Success: Hard Work, Talent or Good Luck?

We all want success - for ourselves and for our loved ones. But what is the key for it? We look at how you can find the best in yourself.

Statistically 20% of new businesses are said to fall apart during the initial two years, 45 percent during the first five years and as high as 65 percent fail within 10 years. 

Twenty-five percent are said to succeed through the long term. The failure rate may be due to a variety of reasons. 

Inadequate market research, not enough finances to last out the initial bottlenecks, your product or service lacks fizzle, not keeping up with the changes in the market conditions, going astray while trying to keep up with the changes or a host of other unforeseen elements.

As an employee it is altogether another matter. 


Success Stories

It is often said, “The harder I work the luckier I get” or “I create my own luck”. Let’s see if these statements actually tie in with success.

Before we begin, a little word of caution for those in employment or are seeking to be employed. 

Working Together: Creating a strong team is pivotal to success
Working Together: Creating a strong team is pivotal to success

The inefficient and the incompetents within the organisation you work with will often make their best efforts to undermine your good work in order to draw attention away from their own ineptitude.  

At the same time, these individuals make sure they are the most ‘visible’ This is a common phenomenon. 

Chances are you can fall victim at some point. 

No amount of hard work or talent is going to save you if your boss is erratic. This kind of person reacts in the moment and your achievements, assistance and all the good and exceptional work you might have done, go out the window in a flash. 

These individuals cause more damage than is recognised according to one study by Stanford Business School . There are many such studies.

Thankfully, for the most part, you are in a position to create your own luck. So what are the essential areas that one needs to address?


Choose Carefully

First of all, do your research to make sure the organisation you’re going to join has the right ethics and values. 

There are some with a revolving door and with little regard for what are truly the most important resource, humans. 

Avoid these altogether. Equally important is that you must make sure there’s synergy between your talents and the job position. 



Recognising and continually honing up on your skills is crucial. 

The level of your performance increases multi-fold once you decide to keep working on your skills and techniques. 

Your productivity can go up by as much as 80% when your talents are in harmony with your job functions.


Strengthen Relationships

Your colleagues are important. Identify the positive elements in your work environment and contribute towards creating good working conditions. 

Be helpful and let them be helpful to you.



We have all made mistakes and will continue to make more. Identify these, own up to them, to avoid repeating them. 

As long as we learn from our mistakes we only reinforce a greater perception of believing in ourselves and this perception is right. 

There is a big plus to this, when you rightly believe in yourself, others believe in you.



Knowing when to say “no” and when to say “yes”  is important. 

Do not accept requests from all around you just because a colleague asked. 

Also when instructions are unclear and muddy ask your seniors to be clear, don’t hesitate. 

Confused and muddled instructions result in having to put in more time while deciphering what is expected of you and eventually you are likely to end up looking inefficient. 



Only around 30% muster up the courage to ask for a raise. If you truly feel you are being passed by and are deserving of a raise, ask. 

Chances are in your favour that you will get one. If not, do not stand for unfair practices. It’s time to work towards changing your job.

While you can do all of the above to create your own luck, as many good traits you may have, randomness does play a role even if you’re employed. 

This study underlines this fact and how so many of us underestimate luck.

As for businesses, call it cosmos, call it luck or what you will, there are innumerable studies that have gone on to prove that there is a fine line between success and failure and this fine line is surely luck. 

Based on careful research it has been proven time and again that most especially, mega businesses happened, not due to the talent of the super famous individuals we read about day in and day out but due to some inexplicable force. 

J.P. Morgan famously said, “Millionaires don’t need astrologers. Billionaires do”.  Be that as it may, a number of studies prove luck as the most important component towards the success of businesses.

Among the many studies, I was particularly impressed with the research carried out by the University of Catania where they kept track of a great many individuals over decades to arrive at the conclusion – it is actually luck when it comes to big time success.


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