Luck vs. Privilege vs. Hard Work

Where does one draw the line?

I would often cringe whenever I hear someone say “OMG you’re so lucky!” It makes me cringe because it discredits all of the hard work, sacrifices, setbacks, late nights and early mornings that was put in to get to the final product. It comes off as insulting.

But am I wrong to do that? Was my success solely because of hard work? Were there other factors that contributed to my success?

Does Privilege Play A Role In Succeeding?

Absolutely. Being a person from a western country, who was born into a middle class family definitely comes with a lot of privilege. Just by being born in American Suburbia, I’ve had access to things that my mother didn’t have in rural Jamaica (then and now). Once I’ve come to that realization that my upbringing is privileged, I wasn’t always so quick to roll my eyes whenever someone would say “You’re so lucky,” unless I knew that person and their lifestyle pretty well.

Does Luck Play A Role?

Yes. Nearly all of us have had a lucky moment by simply being at the right place at the right time or simply being born in the right era. Imagine trying to start an online business with little capital in the 1980’s when Internet was still in its infancy. It would have been A LOT harder (and more expensive) to get started and become profitable then compared to the current decade because e-commerce is booming now.

What’s The Percentage Breakdown Between Hard Work, Privilege & Luck?

Honestly, I do not have the slightest clue on where to draw the line between the three. Success is a combination of all three aspects, but in my opinion, I think hard work carries the majority of the weight (not all of the time, but in many cases) on top of privilege and luck. There are many privileged and lucky people who are in the right position without doing anything, but refuse to put in the work to better their current situation. For example, people used say I’d be a great 400 meter hurdler because I was genetically blessed, but I hated running; I only wanted to focus on the jumping events. I didn’t want to put in the work to build my endurance, so never became the quarter miler I could’ve been.

In this current microwave society, where everything appears to be a “quick-fix” thanks to social media and shady marketing, a lot of people wish and ask for changes, but refuse to put in the work. Wishful thinking and having faith is good, but faith without works is dead.