What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

I wish she had switched up the “not” for an ampersand.

I’m not a religious person, and I won’t insult you by pretending to be particularly “spiritual.” I just believe in being as Good as possible to people as often as I can. It’s my version of Humanism, which can be pretty harsh sometimes. Kind of like Mother Nature. Related in a roundabout way, I suppose I believe somewhat in Karma – does that make me religious? Maybe I’ll just say that what goes around (eventually) comes around. Secular enough? But I do believe in the idea of Luck. And it irritates me when people don’t give Luck its due.

“When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.” ~ Estee Lauder

I came across this image and quotation in my Facebook stream or timeline or whatever it’s being called these days, and I hated it immediately. Perhaps because of the backlash from when Obama said “You Didn’t Build That.”  Or maybe it had to do with people thinking they deserve wealth more than others because they worked harder than anyone else. (Which, if you’ve never been a house cleaner or assembly line worker or muckraker, you can’t really say.) And maybe it’s because of the horrific coloring – which I’ve adjusting here to make even worse.

Now, I know that perhaps Estee Lauder is talking only about her own success, and I don’t know enough about the hardships she has endured to say whether she had few lucky breaks. But this quotation is now being shared by others, and judging from all the “likes” – so much persistence to LIKE all that stuff! – people seem to feel that they are in the “it wasn’t luck, it was persistence” camp as well. And that’s not okay.

I’m not saying that someone with success DID NOT work. I’m happy to be able to say with no irony that I consider myself successful. I also consider myself very hardworking, and I consider myself extremely lucky.  One does not negate the others. Personally, I believe that taking advantage of opportunities equals success. And that’s where the persistence comes in. Someone may be consistently hardworking, but without a break – or starting out in a lucky place – it’s a much tougher hill to climb. And maintaining success is not the same thing as achieving it.

Anyway, I just wish she had switched up the “NOT” with “AND” in her explanation of how her success developed. What do you think?


About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to car culture, dealing with leaving a career I loved, and spouting off along the way. Do The Most Good.
This entry was posted in People are Good, People do silly things, random observation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

  1. Tomekha says:

    Very, very interesting perspective. I definitely understand your point about getting a break and being ‘persistent’ there after and I’m tending to agree. … Historically though (over the course of my lifetime), I haven’t quite believed that that break is ‘luck’ – I subscribe to the theories of the laws of attraction-whatever you think about, you attract and so when something happens it wouldn’t be ‘luck’ but a matter of what you most deeply desire manifesting itself because you ‘summoned’ it from the universe. … What’re your thoughts on this veiw?

    • For me, that view of “attraction” is a little far on the religious side. The idea that the Universe is alive and sentient. I don’t subscribe to that. I know too many truly wonderful people who keep getting tested – much like poor old Job – and some of them succumb to the misery and others keep plodding along. And I think it works the other way too. People can blindly accept good things that come their way, thinking that they somehow they deserve it or that everyone has lovely things drop into their laps. I just want the chaotic nature of chance to get its due.

      That said, I don’t mind what others believe, I just don’t like that people judge those who are the Have Nots as lesser somehow – as a group.

      Thank you so much for stopping in and making such a thought-provoking comment!

      • b says:

        Yes you are so so right. At my age (71) I have come to realize that my husband and I were not lucky. However, we have such a beautiful life. I know people that think that, because we were public servants, we do not deserve what we have. The only explanation I can offer is that we just kept plodding along, paying the price and not resenting it while embracing the good. Is that clear? I don’t know.

        As for the seeing those that have less as unimportant, I don’t get that. We all are a part of the puzzle…important in the finished picture.


  2. Azara says:

    I completely agree with you. There are many persistent, hard-working, talented people who never realize their dreams. Of course success is not due to luck alone, but not to acknowledge it at all is arrogant and inaccurate.

    And wow. That is a particularly dreadful colour!

  3. Sperk* says:

    There is also bad luck which, like good luck, could exist on it’s own, no? I can’t get the Alanis M. song, Ironic, to stop playing over in my mind now. At least that’s a good song. Lucky me! Anyway, luck, for me, has to do with energy we put out there. Thought-provoking post.

    • Yes! to the bad luck too. And I get just as irritated when someone tries to find BLAME when it’s just a crappy thing that happened. It might just be that I get easily irritated. Just my luck. 😉

      • Sperk* says:

        I agree with that blame idea. Which makes me question if the “energy” of luck actually exists, as I stated just a few minutes ago. I guess more than luck or persistence we need that nagging thing called hope. Fun to contemplate.

  4. Totally agree! I never dismiss luck.

  5. Julia says:

    I agree with you. I was having similar thoughts today about the back lash of the election and how I really just believe in being good to others…no matter what.

    • I am a big fan of the Puritan Work Ethic, and I know that there are people who take advantage and/or cheated – but those who have benefitted from positive experiences/luck are in a position to acknowledge all the pieces of the puzzle that got them success. And now I’m blabbing. Anyway – yes! “Be Good.” ~ E. T.

  6. Kianwi says:

    I agree with you completely. When I lived in Honduras, I really came to understand the concept of ‘accident of birth.’. I was lucky enough to be born in the United States in a lower middle class family. What I did with that? Some work. But the entire foundation was luck.

    • I wonder if I should have talked about “chance” rather than Luck? And yes to the exposure to other cultures making us pop our bubbles of what we “deserve” or have a “right” to. For me, it’s part of what elaborate explanations in mythologies and tales are all about. Explaining why life is so hard for some and seemingly easy for others.

  7. anna says:

    fascinating, i don’t know what i think… but i will think about it. am certainly trying to teach my kids that so much is luck, all the more on my mind with the hurricane and how some lost so much, and others, not so much…

  8. Rachel J. says:

    I read this as I escaped my vomiting and feverish sick children for five minutes to scarf down food while staring at the bright screen of my escapism blogging addiction. And then I went to (my vomit smelling) bed and just laughed and laughed at how you made the color uglier. And marveled about how similarly we think even though I’m religious (and spiritual!) 🙂

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