The Dichotomy of Luck

Note to future self…

I tend to think a lot about the role of luck in our lives and whether luck or effort/intelligence is the most important factor that determines success. Yesterday I was listening to an interview with Reid Hoffman where Tim Ferriss asks him this question and his response might be the best answer I’ve heard to this question.

Reid argues that asking him whether luck or hard work played a larger role in his success is false dichotomy because the answer is both. In other words, luck and hard word/intelligence are not mutually exclusively even though they are interdependent. In other words, you need to work hard and get lucky in order to great things. Furthermore, working really hard means that when you do get lucky you have a lot more leverage (if not all the leverage).

Reid answers also made me wonder why do people even care so much about this in the first place? It’s not like if finding out the “truth” will change anything. At least it doesn’t for me. If I knew that it was all about “luck”, then it means that I don’t really have a say in whether become successful or not. If I am “lucky” I will be successful. On the other hand, If I suddenly figure out it’s all about hard work, then what am I going to do? Work harder? Am I already not doing that? If I am not working at the very top of my game today because I think that “luck” will meet me halfway then I am complete sucker.

Tl;dr it doesn’t matter whether luck or hard work/intelligence is the key to success. Both play a super important role and our job is to make sure you do the hard work AND get lucky(:

Now back to work..