top of page

Luck, defined.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” We’ve heard this saying many times, but is it right?

The past week got me rethinking the meaning of luck, and as much as I’m tempted to agree with the above statement because it’s been shared so widely, I disagree with how luck is defined here.

When I was younger, one of the greatest fears that I had was that all my achievements in life would be viewed as luck, no matter how hard I tried — if I failed, it was my bad; if I succeeded, it was luck. Even if I worked twice or more as hard as an average person, others would still only see me as the lucky one. It leads me to this harsh truth that I've learned in life: not everyone will care about your stories, your background, your situation, what you’ve been through to get there — it’s much easier to associate other’s success with luck because it protects one's ego and doesn’t require much thinking. But are we going to settle for the world as it is, or are we working for the world as it should be?

I wish we called it ‘success’ instead of ‘luck.’

It’s quite crazy how words play out in our subconscious. If we’re convinced that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” we will be more likely to believe that the reverse is also true — preparation meeting opportunity is luck. It’s not. Preparation meeting opportunity brings success, which may appear to others that it is luck; but success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, not luck. The saying may appear “deep” but can be misleading; because while it inspires us to “create” our own luck by mastering preparation and patiently waiting for the right timing, it disregards completely the original meaning of ‘luck’ which is a result brought by chance rather than through one's own actions (such as winning the lottery) and undermines the true achievement gained from hard work.

“It isn’t luck that happens when your preparation meets opportunity. It is your success.” I hope this is what we will teach our future generations instead, as they should feel validated for their hard work and take pride in their accomplishments.

What is luck to me? It must be that I was born healthy, carrying the gene that runs deeply in my family through generations, inheriting the proven resilience and the cultural richness of Vietnam strengthened through a long history of countless hardships and adversity — all follow me every step of the way.


bottom of page