Friday, September 14, 2012

Voltaire Quotes On Why You Can't Get Lucky

"Chance is a word that does not make sense. Nothing happens without a cause." Voltaire

Whether you call it chance, luck or being in the right place at the right time, you are simply talking about myths. Not one of those words is ever a factor in high performance. Too often, people attribute luck to extraordinary success.  

In fact, the Monday morning quarterback can give you rational explanations for how things happen in sports, business or life in general. However, they never give you
access to repeating the performance called greatness. Explanations can serve to diminish some spectacular occurrence. Perhaps it is one of the follies people use to avoid being responsible for their own high performance. 

As Voltaire stated, nothing happens without cause. When you witness a great performer in any discipline, you can believe you are watching the results of a highly committed individual. If you need proof, ask the person who never made an effort to produce extraordinary results and you will learn how often luck meets with them – never.

Oprah Winfrey was quoted saying that “luck is when opportunity meets preparation”. To further this point, in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he researched top performers in their field. He never accentuated luck. He did, however, say that one of the distinguishing factors between high performers and everyone else was 10,000 hours of practice. With 10,000 hours, people master their craft. 

In an example with musical artists, he studied people who started playing their instruments around the same age. By age 21, those who had 10,000 hours of practice played for the top bands or orchestras. The Beatles accomplished this by playing 8 hours a night for years at strip clubs in Europe. Those with 8,000 hours played in a band that traveled locally. Those with 4,000 hours or less became the high school music teachers and never qualified for either of the above.

With that said, it sounds like the best opportunities are a matter of choice. By that, I am saying you choose to be the best with practice. Will you put in the 10,000 hours to be the best? Or will you wait for chance?   

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