Effort and Luck

All results you experience from things you attempt will come from some combination of factors inside and outside your control. For sake of shorthand, we’ll call the factors inside your control “effort” and we’ll call the factors outside your control “luck.” So everything that you experience, you experience due to some combination of Effort x Luck.

By our definition, you can’t control Luck. So you want to minimize its impact. You can’t eliminate it entirely, but you can mitigate its effects. To see how, imagine I told you that you had to make delicious rice pudding, but with one caveat: You have to use a full cup of mustard in the recipe. You’re not allowed to use any less than a full cup.

Sounds gross. If you can’t take out any mustard, how are you supposed to make delicious rice pudding? Well, if you try to make only a normal amount of rice pudding, you probably can’t. But you could make 20x the amount of rice pudding, and by that point the one cup of mustard would be so diluted that you probably couldn’t even taste it. Or maybe it would take 50x. Or 100x. But there is some amount you could make to where the mustard would be inconsequential.

That’s how Effort and Luck work. Luck – defined as factors outside your control – will remain fairly constant throughout your life. But Effort is, by definition, up to you. You can’t change Luck, but you can put so much Effort in that the effects of Luck are barely noticeable.

That means putting in the kind of Effort that limits your vulnerability to luck. You can’t control if it rains or not – that’s Luck. But you can read weather reports, carry umbrellas, and give yourself extra time in case traffic is bad – that’s Effort.

Sometimes you’ll fail and it will be because of a random occurrence, something outside of your control, Bad Luck. But if you accept that excuse to yourself, you’ll learn nothing and leave yourself vulnerable. Luck is constant – if a random occurrence knocked you out before, it will again. Instead of saying “Oh well, can’t be helped,” figure out how it can be. Remember, it’s better to succeed than to be blameless in your failures. Don’t worry about fault. It’s just you and me talking, and we’re here to help each other. I won’t judge you, and I know you won’t judge me. So let’s own our failures, even the ones due to chance, and beat it next time.

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