“You got an A? That test was impossible – you’re so lucky!”
You stayed up late and skipped out on all the cool activities others had planned so you could work hard on your assignment, and your work paid off. You got lucky.
Does that sound like a familiar situation? It sure does to me, and it’s about time we sit down and have a talk about it.
I lead a good life. I’m relatively healthy, happy, and employed in a job that covers my needs. Does that make me lucky? Maybe. Maybe I’m lucky that I was born healthy in a second world country, and maybe I’m lucky that my parents had the money to relocate to a first world country and send me to school; but was it luck or their hard work?
I may have been lucky to have hard working parents, but their hard work is not luck. And neither is mine nor yours.
I worked hard to be in the position I’m in; I slaved through my years of high school to get the best grades I could and didn’t skip a beat when I had to move and start school in a different country with a different language. I completed 3 years of uni (and a year of studying abroad) in spite of depression, anxiety and severe panic attacks. And quite frankly, if someone calls me lucky for any of my achievements, I’m sure as heck gonna give ’em a piece of my mind.
Because aside from my feelings about the existence of luck, I can tell you for a fact that none of my accomplishments have come from luck.
I graduated from university because I put in the work; I got a job during a slow economical time because I was persistent and proactive. And sure, there’s always the chance that I got a higher assignment grade than I deserved or that my job could have just as easily gone to someone else, but that’s not luck – that’s networking. It’s people influencing people who influence results.
And even that is a form of working.
So why are we so okay with letting people believe that that’s all there is to it? Why do we shrug our shoulders and smile politely when our hard work is being belittled by these comments?
Next time someone calls you lucky for achieving something that did not simply drop into your lap, speak up. Don’t just smile politely and give a fake little giggle; let them face the facts and realise that the reason you’re achieving and they’re not is not down to luck.
And if you’re the kind of person who diminishes the value of others’ achievements by telling them they’re lucky, think twice before commenting and ask yourself whether that’s something that can really happen out of nowhere.