Luck Will Have Nothing To Do with It

Feb 23, 2007
Luck Will Have Nothing To Do with It

Isn't it strange how the people who seem to be the luckiest, are the ones who work the hardest?


My father was a salesman, and a successful one. I always thought he was lucky to find something he really enjoyed, and made a very good living at it. Then I started to work with him, and realized just how tough it was. His philosophy was that he could expect to get nine NOs before he got his YES. He told me stories about a few of his 9th calls -- when the NO came, he jumped up, happy as could be, thanked the person and shook his or her hand. He couldn't WAIT to get to number 10, because he KNEW the odds were in his favor. He was about to succeed-- again.

My Dad never thought about the tough times between successes. He never worried about "slumps." He certainly never thought success had ANYTHING to do with luck, or fortune. He was a "we make our own luck" type of person. His philosophy about business slumps and athletic slumps was the same: Work through them. Physical work and focused physical activity pave the path toward success.

As a competitive swimmer, I developed a pre-race habit that I carry through to my life today. Whenever I was preparing to race, my friends would say, "good luck." The usual response I gave was, "luck will have nothing to do with it." This may sound smug, conceited, or egotistical, but what I meant was that I either had -- or hadn't -- put in the preparation to accomplish my task. If I had put in the right work, I usually succeeded. When I hadn't, success was elusive. It was a simple philosophy, but one that virtually ALWAYS came true.


Today, that same philosophy holds true. Business, parenting, and life aren't about luck. They're about having something to shoot for, and then going after it. It's about living your life with passion for what you're doing, and with passion for doing it extremely well.

What type of athlete are you? Do you wait for good things to happen? Or do you MAKE good things happen through preparation? Do you hope you're going to accomplish your goals, or do you over prepare to ensure that you've got the best chance to achieve what you set out to do?

As we move into the end of the season and all the championship meets that go with it, how lucky do you feel? Have you prepared well? Have you approached your training with focus and dedication? Have you handled every tough set your coach has thrown at you? Have you given just a little bit extra at every practice? If you can look back at the entire season and answer YES to each of those questions, then luck will be on your side when you step to the blocks.

And even if you can't answer an absolute YES to all those questions, remember that the luckiest people always seems to be the ones with the best attitude. They know that the contest isn't over till it's over. If you don't strive with all your might until the race is over, you allow your competition to "get lucky." Don't let anyone get lucky at your expense. Never give up.

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