Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Luck, Genes, and Evil Means

"Must be nice!" is a common refrain in response to an unasked question of success. So often people will see the super-successful and assume they got successful through luck, genes, or evil means. Here are a few thoughts on each of these three things.

Luck is not what it really seems to the casual observer. Luck is not some commodity handed out by the Fates. So what is luck? To me luck, at the very least, is the condition of being receptive when an opportunity arises. This may require hard work and a determined drive. And that is exactly why people are so quick to attribute others' successes to this mystical force called luck. It keeps them from having to face their own shortcomings. In the words of Eddie Cantor: "It takes 20 years to make an overnight success".

Genes are neither a major nor a minor factor to being successful. History is filled with almost cliched stories of people who overcame poverty, abuse, broken-homes, crippling disease, learning disabilities, and physical handicaps to become huge successes. Once upon a time, way back in high school I was in a support group. One day in this support group I made the comment that my parents' divorce did not affect me. Wow! Everyone started accusing me of denial. I tried to clarify that while the divorce may have had some effect, it was not a limitation on what I did. That explanation still didn't please them, but I refused even then to allow others to make excuses on my behalf.

Evil means. Yes, it is a sad fact that some people do resort to evil means to get ahead. They may appear successful, but that's impossible. Success achieved this way is nothing more than an empty charade. Unfortunately our media loves to focus on what they call "fallen heroes". These people were never heroes in the first place.

Luck, genes, and evil means? No. Hard work, persistence, and honesty.


At 6:44 AM, Blogger Pug8 said...

One of my very ownsayings is, "luck is for those who cannot do for themselves". I think that wishing someone luck is suggesting that they are not capable of their own accord, and it is insulting, even if the best of intentions are meant.

I would say that people who follow your concept of hard work persistence and honesty are much more fulfilled in every aspect of their lives.

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Chuck said...

It's extremely easy to envy other people their success and demean it to compensate for our lack of success.

It's hard to achieve it.

Good thoughts on success. Thanks.


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