Now, I’m pretty sure I have some Irish running around in my ancestry somewhere, along with some ornery Scots and Greeks who didn’t pass on the “getting tan” genes when they passed on the rest of my DNA. And the Irish seem to have the lock on “luck.” Or Frank Sinatra. Not quite sure.
But even with the random DNA strands hidden by a leprechaun (hey, that’s why I’m so short!) — I’m more a subscriber to what Thomas Jefferson says about Luck: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Now, the idea of luck vs. perseverance are in direct opposition of each other. Luck is chance, something that occurs beyond one’s control. And you can be “lucky” to find all sorts of things — a penny, a soul mate, a book contract… But luck has nothing to do with whether or not you are ready to receive your good fortune.
You can be lucky enough to find your soul mate, but what if YOU are a mess he/she wouldn’t want to be with? You still have to do the work to be the best you can be, before that luck bears any success. I don’t believe there is such a thing as overnight success — but I do think there are degrees of sacrifice. Your comfort level of sacrifice is a direct reflection to how soon or how big that “luck” works your way, I believe. We look at Hollywood stars or even authors who seem to “suddenly” make the A lists or the NY Times list. But what we don’t see are all the years of study, of dedication, of sacrifice even when it seemed an impossible hill to climb. Each of us has our own path of perseverance to follow and it’s impossible to compare one path with another, because the difficulties, the obstacles and the steps forward are so uniquely our own.
So I suppose for me, luck isn’t in opposition to perseverance, it walks hand in hand. You have to maintain a belief in luck to keep going. You have to continue to believe that you can find the pot of gold at the end so you’ll keep walking. There was a really powerful story called The Last Lecture, by a man named Randy Pausch, who was asked to share his Last lecture when he realized it would be his last: He was dying of cancer. His lecture is about life, about overcoming obstacles and about living, so I’ll end with one of his quotes:
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture