The Myth Of Luck In Financial Success

Earlier this morning, I read a reply to a post on The Simple Dollar about improving your financial situation that got me thinking.

The Myth Of Luck In Financial Success

Leah W, along with a few other people, disagreed with some of what Trent said.

I’ll be honest, it’s hard to tell which of the comments are her own thoughts, and which ones are the comments of others, but it’s not about who wrote what, it’s about what was said.

Sam is a gentleman that had just written the following to Trent at The Simple Dollar in response to just about all the information available on his blog:

You think your world is all rainbows and puppies. Guess what? Karma will eventually bite you in the [rear]. Seven months ago I got fired from my job for no fault of my own the company was going under. Now I can’t pay my bills and I’m going to lose my house. Your life isn’t a real life.

Here is some of what Leah W. posted:

Not all people are so lucky. Trent often overlooks the “luck” factor and chalks it up to his hard work and dedication. Truly, that’s part of the mix. But some people work just as hard and are just as dedicated, but they end up like Sam.

It is true, many people work equally as hard and are just as determined as those around them, so what is it that makes some of them more financially successful than others?

I would not say luck.

Luck Favors The Prepared

Hard work and determination are great traits to possess, but are far from the complete package you need to reach your financial goals.

Two guys, Joe and Tim, are contracted to pick up and move five truck loads worth of dirt for $500. They both accept the job, and show up ready to work. They are both hardworking, dedicated people who have homes to take care of and families to support. Joe brings a shovel, Tim shows up in a tractor.

Is the illustration clear enough? It doesn’t matter who works harder, is more dedicated, or desires to succeed more. What matters is how you approach the situation.

Yes, both Joe and Tim will eventually finish the job and receive their payment, but Joe will be working 10 times longer than Tim simply because he didn’t prepare himself properly for the task at hand. It may have been lack of experience, lack of knowledge, apathy, or one of any other endless things, but regardless of the excuse, he wasn’t as ready as he thought.

Granted, some things come from experience, but by approaching your situation with some knowledge and a set plan, your chances of success, or “luck”, increase dramatically.

Play The Hand Your Dealt

Another comment posted in response to Trent’s article reads:

I think what we’re asking for here is a little sympathy, and maybe a little humbleness. It is about your choices, for sure, but it’s also about the hand life deals you. Sometimes, people get dealt a crappy hand. It’d be nice for Trent to acknowledge sometimes that his hand, all things considered, is actually pretty decent.

The assumption here is that your current financial standing has a direct correlation to the availability of success in your life.

Oprah Winfrey is one of the best examples I can think of. She was born to unwed teenage parents and was raised by her poor grandmother who couldn’t give her much in the way of material things. Eventually she was sent away to live with her mother, who was also quite poor. After running away from home, she was once again relocated to live with her father.

If Oprah can go from a poor, parentless runaway to one of the world’s most successful people who gives out cars to every member of her audience, then what is your excuse for not being able to simply pay your rent? It isn’t luck and it isn’t your lack of hard work or determination, it is your approach to the situation.

Some people may have a better starting point than others, but that is no excuse to give up. It is always the unsuccessful people who attribute the success of others to luck. This attitude of giving up is dangerous to your personal achievements and will hinder your forward progress.

Make Your Own Luck

Arm yourself with the necessary tools of research, knowledge, and support and you will be able to successfully reach your goals. Excuses are for people who would rather live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of their lives instead of creating the means to continually improve their situation.

The only financial luck available can be found in a Vegas slot machine. Financial success isn’t a final destination, but a lifelong journey of persistent improvement.

Do you think luck has played any part in your success or failure?

Share this article with “unlucky” people around you or leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Comments (3)


[...] from The Best Money Blog presents The Myth of Luck in Financial Success, and says, “Have you ever noticed that the people who attribute luck to success are often [...]

Hope to ProsperNo Gravatar

July 19th, 2010 at 11:13 AM    


I wrote a similar piece about a year ago and luck is a subject that is very relevant to finance.

The truth is that luck does favor the prepared. And, most poeple will have both good and bad luck in their lives. It’s how they deal with it that is the most important factor. For example, it’s very differeng getting laid off when you have money saved, than if you are living paycheck to paycheck.

I hate to hear people whining about how they are so unlucky because money isn’t falling from the sky into their pockets. If they were born healthy in a wealthy nation, they are pretty lucky. A million people will starve to death today. How does that compare to your bad luck?

The Best Money BlogNo Gravatar

July 19th, 2010 at 11:55 AM    


Bret: I agree. It isn’t about your luck or what situation you are put in. It’s about what you do with why you are given.

Thanks for the insight!

Leave a reply