How to get on in life – it’s all just luck! [FUTURE THINKING]

Or so some say….

Is it luck that allows some people to get on, find the right job, get that promotion (and so on) before anyone else or where things seem to always go right for them?

I don’t think so.

First, a short story

One of the greatest golfers there has ever been is Gary Player and he was regarded as one of the best bunker players in the world at the time.  Some thought he was ‘lucky’.  He wrote in one of his books about a fellow golfer:

‘Once Jerry Barber, a great sand player, was practising bunker shots. He hit one ball near the flag. The next shot went in. A person watching Jerry told him: “Gee, you sure are a lucky trap shot player.” “Yes, I know,” Jerry replied. “And the harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

This quote, on some websites, has Gary as the golfer who was ‘lucky’.  If you are interested, check out this link at

Alternatives to ‘luck’

Ok, several things I want to pick up on here:

1. Gary Player worked hard.  He practised and worked hard at his job.  His ‘job’ in this case was golf

2. His goal when practising at bunker shots was to get the ball in the hole (or as near as possible!)

3. Repetition. For Gary player, he was training his body and mind to do something and do it well.

All the above amount to ‘being ready‘.

Being Ready

Working hard doesn’t guarantee a good result.  You have to have a goal and have your eyes open (be ready) as well.  The goal for Gary Player as I’ve already said was to get the ball in the hole.  For others, the goal might be that elusive promotion or that opportunity to meet your soul mate.  If the goal is to get on at work, then you should work hard but also have your eyes open to the goal too.  If you do what Gary Player did then you will work hard, keep a goal in mind and keep repeating things that will get you where you want to be.

Waiting for an opportunity means you need to work hard, focus on good potential outcomes and keep repeating the things that are most likely to get you where you want to be.

Practical Scenarios

Well, we’ve already talked about one application of these ideas: Gary Player and his amazing golf bunker shots.  What about real life? What about getting on in your career?  How about becoming one of the best in your profession?  How about your charity group achieving things like raising money or finding a generous benefactor?

Quite possibly I could ramble on about any one of the above possible scenarios.  But I won’t you’ll be pleased to hear!  I’m going to pick on the last one.  Not because I have experience in this area but because I know that you can use the same ideas in other areas of your life too.

So, how on earth would you find a generous benefactor for instance? By luck? You think it’s luck that you can by chance meet someone, get talking, find out that he or she is a rich businessman who wants to give to a charity or organisation like yours? Ha! No way!  It might seem that way to some.  And indeed this might happen from time to time. However, for most of us, the way to find a benefactor would be to work hard and repeat certain things and to ensure you are in the right mind-set and ready for that ‘chance meeting’.

Working hard, a practical example

Would you agree for the sake of this article that finding a benefactor means you need to be skilful at communication and be a good conversationalist?  I think this is a good start.  So, you should learn all you can about these subjects, you should start talking to people – anyone! You should communicate with people wherever you go.  You should talk online with people through social networking, forums and email.  How many? It doesn’t matter how many.  Who can say how many people you need to talk to to become a successful conversationalist? No-one.  So work hard at talking and listening to people.

Oh and that’s very important too! Listening!  Listen to all the people you talk to and you might just hear something that makes you suddenly get an idea or ask a certain question.  Listening is an integral part of being ready. Do not underestimate how important this is.

Listening and Intuition go hand in hand.  I won’t say any more on this topic but you go away and have a think about it!

Goal setting, a practical example

I’ve discussed goal setting elsewhere but for this practical working example, don’t you think that you could set goals of communicating with a certain number of people in one year?  Again, it doesn’t matter how many because even if you fail to reach your goal, if you have moved towards your goal, you have been successful in moving forward.

Repetition, a practical example

If you notice that you are getting along well with people through your interactions and that people are talking to you and asking questions, then it’s safe to say that you are probably doing something right.  Then repeat what you are doing with the next person you meet!  And the next!

How many people does it take to find a wealthy benefactor for your organisation? One! You just don’t know which one!

A Warning

With all the above talk, it’s easy to think that the purpose of striking up conversation, being friendly, helping people, discussing issues and so on is all about finding that benefactor!  This is dangerous.  It’s dangerous to have this goal as the be and end all.  If you don’t find that person, then your hopes might get dashed and you stop doing things that you know work (i.e. people like you and like what you are doing and find you easy to get on with).  Your daily reason for meeting and chatting and making friends is not to find that generous rich person but to have fulfilment and self improvement in your life and to be ready when it does happen.

Measuring success

Of course, as in the example above, some would say you would measure success by whether you find that one generous person or not.  To me this is short sighted and narrow minded.  Success should be measured by whether your actions are making you the kind of person that a rich person might look upon and think to themselves “Hmmm, I could give money to this charity”.  See the difference?  How do you think Gary Player (the golfer I mentioned earlier) felt when the ball didn’t go in the hole?  Well, I don’t suppose he felt too bad if it was a good shot and the ball ended very close to the hole every time!  Imagine if every time you made a new friend they respected and looked up to you? Imagine if they saw you as someone who knew what they were talking about and someone who had a great knowledge of their chosen profession/field?  In the process you would become the kind of person that rich person will give money too!


Whatever your goal, whether its like the example above or if it’s seeking to grow your career or something else.  Your actions today affect the outcomes of tomorrow. By doing things right today, you will be ready tomorrow.  Ready to see and take the opportunity when it comes.  Because you will have been preparing yourself by working hard with eyes open, you will be the one to ‘get lucky’.

So go out there and get lucky!

Get in touch

Say what you want to say!