Day 4: Hard Work vs Luck

I get a feeling of intense emotional pain when people claim that they accomplished something because they worked harder than someone else. Even worse when they say they worked harder than everyone else. My contention is that close to 100% of everything each of us have accomplished in our lives is due to luck, with the remaining tiny percentage allowing for some measure of effort.

For the vast majority of those reading this, here is a short list of things in your life that were the result of luck and not hard work:

  • Being born with a functioning body and brain;
  • Living in a country that allows you to pursue your dreams;
  • Having someone in your life who guided you through tough decisions;
  • Living in a time with so much incredible scientific and medical technology;
  • Let’s stop here.

For those of you that are picturing the person who always claims he or she got rich by outworking everyone, I feel your pain. For those of you who don’t relate to this at all and are thinking: “this is bogus! I worked hard my entire life and everything in it is because of me there wasn’t a single lucky thing that ever happened to me…”

It may seem like I’m being negative, and maybe I am…to an extent. But here’s the point: I believe that we have very little control over what happens in our lives. We couldn’t control for where or when we were born into this world. We couldn’t control for any disabilities or lasting injuries we may have learned to live with. Everyone is working as hard as they possibly can, with the tools at their disposal.

The one thing that I believe we can control is how we treat one another. So let’s all cut each other some slack. Let’s recognize that we were probably a lot luckier in our lives than some people, and probably much less lucky than others. And for goodness sake, let’s stop telling people we accomplished things strictly through hard work.

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