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On Luck

The other night, we were talking about luck. Kathleen reports that nobody believes in it on Wall Street, at least as regards personal prosperity. She knows this because most people are uncomfortable with the way she attributes her success. In the general view of her peers, Kathleen became a leader in the practice of ETF law because she worked very hard. She did work very hard. but in Kathleen's view, she became a leader because she was drafted to take the place of an associate who left the practice of law to have a baby. Kathleen continued to work very hard, and eventually she became a leader. But her hard work, while it made her available for promotion, did not ensure that promotion. Far from it. People don't want to hear this, however. Maybe it's wrong to say that they don't believe in luck. Maybe they're afraid of it. Because good luck is usually withheld.

I know that, if and when this blog ever takes off - and it very well may never take off, but just inch its way onward, capturing one permanent new reader for every hundred visitors (I'm being optimistic) - that I'll have luck to thank. That the right person will have visited on the right day and been in a position to tell all the right people. My job is to prepare for that visit every day without expecting it. This is the other side of what I wrote about last Friday. All too often in the past year I have wilted in disappointment because the day has not brought fortune's nod. But somewhere during the winter, I gave up the idea of giving up. It just wasn't realistic. And so life became simpler. Later, I learned not to wilt. Much later.

There's a difference between believing in luck and depending on it. It's the latter that leads to tears and resentment. It also tempts one to do nothing, to fail, in short, to be prepared for luck when it comes - and goes, without one's having known that the right visitor visited on the wrong day and left with nothing to say to all the right people. The greater the right visitor's acquaintance with all the right people, the more difficult it will be to convince that visitor that one is doing something worth talking about. It may indeed take many visits.

This is not whistling in the dark. I'm past that. But this does surprise me, this trim, athletic talk of being prepared. (Well, trim for me.) And the consciousness behind it. How can it  have taken so long to learn? Or is the marvel rather that one can still grow up so close to sixty?


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right on, believe in luck but do not depend upon it. how else could a montana high school drop out attain a PhD and international fame as a maker of quality pharmaceuticals. LUCK, i bumped into pauline on a ward at Great Lakes. Her irish tenacity got us through Purdue along with a son who went to ND, saturday ND 49 PU 28 now that is the other side of luck. like Socrates expounded, the Harder I Works the Luckier I gets. chuck

It's also all about creating more opportunities for luck to strike. Luck does not search you out, but unless you continually do what you love, put yourself out there and stand unafraid in the face of failure, luck rarely shows her face.

Exactly. I learned a great deal about luck from your persistence during the past year.

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