The illusion of luck


Does luck have to do with success or it’s only matter of hard work? Here’s my essay ‘bout that.

“Serendipity, as an ordinary dictionary would state, is the fact of discovering something “by chance”. Thus, society has already invented a term for those discoveries which are said to be made luckily at unexpected moments of time. But, what is luck, really, in this case? Could it be considered as a principal component of success? In my opinion, luck has nothing to do with success. Even more, I personally think it is an invented concept which hides some more valuable treats.

There have been several “serendipities” over the history of science. Perhaps the most popular one is the discovering of penicillin by Alexander Fleming. Granted, if Fleming’s bacterial plate had not been contaminated by fungi, probably humans would not have found this widely used antibiotic. But now, in an abstraction exercise, imagine yourself in front of that plate, back in time at Fleming’s laboratory. Would you have been able to make such a discovery? Probably not. You would have had the opportunity, but you wouldn’t have seen it. You would probably have had a lack of preparation.

Pablo Picasso once said, “Let inspiration find you at work”. Working, in an ultimate level, can lead to acquiring knowledge and therefore to more preparedness. As in the Fleming’s case, the artist thought these opportunities (to improve, to make a discovery) increase significantly if you are prepared to see them. In other words, “luck” can be influenced, therefore not being “luck” anymore.

I am a really perfectionist person which really settles for nothing but the best. I study engineering and I know, from spending long, full-of-coffee nights in front of a computer program, trying to fix its uncountable coding errors, that the best solutions need time. Or, as I like to say, “You require time to prepare for the solution to come”. To understand what’s going on, you need to rewrite the full program line by line, step by step. Only by extensively revising and looking into details, inspiration comes along hand in hand with the solution.

My advice: keep working hard. Keep studying, keep preparing, and stay hungry. Inspiration will find you. And if you can see the opportunity or, in other words, if the opportunity meets your preparation, and you get to succeed, society will define you as “a lucky person”. Then, it will be your choice whether to tell them that “luck” can be influenced or not.”




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