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How Important is Luck in Success

Social media expert and writer friend Danielle McGaw posted a seemingly benign, but surprisingly provocative topic in her post Don’t Call Me Lucky. Is luck a factor in success? She didn’t think so and nor did many of her commenters.

I had to scratch my head and ponder awhile on this one.

While luck has a lot of negative connotations to it (as in your hard work is due to chance), there is also something beautiful and inspiring about it too.

Sure, hard work has a BIG place in someone’s success. It is usually mandatory, in fact. But there has to be other things that come in play, factors unknown to us that wields its ways in our lives.

Young House Love’s Sherry Petersik on Luck

In my interview with famous blogger Sherry Petersik of YoungHouseLove, a blog that reaches thousands of visitors daily with about 17,000 fans and appearances in numerous magazines not to mention the Nate Berkus Show, she claimed luck as one of the factors in their success.


”We have definitely had a series of lucky breaks to end up where we are today in the blog world, and for that we’re eternally thankful. We never solicited these mentions, people found us and liked what they saw- which is truly amazing and we still pinch ourselves when we think about it!”


Okay, maybe they are just being modest.

But there is something beautiful to me at least, about being grateful to the mystifying abyss of the unknown. The part of life whether we call it God, divine, spirit, etc. that may play a part in luck. And the belief that we are 100% responsible for all the good things in our lives doesn’t feel right to me.

The problem with the word “luck” is that it can apply to very different things from having a “lucky dog” to being “lucky at the slot machines.” I really don’t think most people would argue that some luck is involved in Vegas.

But in every situation, can there be a little luck involved?

These are just musings. I wanted more evidence to uncover the truth about luck. So I did some research.

Here is some pearls of wisdom I gleaned from meta-analysis report, “Luck’s Role in Business Success: Why It’s Too Important to Leave to Chance.”

Luck is neither a simple nor singular concept. There are definitional and conditional issues involved in defining and explaining luck.” – John Hafer, Ph.D & George G. Gresham, Ph.D.


The report looks a variety of past studies and has this to say about luck:

1. The more control you have, the less likely it’s luck. Although lack of control does not automatically equal luck (say in the case of winning the lottery), it “may be a determinant of the degree of luck involved.”

2. Nothing is completely in our control. That would mean that every situation and action involves a bit of luck on some level.

3. We remember success as attributed to hard work and failure to bad luck. Doing so, helps us maintain our self-esteem. It is also based on the belief that luck is something saved for a few and “other people run out of.”

4. Luck is dependent on whether we have an internal or external locus of control. People with internal locus of control believe that they are in control and responsible for their own success and behaviors and consequently are less likely than those with external local of control to equate success with luck. {People with an external locus of control believe external situations and circumstances control their situation.}

5. Luck & Success. There is some luck involved in success. In a 2004 report on strategic management, they found that while effort is important in professional excellence, “luck may indeed play a role in success break.”

Guess in the end, we were all right. Life’s a little bit about luck and a lot about hard work. It’s just how you look at it.

Basically, researchers have no real way of measuring luck. But whenever events are out of control, they are labeled as luck. The best thing to do is to try your hardest with what you have to work with. And to note that there is a big world out there and no matter how hard we work at something, we are never 100% immune to the hands of luck.

Life is 90% hard and 10% faith. Do your best with what’s in your control and then surrender to what is.

How much of success do you think involves luck? Chime in below.

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