Is it really Luck, or Something Else?
Luck plays a very small part of my success. So let’s not give luck more credit than it deserves.
Professional gamblers don’t believe in luck
Why Luck is not Relevant
It isn’t luck that got me out of bed at 1:30 AM to write this blog post? In other words, did luck draw me out of my warm bed on this chilly fall morning, or something else?
I’m amused when well-off people attribute their success to luck. Warren Buffett does this and it’s very humble of him to do so. However, he gives the wrong impression that luck played a major role in his wealth and success. I say it had very little to do with why he is successful. And successful for 60 years investing? That’s a lot of luck.
Is it luck I am here today, or something else?
Golf Legend Gary Player coined this phrase “Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get.” and here’s how it came about.
“I was practicing in a bunker down in Texas and this good old boy with a big hat stopped to watch. The first shot he saw me hit went in the hole. He said, “You got 50 bucks if you knock the next one in.” I holed the next one. Then he says, “You got $100 if you hole the next one.” In it went for three in a row. As he peeled off the bills he said, “Boy, I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in my life.” And I shot back, “Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get.” That’s where the quote originated.” Gary Player
So is it luck or practice or both?
President Obama’s misleading statement.
Here is President Obama’s entire speech on the subject that was used against him. He later regretted it and backtracked on it. You didn’t do it on your own is the theme of his speech.
Obama, July 13: “There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
“The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.” President Barak Obama
The outcome of Obama Speech
His real message is we are better off if we work together. So a team sport needs to be played with other people. In other words, he’s not really telling us anything we already don’t know. Unfortunately, his message was drowned out by one sentence, “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.” So never uses the word “Luck” but it looks similar.
The American system that the President speaks about is:
- Created by Americans, for Americans.
- Paid for by tax-paying Americans.
- The United States government is an employee of the American Taxpaying public
The infrastructure was not created by the government, it was created by the people and paid for by the people through taxation. Private contractors built it with taxpayers’ dollars. The government is and always will be employees who work for and on behalf of the American people.
The internet is a government project paid for by the taxpayers. In other words, our employees, the Federal Government, created the internet for their benefit to better serve us. I give credit to my government workers but they still work for me, as does the United States Government. In other words, the President is my employee, ad he is yours.
Therefore when I hire someone, they are working for me, not themselves. I am taking the risk not them.
The same applies to the government. When we vote in Presidents, we are taking the risk that this man or woman will work for us, in our best interest, not their own.
“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.” Barrack Obama
The government is our employee
The President makes the government this special entity only subject to its own will. In other words, the government for the people and by the people is just a giant employee-owned institution created to benefit the American people. It’s a group of well-paid workers who work for you and me, nothing more. Therefore anything they create like the internet belongs to us, not them.
Did someone else make my business happen? Of course not and it’s a silly notion to even imply that this is the case. So why did the President say this, and soon thereafter retracted it? Because the President wanted to imply that it’s the government that made these things happen because of the infrastructure that was put in place before he was even born.
Let’s not forget that the government is nothing more than an employee of the people. In fact, the President at the time of his speech is a wage earner and employee of this same government.
Back to Warren Buffets quote on Luck
WARREN BUFFETT: Well I came up with that a long, long time ago to describe the situation that – I was lucky. I was born in the United States. The odds were 30 or 40-to-1 against that. I had some lucky genes. I was born at the right time. If I’d been born thousands of years ago I’d be some animal’s lunch because I can’t run very fast or climb trees. So there’s so much chance in how we enter the world. And –
LIU: And you were always aware to make sure your children and their grandchildren, and your grandchildren would be grounded.
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes. And we’re not – how you came out of the womb has really nothing to do with what kind of person you are. You decide what kind of person you’re going to be. It does decide whether maybe you never have to do an item of work in your life and maybe determine whether you’re fighting uphill all of the time, but where in my life, in my eyes is we’re all created equal, and but we don’t all have an equal opportunity by a longshot. And my kids really work every day in trying to even up the scorecard. Luck plays a big role in life. But you also get to choose how you’re going to use that luck and whether you want to try to make more of your own luck.”
Let’s not be confused with what Luck really is
Luck defined “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”
So am I lucky to be born in The USA? In other words, is it luck that brought me here today or something else? Is it by chance I was even born? Of course not. The notion that I was luckier than someone in a third world country is absurd at best. The reason I am here is because of many relatives that found their way here from foreign shores. To say this is random is silly at best and misleading at worse.
Is it by chance I was born to wonderful parents and given the opportunity of a great education that I paid for through hard work? Doesn’t make sense.
My Grandfather crossed the Atlantic for a better life back in Italy after World War I, about 100 years ago. So Was it luck that brought him here with no education? Of course not, it was the courage of his grandmother that took him from his mother with her courageous consent. Luck never entered into it.
Was it luck that my father survived 4 years from the second world war, or something else? Some people say God protected him.
Maybe better educated and entered the corp of engineers because of his hard military school work. I think he survived because he was more educated and could be used for a different purpose other than carrying a gun into battle.
Is it by chance that I was born in the USA or by design from my parents who created me? So being lucky to have been born in the USA was never random, it was by design. Therefore the same children I grew up with, under very similar circumstances, who turned to drugs and died, that was bad luck?
Is it luck that I work 14 hours a day and give everything away to those I love and care about? I do these things because I like doing it and it gives me great pleasure to give things away.
Why do people say it’s luck?
In my opinion, people fall in love with the notion that their success is based on luck because Warren Buffett coined the phrase and others picked up on it. Therefore It became a sort of mantra that made Buffett look like a normal regular guy.
I could even say it’s pretty cool to say I was lucky which negates all my work, courage, perseverance, discipline, and a whole lot more. Therefore I become just one big lucky guy, right?
*If good luck is represented by Warren Buffett, the 90 billion dollar man, then bad luck would be what? So I had bad luck or less lucky because my dad was a cop and his dad was a congressman? See how the theory falls apart a bit when you dig a little deeper.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dad was a cop too. Is Arnold the product of a luckier cop than I?
I can say it’s luck for winning the billion to 1 lottery. In other words, my actions for getting the ticket has no relevance in this situation but reverts back to the random “luck of the draw”.
Therefore my results over the years are because I am continually lucky? In other words, my one time luck at birth created all this for me? I say this notion is absurd and creates victimization. So I minimize my own accomplishments and victimize those less fortunate than I. Therefore those that succeed from nothing were lucky too?
You can see how this is silly at best because many poor unfortunates have risen up to accomplish much greater things than I. Dr. Ben Carson is a perfect example of rising from poverty to a world-renowned surgeon.
I see victimization as the biggest hindrance to accomplishment. So therefore I am lucky and you are an unlucky victim of your race, color creed, origin, sex, or whatever? In other words, my success is due to luck. So why should I continue to work at improving since I am so lucky things will work out for me?
I am successful because I created it. It’s all mine to continue or to lose. Therefore my future and those of my children and their children will be based on my perseverance and their efforts, and not some silly notion of luck used to make the fortunate less guilty and more humble in their appearance. And victimizing and creating excuses not to try to make your own world better because of things out of your control.
My accomplishments are a result of my ability to use knowledge and information provided by others, just like everyone else. It’s easier being in America, than my second home in Ethiopia, but my fell
I take responsibility for all things. That’s a good place to start and not attribute success to dumb luck-based nonsense.
Mike Addis, Carlsbad, California, all rights reserved.