Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity

Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity

Lives today have become easier and more comfortable than what many of our ancestors experienced in the ancient times. The evolving technology and groundbreaking research significantly transformed our way of living, communication, business, education, etc. However, despite these advancements, one thing that hasn’t changed till today is the fascination by the mystery of luck.

Many individuals believe that good fortune plays a key role in the pursuit of success. That’s why we sometimes give the entire credit of someone’s accomplishment to their good luck. We often consider their hard work, resilience, and determination in succeeding as unimportant factors in their journey.

The extent of luck’s influence on our lives has been debated since the start of time. Every person has a different approach to it; however, one thing is for sure: luck alone doesn’t guarantee success. If luck were the sole element for bringing success into our lives, then the successful people we see today wouldn’t have worked a single day. Instead, they would have waited for a miracle to transform their lives. Waiting for luck to transform your life is like having raw ingredients in your fridge that will magically turn into a delish meal.

Luck may or may not be responsible for transforming your life. But dedication to your goals and effort, are key ingredients to making use of any luck that have or will enter into your life at some point. This is the central idea of the aforementioned quote widely attributed to Seneca.

Where Does The Quote Come From?

The quote is widely attributed to Seneca and sometimes to Gregory K. Ericksen, Darrell K. Royal, and Elmer G. Letterman. Unfortunately, the attribution of this quote remains unknown due to the lack of credible evidence. A similar match of this quote was published in 1912 in a popular American magazine for children, The Youth’s Companion: Volume 86. However, the quote was not cited with proper attribution.

He is lucky who realizes that luck is the point where preparation meets opportunity.

The Youth’s Companion: Volume 86.

Who Was Seneca?

Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a popular Roman philosopher, artist, dramatist, satirist, and statesman. Seneca was born in Cordoba, Hispania, but was raised in Rome, where he spent numerous years of his life. He began his career in 31 CE in Rome in politics and law and soon gained immense popularity for his wisdom.

In 41 AD, the Roman emperor Claudius accused Seneca of adultery and banished him from the country. However, in 49 AD, the ban was lifted, and Seneca was allowed to return to Rome and tutor the future Roman emperor, Nero.

In 54 AD, Nero became the emperor and appointed Seneca as his trusted advisor to help him form a stable government. However, with the passage of time, Seneca withdrew himself from politics and public affairs. In 65 AD, some enemies hatched a plot against Seneca and accused him of participating in a Pisonian conspiracy that involved trying to assassinate the emperor, Nero. As a punishment, Seneca was ordered by law to commit suicide and end his life. 

What is the Meaning of the Quote?

Human beings naturally desire to explore and uncover the things they do not know. Our mind generates endless questions about new phenomena and concept. Once we discover the answers, our curiosity is satiated, and we feel content.

As a child, we yearned to learn more about our surroundings, different textures, colors, temperatures, etc. It is difficult to stop toddlers from touching and tasting everything around them, as their young souls want to learn everything about their environment and beyond.

Curiosity is the lust of the mind.

Thomas Hobbes

However, as we grow up, we become less curious and more anxious about our future. We wish to see a glimpse of what tomorrow will look like and if it will bring happiness or sorrow. For this reason, it has become very common amongst teenagers and young adults to read horoscopes, blindly trust tarot cards, or go to a palmist to find out what the future holds for them. Similarly, many individuals also develop an interest in astrology, the alignment of planets, and the influence of stars that predict how lucky or unlucky they will be in certain aspects of their lives.

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

However, the quote popularly attributed to Seneca beautifully deciphers the intriguing concept of luck. According to the quote, luck results from hard work paired with making use of an opportunity when one presents itself at the right time. This means anyone who puts in sincere efforts and is willing to take risks has a higher chance of being lucky. However, the influence of their astrological sign, time of birth, etc., does not significantly impact how their lives will turn out to be.

What Role Does Luck Play in the Path to Success?

There is no denying that some people are blessed with a comfortable life and don’t have to struggle much to achieve their goals. Such individuals are often considered lucky for having the resources they need to live a peaceful and fulfilling life.

But on the other hand, some people have to combat challenges from the time of their birth till death to survive. For instance, a child born in an underdeveloped country to an uneducated and low-income family often faces different challenges throughout their life. Underprivileged children are often deprived of good education, healthcare, and a positive environment that compels them to pursue their dreams. Hence, sometimes deprived people consider themselves unlucky for being born and raised in a household where they always hustle to make ends meet.

The Almighty Lord solely decides the matters of our birth and death, and we have no control over them. Hence it wouldn’t be wrong to say that a person born and raised into a privileged family usually has an easier journey to success than individuals who often have to yearn for basic necessities.

However, it doesn’t mean poverty-stricken and underprivileged people cannot succeed or transform their lives. Anyone who consistently works hard and remains dedicated can succeed despite the hardships in their way. Luck works as a catalyst for some people and makes them successful quickly. However, we must acknowledge that luck alone is not the only ingredient for the recipe of success.

Does a Positive Attitude Attract Good Luck and Success?

A positive mindset boosts an individual’s morale and motivation to chase their dreams. It also helps sharpen a person’s problem-solving skills instead of making them fearful. A positive person approaches a problem as a challenge to conquer. In contrast, a negative person complains and blames others around them for the slightest inconvenience. As a result, they give up working on their dreams after a few setbacks and consider themselves to be victims of the circumstance. They pity themselves for failing or for encountering numerous problems.

The following quote by Shakespeare defines how our thoughts can change our life.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

William Shakespeare

Our thoughts and mindsets have the power to make us the heroes or the villains of our lives. That’s because our thoughts influence our actions, which in turn, shapes our future. Hence, if you think about problems or constantly remind yourself about your bad luck, you will frequently confront challenging situations. In contrast, keeping a positive mindset, and thinking about growth and success, will motivate you to work harder. It will eventually help you spot many wonderful opportunities that can help you transform your life.

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Marcus Aurelius