“You’ve gotta ask yourself one question, do I feel lucky?”  Dirty Harry

From the humble horseshoe to a particular pair of underwear, we associate good and bad luck with a variety of sights and symbols. Some are borne out of past experiences and others from historical references, but how much of an impact can luck have on our lives?

Thomas Jefferson once said: “I am a great believer in luck and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it”. It is widely known that highly successful individuals work harder than most and perhaps this explains why they are capable of furthering themselves at opportune moments. In fact, there is now sufficient anecdotal evidence to support the notion that we can be in the right place at the right time. Bill Gates was fortunate enough that both his High School and a nearby university had computers which he was able to use. Evidently he was capable of maximising this opportunity, would many others have had similar success if they were in his shoes? Clearly working hard and intelligently is the right path to follow so that we can seize opportunities as and when they arise.

Furthermore, the birth lottery can play a large role in determining our quality of life; even if we base this solely on where we are born. In fact, simply having the ability to read this article makes us luckier than 785 million illiterate adults in the world. Moreover, gaining early credit in the luck stakes can reap further benefits according to sociologists. They have coined the term the Matthew Effect to describe how a favourable situation can lead to further benefits whereas unfortunate circumstances can get progressively worse.

Concomitantly, there will always be moments when Lady Luck smiles or frowns at us. A simple example could be when we are running late and red traffic lights seem to flourish whereas when we are thriving calculated gambles seem to pay off. Whichever way our luck seems to be going, hindsight can often provide an alternative verdict. As such, we may find ourselves feeling grateful for what seemed like an ill-fated moment!


“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”  

Dalai Lama XIV