Success comes, in large part, from luck.  Michael Lewis recently gave a commencement speech at Princeton and this was his theme.

I found the speech and the stories circulating about it interesting.  I like Lewis and think he has some good perspective on a number of issues.  The circumstances we were born into and much of what affects our lives in a very basic way is certainly just luck.  In recruiting we deal with luck all the time.  There are so many moving parts and so many issues that luck plays a big role.

But…Hustle Makes The Breaks Called Luck (one of my favorite old coaching lines).  So if you were born into great circumstances and work really hard you can get really lucky, and if you were born into great circumstances and don’t work really hard, then you won’t be so lucky.  Many times we are lucky to find the needle in the haystack that our client is looking for.  Of course, if we didn’t work really hard we wouldn’t have gotten lucky.

Todd Kmiec

Todd Kmiec and Associates

Views: 135

Comment by on June 8, 2012 at 9:19am

I read the transcript of the speech. The message I took from that is not that being born into great circumstances will automatically breed success but that many people ascribe to their own ability things that are to a greater or lesser degree luck or the result of other people's effort.  Pure blind fortune can also play a part.  Lewis refers to getting his job at Salomon Brothers after getting talking to the wife of a senior person there.  Sure he had to put in the effort of talking to her but the fact that he was sitting next to her was chance beyond his control.  It's also chance that there didn't happen to be someone she found even more fascinating sitting on the other side of her so he didn't get a chance to talk to her.

It's true that being born into great circumstances and doing zero work is unlikely to bring success, however the level of work required to achieve success is likely to be significantly less than that required by someone born to less great circumstances to achieve the same success.

Hustle takes advantage of luck, it doesn't create it.


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