What is luck?

The Oxford dictionary defines luck as the success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions. Machiavelli defined it as factors beyond our control, such as country of birth, family wealth, educational and societal background, etc.ManMissingTrain

Most people would classify it as getting splashed by a bus, missing the tube by a few seconds or simply bumping into the right contact at a networking event. Some dismiss the suggestion that it exists all together.

This in turn causes disagreement over the impact that luck has on our lives. There is an obvious benefit to being born into the Rothchild family over a poverty-stricken family in Central Africa and no one would argue against that. But you can affect the luck from here on out.

Machiavelli proposed the theory that our lives and the paths we take is decided by 50% luck and the other 50% is influenced by our own decisions. Therefore, while you cannot change the amount of wealth your family has, or the societal and educational background that you came from, you can make decisions about everyday events in your personal and business life.
brucePeople always assume that they cannot influence luck. That it is a matter of timing, a pre-determined list of events that cannot be affected by individuals. This is simply not true. Those  who appear ‘lucky’,  are the people that make that extra cold call at the end of the day, the ones who take the time to attend frequent networking events, the ones who simply arrive at the office on time.

You make your own luck by putting yourself in the position where you can potentially meet the right person or make the right connection. It may be hard work to attend multiple networking events, but your friend who found their ideal job whilst speaking to the CEO of Morgan Stanley at an event, they made their own luck. Whilst it was luck and pure coincidence that their paths crossed, they increased their chances of it happening greatly. They could have easily spent the evening at home instead but they made the effort to attend the event.They made their own luck.

You can make yours.


Toby Swann, Associate – IT and Software Engineering