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There are different types of luck, either good or bad. I have talked about luck on this site from time to time. When you google the term online it seems like you typically see people mention there are anywhere from 2 to 5  kinds, however we will talk about two different types here that I think exist. But we are sure everyone has their own opinions of course…like almost on everything!

I think the first type is random or what some people also call blind luck. I think this includes everything from where you came from (even as far back as birth) to cases when in which you may be crossing a street and do everything correctly and safely yet still get hit by a car.

We wrote about luck going back to birth in our American Dream post. This touched up someone who was born in the United States vs. a third world country, or those who were born into the “majority” vs a “minority” among other things. This could be the example of the baby who was born healthy into a middle class family that lives in a good area with decent schools, who is white, a male, etc., and that person will generally have more opportunities than say a baby born in the inner city in a area with bad schools or they will generally have more opportunity than minorities, women, and others who are still not paid equally in the workforce.

That is a type of blind luck, and one of the richest people in the world (Warren Buffet) refers to it as the “ovarian lottery”. Buffet said “I was born in the United States. … I was born white. … I was born male. … I had all kinds of luck.”

As we indicated in the American dream post, this blind luck and/or where you came from can often be a major factor (number one factor?) in success. Of course then you need to know what the definition of success for someone is, as happiness/success/goals are different for everyone. In other words, can the kid from a third world country be given the same opportunities as others? Can a kid from an inner city with poor schools have opportunities? While I like to believe anything is possible, and you read stories of people who overcome the odds, I am not in their shoes so of course I can’t answer it.

I think another type will be the luck you make yourself. This is also critical. You can probably ask 100 people which is more important in life and to what percentage…blind luck or the type you make yourself and you will probably get 100 different answers. What do readers think? We will post a poll on the forum.

As even if you are a white male born in the US into a decent family, school district, etc. you still need to “make your luck”. This can mean almost anything and I believe it is the differentiator in life, this making your own luck. As there are obviously tens of millions of Americans who won the “ovarian lottery”, but they never have any success professionally or personally. Or they never hit their goals. So did they not make their own luck?

As an example of this, I had the concept for my business from a news article I read. Now is that blind luck? Or is it luck I made on my own? Or probably a combination. As I am a big reader and pay attention to the details, but this is something I decided to do on my own and work at it everyday. And once I read that article, it sparked an idea and I ran with it. I think that is luck I made on my own, as I made a conscious decision to read in my life, took action after I saw the article, etc.

This goes to the concept of having an idea that something may work (a hunch) that may be based on your unique experiences or knowledge. Pursue it, and “luck” appears. As the word is large and competitive, and “new” ideas are not that common. Others may thought of the same opportunity for an idea or anything in life, but failed to recognize it or did not pursue it. When you do, this is making your own luck too.

Is building wealth blind luck or luck you make on your own? There is probably some of both…such as investing in stocks is a combination of blind luck and made luck. But wealth building also involves luck that is made, such as understanding types of investments, deciding to save and invest in the first place, etc.

We love this quote from Ameet Ranadive” Just by the sheer act of doing something, you are more likely to stumble into luck. The advice for us is therefore to do something. Try things. Stop analyzing, thinking, pondering—just do it.”. This is what making luck is all about.”

Now overhanging all of this is of course the ovarian lottery luck. As that plays a part in everything…as maybe a kid from a poor school district would not have access to same articles or they do not have parents to show them the value of money.

The bottom line is I think (which I have wrote about before) success includes both blind luck and the luck you make. Now is it 50 – 50? 75 – 25 in one direction? Who knows…no one is smart enough to know and as we said, you ask 100 people and you will probably get 100 answers. But the point is I think, and would suspect the general consensus is, that success in life (however you define it) includes both types of luck. What do readers think about luck and made vs blind too?


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

One thought on “Luck

  • February 19, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Both. Need some luck but working hard is super important. All successful people work hard on ideas to be best.


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