Opinion

Working hard, favorable conditions result in good luck

Life is an ordeal with many sudden twists and inevitable turns. Many factors, some rapid and others gradual, pressure individuals to adapt or die. What allows some of us to survive – or even thrive – while others suffer?

The question has no easy answer. It has baffled us since the dawn of time, driving biology and many areas of philosophy. The Law of Natural Selection, which now incorporates genetic principles, emphasizes that genes control the characteristics that determine survival in unfavorable environments.

However, we hear stories of triumph over adversity all the time. Think of the individuals who overcome medical afflictions or societal ones like poverty to become evolutionary and financial successes. It parallels the rebound of survivors following mass extinction events — occurrences defined by major losses of biodiversity in short periods of time.

What allows one person to fare better than another? It’s like asking what enabled birds to survive their dinosaur brethren into the present. My answer is simple and twofold: They got lucky when circumstances tilted in their favor.

Luck is nothing more than chance working in someone’s favor. If we’re unlucky, it’s called “bad luck.” If we can’t explain it, we call it “dumb luck.” But luck, whatever it is, determines everything in the game of life.

Every choice made is a wager for some sort of future reward. It is a risk, not a guarantee. Even when the odds are stacked in your favor, the slightest of mistakes can eliminate your hope for success.
Good luck is the only thing that separates the lucky from the unfortunate. However, it takes hard work and favorable conditions to make someone lucky. That’s why the philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” You don’t need to be perfect to be successful. You just need to play your cards right.

Andrew Blitman is a senior majoring in marine affairs and biology.

November 6, 2011

Reporters

Andrew Blitman

Science Columnist


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.