Where Can Luck Be Found?

Bill Abbate

Do you recall the old Clint Eastwood movie where he asked the criminal:

“You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” Dirty Harry 1971

While we are fortunate Eastwood isn’t pointing his 44 magnum revolver at us, do you ever feel lucky? Well, do ya?

In all seriousness, what if there were a straightforward way to become lucky? Would you want to know about it? Especially if it helped you find more opportunities than you could imagine.

Get ready to unlock the age-old, common-sense secret to becoming one of those very lucky people!

What is luck?

Luck is a fickle thing to many people. The dictionary defines luck as:

“luck (noun) — success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” Oxford Languages

The operative word in this definition is “apparently.” Is there any question that there is more to luck than chance alone? As a well-known author once said:

“You make your own luck.” Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)

Hemingway understood there is more to luck than mere chance.

Many people appear lucky, but what do we know what it took for them to become this way? Was it fate or something more? If we could peek into their life, we would find more than mere fate at play. If they had not been ready for the “lucky” opportunity, they would have missed it. That means they were at the right place at the right time and prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

If the person were unprepared, the opportunity would have passed by unnoticed. Some may say they were “unlucky.” But can you see something else at play? It is more than mere chance or fate alone.

The secret behind luck

You can discover the secret behind every lucky person when you realize there is more to “luck” than chance.

Luck presents itself as an opportunity. When an opportunity comes across your path, you can only take advantage of it by preparing for it.

It is similar to playing baseball and being at-bat. What happens if you are not ready to swing when the pitcher throws the ball? Without swinging, how could you ever hit the ball? And if you swing without learning how through practice, you will likely miss every time! Does that mean the batter is unlucky? Of course not! It means he either was not ready or had not prepared enough. In understanding this, you begin unlocking the secret to being “lucky.”

If you do not prepare for an opportunity, you will miss it. In fact, you may not even see it! This secret to luck appears to have been initially uncovered by the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca around the time of Christ.

I am forever thankful for learning the secret while listening to cassette tapes in the car years ago. I will never forget hearing Earl Nightingale’s take on some of Seneca’s famous words:

“Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity.” Earl Nightingale (1921–1989)

Discovering this secret changed my life significantly! It was so simple I could have missed it. I am so thankful I didn’t!


The secret in Nightingale’s simple words opened my life in unimaginable ways. In an instant, I realized I could create opportunities in my future by simply preparing myself! It led me on a lifelong quest to prepare for what I wanted.

The funny thing about learning the secret was I had known it much of my life but never acted on it. As a boy scout, I learned the motto “be prepared.” Unfortunately, being prepared was mostly an afterthought. I had never spent time preparing for what was to come — opportunities!

What can you do to prepare to increase the opportunities in your life and, therefore, your “luck?” It consists of three things:

  • Learning
  • Practicing
  • Growing

Let’s look at what it means to do these and how each creates more opportunities in your life.


There has been no better time in history than this moment to learn. When I was young, I remember going to the reservoir of knowledge, the encyclopedia, and spending hours with them learning about various subjects. Later I graduated to that fount of knowledge, the library, and its many books.

The sheer knowledge available at our fingertips today eclipses every other resource in history. Within a few clicks, you can find information about practically anything.

Besides learning from the written word online, the internet contains vast resources in the form of videos. Did you know YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine? Between Google and YouTube, you can learn almost anything you want. There is so much information online it would take a lifetime to absorb even a tiny fraction of it.

What does learning have to do with opportunities? Plenty! Education leads to seeing and finding opportunities in life. As a well-known physician and author said:

“Education shows the path to the door of opportunity. It gives confidence and hope to open it.” Debasish Mridha (1964-present)

While some opportunities require considerable formal education, such as becoming a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, many opportunities come through self-education. Some highly successful people fell short of a degree yet achieved phenomenal success.

Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Evan Williams, and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college and are among the wealthiest people today as billionaires! Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller Sr. dropped out of high school.

Thomas Edison was primarily home-schooled and joined the railroad at age 12. Frank Lloyd Wright, the most influential architect of the twentieth century, never attended high school. And lastly, Abraham Lincoln finished one year of formal school and was completely self-taught! What do all of these have in common? They worked to prepare themselves by learning, which led to them finding and creating amazing opportunities!


How does one improve at anything? Practice, practice, practice. As is often said, the rubber meets the road where you put theory into practice.

You will find no shortage of opportunities when you practice. How could anyone find an opportunity in sports without practice? How could a pianist or violinist find the chance to perform for thousands without practice?

Sometimes the practice is mental; sometimes, it is physical. A physicist, mathematician, grand chess champion, software programmer, and countess other professions require a great deal of mental practice. A master bricklayer, carpenter, world-class mechanic, chef, and many other professions require much hands-on practice and skill.

Without practice, it would be difficult to find an opportunity to work. Beyond the opportunity to work, finding opportunities to create and innovate would be challenging.

“Ardent interest, focused practice, and perseverance are pillars for the solid stone foundation of success.” Lee David Daniels (1960-present)


If you are not growing in life, what are you doing? There is no stagnation for the living. Either you are growing, or you are shrinking and withering. Only life and death exist, and you always move toward one or the other. Anytime a person is growing, opportunities are bound to open to them.

Think about your life and where you are now. How did you get there, and how are you maintaining it? If you want to remain where you are, you may for a time. Eventually, it will change. You can do nothing and let it disappear, or you can do something and watch it flourish.

Since nothing remains constant, why not grow and uncover the opportunities that inevitably come your way?

“The only constant in life is change” Heraclitus (525–475 BC)


While no one knows what tomorrow may bring, you can learn, practice, and grow each day and find many more opportunities on your doorstep.

A key to everyone who achieves success is their ability to move forward, not in leaps but in baby steps. You are one step closer to the next opportunity every day you move forward. The day may come when a considerable leap follows the next step, but you may fall short unless you are diligent daily with small steps forward.

“Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” Wayne Dyer (1940–2015)

Many examples exist, such as Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and J.K. Rowling, who kept going just one more time and found success. Think about James Dyson. He developed 5,126 vacuum prototypes; each rejected until he finally created one that worked. He is a billionaire as a result. Then there is Thomas Edison. Where would we be if he had given up one experiment short of his 10,000th attempt to perfect the light bulb?

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison (1847–1931)

Always remember, part of growing is failing. When you fail, don’t give up. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

“There are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure.” Sophia Amoruso (1984-present)

Final thoughts

Success could easily be just around the corner for you. All you need to do is continue to prepare. The more you prepare through learning, practicing, and growing, the more opportunity you will find to live an extraordinary life. Have faith in yourself. You can do it if you want.

As is true for every human being, you create tomorrow through what you do today. The future is in your hands. If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything you wish!

I leave you with some final wisdom from a famous American business magnate. Consider it carefully as you continue your preparation for life.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.” Henry Ford (1863–1947)

I wish you the best of “luck”!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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