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I thought about what is takes to be successful.  Most people would say that will power and hard work bring about success.  Upon reflection, I decided that this is a mistaken belief.

I started by examining the idea of hard work.  The following is a fact.  Some people work hard and become successful and some people work hard and do not become successful.  Therefore, there is no relationship between working hard and becoming successful.  This is a Christian Protestant myth that most people carry around in the developed countries.

Of course, I am not suggesting that people should be lazy.  I am simply suggesting that hard work is not the main ingredient of being successful.  For example, a person applies to graduate school.  He or she has good grades, great recommendations and excellent statement of interest.  The problem is that so do hundreds of other people who apply.  The person may have worked hard, but so did everybody else applying to the school.

So, what does it take to be successful?  After careful consideration, I decided that the main ingredient is luck.  For example, the person’s graduate application may land on the desk of a professor who happened to have taken similar courses when he was young and sees himself in the applicant.  Or, the applicant’s name is Joe or Jane and so is his kid’s name and he is convinced that people with the name Joe or Jane are smart.  Or, he is in an exceptionally good mood in the morning and the person’s application happens to be the first one he looks at; and, he is cheerful enough to just say “yes” to it.  Basically, making it at the end is a matter of luck.

People who are lucky happen to be born to a the right parents, connected to the right people or end up in the right circumstances.  They actually do not need to work very hard.  Lucky people can be average because luck is on their side.  Therefore, I believe that all one really needs is luck to succeed.

M. J. Mandoki