Lucky is as Lucky Does


When you hear the word luck, you often think of something that happens completely outside of your control. Pure luck, like winning the lottery or, on the downside, being struck by lightning.

Here’s another way to think of luck. I heard it a long time ago from Paul Harvey on one of his famous radio shows:

Luck is when chance meets opportunity

It’s a twist on the saying ‘luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity.’ I really was struck by his phrase.  In fact, I couldn’t get it out of my head for almost a year.  I kept thinking, what does he mean when chance meets opportunity? Here are a couple of stories that tell it best.

In 1928, the biologist Alexander Fleming initiated one of the greatest medical discoveries by chance. At the time he was studying influenza and the staphylococci germ. He returned to his lab from a month-long vacation and noticed a mold had appeared in a culture dish.

The story goes that Fleming threw out the “infected” dish. Several days later a visitor arrived and unintentionally pulled out the culture dish. It was only then that Fleming saw that the mold had created a bacteria-free circle around itself. Fleming’s further research of this chance event led to the discovery of penicillin.

The point here is that chance is not enough. Fleming saw the opportunity and through a lot of hard work and dogged determination, created his own luck. Lucky for all of us.

Then there’s the Post-It® note, 3M’s lucky sensation.

Scientists at 3M were working on development of a super adhesive material. Instead, they got the exact opposite, an adhesive strong enough to stick to surfaces yet easy to remove and be used again. They tried to promote the adhesive as a useful product but no one was interested.

A few years later one of the scientists used it for himself, sticking small pieces of paper in place as bookmarks. Again no interest from management, but this time they made samples, handed it out to staff. They could not get enough and, this time, the Post-It® stuck. You can see the rest of the story in offices throughout the world.

A chance creation meets an opportunity for a new product and, with persistence, becomes a blockbuster. Luck was created.

And that’s how wealth is created. We see this over and over with our clients. Some chance life or business event occurs that triggers an opportunity to take action to build their wealth. Business owners and other successful people see those opportunities and are ready for them. They’ve positioned themselves to be ready, then they take advantage of them, and suddenly changes happen in their life and their wealth.

That’s where luck really happens. It’s in those times where we see how it will affect us and others around us and can have say in how it will play out. The key is to set the stage up early and be prepared for it happening at any time.

That’s where I focus on luck. Not from lottery tickets or rolls of the dice but from knowing that when a chance comes your way, you can create your luck by taking advantage of the opportunity.

Think about it in your own life and, if you want to discuss this more, please give us a call (800-480-7913). I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, enjoy!

Send me your response, query or comment to gklaben@coylefinancial.com.