The Intersection of Hard Work, Luck, and Success


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 05, 2023

3 min read


The Intersection of Hard Work, Luck, and Success


Success is a multifaceted concept, often attributed to a combination of hard work and luck. While luck plays a significant role in absolute success, relative success is primarily determined by one's dedication and perseverance. This article explores the fascinating dynamic between hard work, luck, and achieving success, drawing inspiration from the remarkable achievements of individuals like Tu Youyou and the wisdom shared by Nassim Taleb and Richard Hamming. Furthermore, it delves into the importance of taking risks and embracing criticism to truly make a meaningful impact.

The Role of Hard Work in Achieving Success:

Tu Youyou's journey exemplifies the power of hard work and determination. Despite lacking traditional credentials and resources, she tirelessly pursued her research, ultimately developing a life-saving malaria treatment. Her story serves as a testament to the fact that relentless effort and persistence can lead to remarkable achievements.

Furthermore, when success is measured in relative terms, hard work becomes the differentiating factor. As Nassim Taleb suggests, mild success can be attributed to skills and labor, while wild success is often a result of chance. However, when comparing oneself to individuals who have experienced similar levels of luck, the choices and habits one cultivates become essential in determining success.

The Connection Between Luck and Success:

While hard work is crucial, luck undeniably plays a significant role in absolute success. Individuals who experience wild success often find themselves in extraordinary circumstances that are unlikely to be replicated. As Taleb states, the more extreme the success, the more luck is involved.

However, luck alone is not enough to sustain success. Richard Hamming's insight highlights the importance of preparation and seizing opportunities. Luck may present itself sporadically, but it is the individual who diligently works, pursues opportunities, and tries new things that is more likely to stumble upon a lucky break.

Embracing Risks and Criticism:

In Theodore Roosevelt's famous speech, "In The Arena: Citizenship In A Republic," he emphasizes the importance of being in the arena rather than being a spectator. Roosevelt argues that it is the individual who dares greatly, despite the possibility of failure, who truly experiences the triumph of high achievement.

Choosing to step onto the field and take risks allows for the potential of doing something meaningful. While sitting on the sidelines may offer comfort and safety, it also means missing out on the opportunity to make a significant impact. Embracing criticism, rather than avoiding it, is another crucial aspect of being in the arena. Constructive feedback and differing perspectives can help individuals grow and improve their work.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Cultivate a strong work ethic: Dedicate yourself to your goals and consistently put in the effort required to achieve them. Remember that success is often a result of consistent hard work over time.
  • 2. Embrace opportunities and take risks: Be open to trying new things, pursuing opportunities, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Luck favors those who actively seek it.
  • 3. Learn from criticism: Instead of shying away from criticism, welcome it as an opportunity for growth. Constructive feedback can help you refine your skills and improve your work.


The relationship between hard work, luck, and success is a complex one. While luck may contribute to absolute success, hard work and perseverance are key factors in achieving relative success. By embracing risks, cultivating a strong work ethic, and learning from criticism, individuals can position themselves for success. As the saying goes, "The harder I practice, the luckier I get." So, let us strive to work hard, pursue opportunities, and dare greatly, for it is in these endeavors that true success lies.

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