We get it – this is going to be an unpopular opinion. We all like to feel like the success we’ve achieved or the money that we’ve earned is the product of a unique blend of hard work, perseverance, and discipline.
While it is certainly advantageous to possess all of these character traits, you still might be missing the last magic ingredient: luck.
The Hustle recently spoke with Success and Luck: The Myth of Meritocracy author Robert Frank, a Cornell University Economics professor, in an effort to determine just how much luck comes into play with career and life success.
Firstly, Frank discusses that most individuals who have a higher yearly income are far less likely to attribute their success to luck. Just 22% of this financially successful group believes they can attribute their victories to luck, as opposed to 50% of people with a lower income.
And it’s not as if Frank believes that talent and hard work don’t matter at all. You’ve got to be in it to win it, and in fields like IT and sales where numbers speak volumes, you have to have the skills to match. However, luck might get you in the door, and keep you an inch ahead of the competition.
‘Most of the time, the hardest-working and most talented people aren’t the ones who experience the most success. There are a ton of people who are nearly as talented and nearly as hard-working as those people who probably just got a little luckier.’
Luck can come down to the tiniest of circumstances and factors, which start coming into effect well before we’re born. For example, if you’re born later in the year and thus one of the youngest in your grade, then you’re less likely to achieve a leadership position simply because you’re up to a year younger than the other kids. But other things like height, also play their role in success.
‘You don’t choose your own height, but that can make a big difference too. The average Fortune 500 CEO is 2.5 inches taller than the average American man. Overall, 58% of top CEOs are 6-foot +, compared to 14.5% of the US population.’
Don’t think for a moment that your success (or non-success) is attributed directly to how the stars align. We’ve published a heap of articles with legends who attribute their success to hard work and discipline – so don’t stop the hustle.
Jay-Z and Warren Buffest say it best during their chat with Forbes:
Aside from luck, here’s a few tips to get you ahead of the curb: