December 12, 2019

Luck versus hard work

How you take advantage of opportunities will determine how far you advance

What is life? Imagine if you were given the ability to design and determine anything you want: the rules of society, government, economics and other fundamentals. These rules would prevail for your lifetime and that of your children, their children and beyond.

However, there’s a catch. You don’t know if you’re going to be born into wealth or poverty, male or female, disabled or healthy, and if you’re going to take your first breath in a war zone or in a peaceful kingdom.

Whatever your circumstances, how you take advantage of opportunities, depending on when and how they arise, will go a long way to determining how far you advance. Some of it is just luck, but you can use your capabilities, together with hard work, to manufacture your own destiny.

Individuals who bring a sense of purpose to everything they do tend to exhibit more perseverance, and they develop skill sets that naturally complement their interests as they pursue the opportunities that present themselves.

When it comes to achieving success, you will have your fair share of setbacks, whereby things just didn’t go in your favour despite all your efforts and hard work. Still, you learn and try again, holding out hope that luck will be on your side regardless of the obstacles that could come your way. There’s an old saying that hard work and luck are both directly proportional; if you put in the work you will acquire its benefits tomorrow.

In other words, the winning formula for success means grasping opportunities and being able to step outside your comfort zone, and pushing yourself to your breaking point. Your input gives you the physical assurance you need and the occasional touch of luck gives you the emotional lift that helps you to keep going, in the belief that success will result from all your efforts.

Nonetheless, you can only control the level of your achievement if you maintain a positive mindset. And even when luck is not on your side and you experience a setback, a positive mindset helps you to gain back lost ground.

Narrating Your Own Story

It all comes down to how you unfold the story of your life. You don’t have the ability to control your luck, whether it be good or bad. But you can control how much effort and preparation you put toward your desired goals. I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “Whatever is meant to be, will be”, which some people might see as an excuse to apply the minimal determination and effort, since the outcome — good or bad — is preordained. But isn’t that a complete gamble? Think about it.

Luck favours those who have a true passion to win. Unless you are willing to hustle, you might as well bid adieu to your luck too! Sometimes you have to ask yourself, what do I really want? What matters to me most? The answers shed light on the reasons behind your actions and help you understand your inner drive. Once you recognise these factors, you will soon notice your actions leading you in the right direction, making you feel fulfilled and bringing you greater satisfaction.

Luck by Chance?

Expect the unexpected. Life is full of unexpected events; you never know what’s going to come your way, so why not give it your all with no regrets? We all tend to dream of living a life where our ambitions and deepest desires become reality. Envisioning a bright future motivates us to keep striving and move forward in order to reach the highest of highs.

However, it is rare for people to find the right path and make their dreams become reality without some detours along the way. I am sure the majority of us have faced or are currently facing challenges to achieve our goals despite our hard work. That is when luck comes to play, whether it be for good or not.

Whenever we look at those who are successful and famous, or people who have hit the “jackpot” in their life, we tend to call them lucky. But if you come to think of it, people like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs worked hard for their successes. Through hard work and dedication to their passion, they made their dreams a reality by doing what they love with great positivity.

With integrity comes success. Having an outward mindset that encourages you to persevere in the face of risk gives you a better change of achieving ambitious goals by seizing the opportunities you have in hand.

Opportunities present themselves every day, but only those who recognise and seize them effectively are able to transform them into their reality.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at or Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at