Are you lucky or do you just work hard?

(Some of the links in this post have NSFW language, please view at your best discretion.)

If you listen to Donald Trump for advice (or anyone from a plethora of successful people), you’re bound to hear, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” In my opinion, this is a giant violation of Wheaton’s Law.

Are you successful? Have you managed to accomplish a few things? You’ve likely worked very hard to get to where you are. But if you utter a phrase like “I don’t need luck,” or “the harder I work, the luckier I get,” You are being a d**k. You are being an a**hole.

Stop it.

Please allow me to explain my position.

I guarantee that there are thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people that work harder than you, have more talent and skill than you, and do better at their job than you. Many of these people aren’t as successful as you because they aren’t as lucky as you. When they hear you talking about how hard work is better than luck, they know you are full of it. They know you are being a complete jerk. They know that you are clueless. You are basically spitting in their faces. It’s arrogance, it’s hubris, it’s conceit, and it looks ugly on you.

Can you see it?

An Illustration

You might still think you are the one responsible for your success, but you’ve read this far. There’s hope for you. Let me illustrate how some people are lucky and others aren’t.

Bea is a single mom, raising two kids in a lower-middle-class neighborhood. She works about eighty hours a week at two jobs to pay the bills. She’s started a handful of businesses on her own, but doesn’t have the time to keep them going because she works so much and manages a household. She joined an MLM to try to make some extra money and one of her employers threatened to fire her if she mentions it to any of her coworkers. Another business has stagnated because she just can’t find funding to get it started. The bank has denied her a loan, she’s spoken to three investors that have turned her down, and she has applied for more than a hundred grants. All of this effort along with raising two children and working two jobs leave Bea with about three hours of sleep a night. Bea is tired, worn out, somewhat poor and dreams of success with a business of her own.

It was luck that had her born black. It was luck that had her born in a low-income house with a drug dealer for a father. It was luck that put her in one of the countries worst high-schools. It was luck that killed her husband in a drive-by shooting. Bea was a straight-A student in high school, has ambitions, works hard, raises her kids well, and says prayers of gratitude to God every night… for her blessings. It was luck that that gave her this much, she knows it, and she’s grateful for it. She knows how lucky she is and she is keenly aware of how lucky others are.

Lucky has nothing to do with hard work

Her second job is as a server in a restaurant. One of her fellow servers is lucky. She was invited to a party and invited Bea to join her. This woman asked for the night off, management refused. Bea, being a responsible mother and seeing that she couldn’t get the night off, declined the invitation. The woman merely called in sick so that she could attend the party. At the party, this woman meets a “sugar daddy.” He buys her jewelry, clothes, gifts, nice weekend trips and even gives her cash… lots of cash. This woman spends this extra cash on frivolous things. She is lucky. Her boss didn’t even fire her. The only explanation Bea could come up with was, “She’s young, and white, and cute.”

But, but, but…

You might interject, “She took a risk, and reaped the reward.” First, this woman didn’t have a mortgage and kids to care for, the risk was much smaller for her than it was for Bea. Second, nobody said anything about this party being anything more than a party. There was no information to indicate that anyone with money would be attending. Third, no matter how hard she worked, Bea could never be anyone’s sugar baby; she doesn’t have the looks, or the age, or the time. Yes, this woman took a risk, and got lucky. She doesn’t work nearly as hard as Bea, who isn’t as lucky.

Imagine all the good that Bea could do with the money that woman was getting.

You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are

If you have any success in your life, you are lucky. Be grateful for your blessings, your fortune, your luck. Thank God, or the Universe, or blind chance for your situation. Show gratitude. Stop spouting clichés and let go of your ego. And, here’s the bonus, people that show gratitude are healthier. You are lucky. I am lucky. Stop taking credit for your luck and show some gratitude.

Are you lucky? How lucky are you?