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The role of “luck” in entrepreneurial success!

By Okechukwu Onwuka
If only I was born into a rich family, where my parents would easily afford to send me to the best schools in the land and overseas, I would surely be in a better position in life today. With better luck on my side, the exam would have presented more questions in the areas I’d prepared for and I would have passed with flying colours.

The main reason I’ve not been promoted is my misfortune of being transferred to a department headed by that evil manager who means no good for anybody.

My neighbor has just bought a new car and completed his own residential home. He has just informed me that they will be moving in next week. How very lucky he is. One day, when my luck shines, I’ll buy a better car and build an even bigger house. President Goodluck Jonathan only became the president simply because he is extremely lucky.

If I have that kind of luck, I’ll conquer the world. Have you ever found yourself lamenting your misfortune or lack of “luck” as reason for the limitations on your path as in the examples cited? Reality is, all too often, we find ourselves using the word “luck” in varying situations to justify our disadvantaged position.

It is all too easy to ascribe the success of others to luck or some other form of advantage that is totally outside our making. The real question is; does Luck exist? If yes, what role does it play in the attainment of success in business and life as a whole?

Does luck exist? The word luck is an unaccountable noun. However, in a generic sense, luck refers to those events that happen by chance, outside of the making of the individual or group which presents positive opportunities or significant leverage. A lucky person is thus someone who is presented with or benefits from a piece of luck, a bit of luck or a stroke of luck. Conversely, bad luck refers to a chance event that represents a misfortune, loss or tragedy.

The wise King Solomon, made a reference to the concept of luck or chance when he stated in Ecclesiastes 9vs11,
“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not for the swift Or the battle to the strong,Nor does food come to the wiseOr wealth to the brilliant Or favour to the learned;

But time and chance happen to them all”.For me, what this tells me is that everyone on earth is equally exposed to the elements of chance. There are very few things that are under the control of man. We have no control over the timing of day and night, winter, summer, autumn, or spring. We don’t know when the rain will fall or for how long the sun will shine. We may never know for certain what the market taste or preference is. We can’t tell how long customers will stay loyal. We have no clue over who will like our face.

No one knows when death will come even though we know it is a certainty. We cannot tell who will be the person to give us our big break in life.

There is no guarantee that being born into a wealthy family is assurance for lifetime prosperity. There is also no certainty that being born into a poor family is a seal on poverty. There is an equal opportunity for good luck as there is for bad luck. In a harmless friendly match this week, Didier Drogba, the Chelsea striker and Cote D’Ivoire’s captain suffered a confirmed broken elbow from a regular tackle?

This incident almost certainly means he will miss the world cup. German captain, Michael Ballack suffered a similar fate in the English FA cup Final match between Chelsea and already relegated Portsmouth FC and thus will not be travelling to South Africa. Our own Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has become the president without contesting for the position. Many continue to win millions of dollars and Pounds sterling in Lotteries all over the world. Bank and Telecomm company promos have produced many lucky millionaires. So the simple answer is, yes, luck exists.

What role does luck play in success? One famous golfer was once asked by a journalist to give his opinion in response to the feeling in certain quarters that he is an extremely lucky golfer. He responded by saying that he found that the more he worked hard in practice sessions, the luckier he became when playing in tournaments. David Beckham and Zico (Brazil) are two well known football free kick specialists.

Many do not know that they put themselves through a punishing schedule of extra practice on free kicks well after the regular training sessions are over. Michael Jordan, the great American Basketball superstar and legend had such a personal grueling and punishing training program that peers found it impossible to copy.

Inevitably, he got luckier than many other basketballers in scoring the three-pointers and slam dunks that made him the MVP for many seasons. In simple terms, there is a difference between isolated lucky or unlucky events and sustainable success.

True success goes beyond one event or incidence.
To be truly successful, one must be able to replicate specific successes over time in such a way that it becomes a habit. Successful companies can never be built on luck. Nor can any individual achieve greatness through one single lucky event. The difference between the successful and the poor lies in what they do with the chance events that happen to them. All the talents we are born with are chance events. We had no input in our genetic make-up.

So how do you optimize the opportunities in good fortune and minimize the damages of misfortune? The answer is very important because without this knowledge, achieving sustainable success will be practically impossible.

The best way to maximize the benefits of luck is to develop yourself far above the common and everyday standard. Whatever field you find yourself in, commit to learn your trade deeper than ever. Be more knowledgeable. Train your stamina for endurance.

Sharpen your skills. Improve on every area possible. Never limit your personal, group or team development. The result is usually that you will do much more with any positive time and chance event that comes your way than your competitors. You’ll be more prepared to exceed the expectations of the angel who gives you your first chance, first contract, first presentation, first exposure.

You are more likely to pass the exam at first attempt. Exceptional performance on a lucky break has a way of bringing more “lucky” openings for you. Unless you stop practicing those things that propelled you at the beginning, you can be sure that your growth and success will stand the test of time. Why would the almighty God trust you to handle more jobs or contracts when you mismanage or disappoint at the first set he allows to come your way? When ill fortune hits you, remember it is only the cycle of ill fortune.

Learn from it and prepare to take better advantage of the fortunate events when their time or cycle comes. It has been said that opportunity comes but once but I totally disagree. Opportunities always come. It is our attitudes and perception that tend to remain the same.

What opportunities are presenting themselves to you today, this week, this month or this year that you have failed to recognize or take full advantage of? Maybe if you stop seeking opportunities or luck designed for others, you’ll stand a better chance at maximizing your potential giving your prevailing circumstances.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.