“You say, good fortune used to meet you at every corner. But the fortunate person is the one who gives themselves a good fortune. And good fortunes are a well-tuned soul, good impulses and good actions.” —MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.36
What is the more productive notion of good luck? One that is defined by totally random factors outside your control, or a matter of probability that can be increased—though not guaranteed—by the right decisions and the right preparation? Obviously, the latter. This is why successful yet mysteriously “lucky” people seem to gravitate toward it.
According to the wonderful site Quote Investigator, versions of this idea date back at least to the sixteenth century in the proverb “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” In the 1920s, Coleman Cox put a modern spin on it by saying, “I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.” (That saying has been incorrectly attributed to Thomas Jefferson, who said nothing of the kind.) Today, we say, “Luck is where hard work meets opportunity.” Or is it typically flipped?
Today, you can hope that good fortune and good luck magically come your way. Or you can prepare yourself to get lucky by focusing on doing the right thing at the right time and, ironically, render luck mostly unnecessary in the process.