Today I want to broach a challenging subject for those of us working hard to pursue our goals and dreams – luck. We can all develop skills and we can all execute, but are some people just lucky?
Today New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, leads his team into its 9th Super Bowl during his tenure. The average margin of victory in the eight previous Super Bowls (in which the Patriots are 5-3) is four points. That’s a narrow margin. Is part of it luck?
During the recent AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady led the Patriots to their third overtime playoff victory during his reign (including one Super Bowl) where the other team never got the ball. He’s 3-0 in such games.
Leaving this crazy NFL rule where both teams don’t get a chance aside, has Tom Brady been lucky or good in achieving his success? The honest answer is yes. He’s been lucky and he’s been good. When opportunity has presented itself, there’s been some luck to win close Super Bowls and overtime playoff games, but there’s also been execution when it counted.
This example provides a clear window into the Yin and Yang of Luck that runs through the lives of successful people. Three times Tom Brady has won playoff games partly on the luck of a coin flip. Had he lost those coin flips, he might have wound up on the losing end and never had the ball. Three Patriot playoff runs would have ended and taken SOME of the luster off his illustrious career.
BUT, here’s the part detractors or “luck theorists” miss. Three times out of three, given that opportunity, Tom Brady led his team to the winning score and victory. Another scenario is he might have won three coin tosses and failed to score each time and eventually lost.
So, which is it? Luck or skill?
Power hack: Here’s the bottom line, my friends. Skill, talent, and work ethic are the reliable elements of your success. They are what put you in a position for luck to matter. They are what you have control over. The wheel of fortune may or may not choose to smile upon you. If it does, though, you must seize those opportunities and take advantage. The greats succeed on things they control. The very greatest, like it or not, have succeeded on their skill but attained immortality with a little luck too.
So, work, hone your skills, and pray for a little luck to ease your journey.
Here are a couple of related articles I’ve written previously.