Monday, June 11, 2012

Success: Is it Luck or Hard Work?

Will you succeed? Yes you will indeed!
Ninety-nine and three-quarters percent guaranteed!
                                             - Dr. Seuss

It's Luck

I've heard people say that successful people got that way because they were lucky. They just happened to be in the right place at the right time. There might be something to that, at least for some successful people, but I doubt it happens very often.

Over the years I have known a few quilters who, frankly, made quite unremarkable quilts, yet, somehow, they became quite famous in the field. I've always wondered how that happened. What did they do differently than the many other quilters out there who were much more skillful but rarely noticed? I don't have an answer to this question, but I suspect that they must have just known the right people in the right places.

Maybe It's Positive Thinking

Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., author of The Luck Factor, claims, "Luck is determined by your attitude toward life, by what you put out into the universe and how you respond to the results."

To me, this means that a person has to be ready and willing to drop everything and take the plunge when an opportunity presents itself. Sometimes, the opportunity that comes along isn't even what you were looking for. Do you turn it down and hope it find exactly what you expected or do you go for it?  

A positive person, someone who sees the bright side of life, is more likely to notice the opportunities that come their way and quickly act to take advantage of them. An optimistic person expects success. They are always watching for anything that can help them reach their goal.

A person who is negative is less likely to expect success. They may not even notice an opportunity if it was right in front of them. They let it pass them by and then complain that nothing good ever happens to them.

Hard Work?

But maybe there is more to it, according to Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point. He points out that many successful people have really worked very hard to get where they are.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both worked many years before they were successful. They were obsessed with computers from the time they were teenagers. They did almost nothing else.

The Beatles took jobs that required them to play for hours and hours at a time, seven days a week (maybe even eight?) They had to have a huge list of songs they could play. It wasn't as if they were practicing in the garage for a few hours after school.

Gladwell says that the "Tipping Point" seems to be right around 10,000 hours of work. He points out that many very famous people all busted their butts to earn their success. They worked for years to achieve their dreams. And they never gave up.


I think the secret is to make a plan and stick to it. Here is a list of things that should help make your dreams come true, whatever they might be:
  • Define your goal. Think about what exactly you want to achieve. Become an artist? Retire early? Move to Italy?
  • Believe in yourself. Remember that just about anything is possible. One step at a time. Start small and work yourself up to the harder stuff.
  • Get educated. Study it until you know it well. Learn as much as you can. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Intention. Put yourself out there. Let people know what you want. Network. Who knows where that opportunity might come from?
  • Visualize success. Imagine yourself doing whatever it is you are reaching for. Watch for opportunities.
  • Persistance. Don't give up. Don't let fear of failure keep you back. What's the worse that can happen? Have a Plan B.
  • Be ready for whatever comes your way. Take chances. Go with the flow; there may be more than one way to get there.

And most of all... Good Luck!

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