmedabad. He spoke about an example which really amazed me - that of a footballer and her talent. He described a footballer who plays the role of a striker(a forward on a soccer team) in her team. She waits patiently for her co-players to pass the ball to her and has very little time to convert it into a goal(sometimes just a single kick has to do the magic!). She keeps adjusting her positions throughout the match so that she is present at the right place at the right time(I call it - @RP@RT). Now it's her talent that helps her to be in those positions and not her luck. Her luck does play a role, but not as significant as her talent.

We try to associate luck with various such synonyms as destiny or intuition or fate or chance. But luck is really none of these alone. It's probably the super-set of all of these. Luck is when you get a chance to follow your intuition and your destiny favors you. It's when you consciously leverage your skills to make yourself available @RP@RT. Nobody is bestowed with 100% luck. Likewise, nobody achieves success only with her talent. It's the combination of both that helps individuals succeed.

So what really is Luck? Can we rely on it? Can we be sure that luck will favor us if we work hard? Not always! But the key is - to not depend on luck and do what it takes to succeed, without bothering. There is a dramatic saying in Indian Bollywood films - "Agar aap kisi cheez ko sache dil se chaho to pooree kainat usko aap se milane ki koshish main lag jaati hai ", which means - If you genuinely want something from the bottom of your heart, the whole mankind buckles up to help you achieve it. We think it is true in case of the most successful people around us like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or the more recent one - Mark Zuckerberg. Was it their talent that helped them distinguish themselves or was it their luck? It's hard to tell. I would leave it upon you to decide for yourself because -
"You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path "
 - Steve JobsStanford Commencement Address, 2005

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