Luck is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity

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Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity

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Luck plays an important role in a person’s success. This statement is true as luck provides opportunities and pathways into favored events although the chances are low. Then can someone just say that only people gifted with luck are the ones who can only achieve success? Then how about those people who are not lucky? Luck is closely related to the probability of an event to happen. This probability is controlled by other factors. Then there might be another way to achieve success without being lucky.

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Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, was lucky to find the world’s most used antibiotic by accident. In 1928, on his return from vacation, he spotted something uncommon on one of the Petri dishes that was left uncovered next to a window. That petri dish was contaminated with mold spores. Fleming observed that the bacteria surrounding the mold were dying. After extracting and identifying the mold, he named his discovery as penicillin (Tan & Tatsumura, 2015). Today, penicillin can be found anywhere, and it has helped everyone to fight bacteria. People might have thought that Fleming was so lucky that he was able to get into that situation and spot that anomaly, but his success in discovering penicillin resulted from more things than luck. Fleming had entered the world of research since 1906, twenty-two years before the moment he discovered penicillin. Furthermore, during his initial discovery of penicillin, no one had an interest in his discovery. He had to wait for eleven years for a group of researchers to purify the penicillin and one more year until the actual testing of the antibiotic (Gaynes, 2017). Fleming surely had exerted enormous effort for his researches. He also had a huge motivation that he was able to endure for so long until he reached his success. Other than Fleming, the discovery of insulin, iodine, effects of nitrate on arteries, galvanic current, acetylene, electroplating are just a few than other discoveries found by accident (Humberstone, 1943). These discoveries were also influenced not only by luck but also by effort and motivation.

Looking at Fleming’s situation, his effort had made him an experienced researcher that surely had the knowledge and best methods for his researches. His motivation towards finding innovation had made him endured long enough until the chance came. In this case, the effort increased the probability of success and his patience through motivation had provided enough time for luck to strike in.

The success rate of a person is related to the skills and knowledge he or she possesses. Skills and knowledge can be obtained as a result of exerting effort. As a person exerted more effort to learn, more the knowledge that he can obtain. Similarly, the more effort a man exerted to practice, the more refined are his skills. Skills and knowledge played an important part in a person’s success. But on the contrary, Taleb (2005) stated that luck is being falsely recognized as a skill. This is not true as luck and skill are completely different matters. By definition, skill is a learned power of doing something competently, while luck is a force that brings good fortune or adversity (Merriam-Webster, 2019). Skill is learned while luck is something that comes randomly. Both luck and skill can only either support or oppose each other. Based on a research done to a group of students in Mathematics courses, students with higher effort regulation, which they were able to maintain their effort throughout the study, were able to reach higher achievements than the students with lower effort regulation (Kim, Park, Cozart,& Lee, 2015). This research supports the fact that effort can increase the chances of one’s success.

Another factor that has an impact on success is motivation. Motivation and effort are relying on each other to produce a fruitful outcome. Motivation without the engagement of effort will produce no result, while effort could not be maintained without the presence of motivation. Motivation contains people’s beliefs that they can achieve success. A man will never start to exert effort if he never believes that he can do it. Research on students regarding academic motivation and success was conducted and the results showed that the motivation of students resulted from their desire to see the evidence of their positive academic performance (Niranjar, Wu, & Jenner, 2015). In this case, motivation was produced during the process of effort. The motivation here likely serves as a catalyst, consumed at the beginning of the process and reproduced again at the end.

For someone to achieve success, he or she needs effort and motivation in addition to luck. Luck is indeed the one who brought the chances of success to be possible, but luck is just a matter of chances. A person can increase those chances of success by exerting effort that is maintained by motivation throughout the process. It does not matter whether someone was born lucky or unlucky everything returns to which past he or she decided to walk through. 

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