Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist at Princeton University, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics (?), was asked to offer a formula for the 21st century. He submitted two:
Success = some talent + luck
Great success = some talent + a lot of luck
Can success be ascribed to the casual relationship between specific traits and subsequent events? Donald Trump is shrewd, tall, egotistical, cynical and works hard; that's why he's rich and famous. How about failure? Can that be ascribed to specific traits and subsequent events? Bob Bregman is shrewd, tall, egotistical, cynical and works hard; that's why he's poor and unknown.
What truly separates Trump from Bregman is a single factor - Luck. Plain luck.
That's why you often see rich men and women become poor. They ran out of luck. All those people that invested with Madoff, they ran out of luck. The workers at Enron, Lucent Technology, World Comm, etc., etc., they became millionaires in their 401k's, they ran out of luck. Nobody deserves to be a millionaire and conversely, nobody deserves not to be a millionaire. So, if you can deserve or not deserve rich or poor, luck is probably the difference.
Now it gets a bit scary as we go further along this road of fortune, good or bad. The bigger question becomes; how much do we have to do with our success or failure? Wealth or poverty? Think about it, it's not very comforting to realize that the difference is luck!
Let's take another look at luck, from a wider perspective. I've been writing about luck as a personal experience that all people have had, good or bad; but what of the wider view? How has the human race experienced luck? The Chinese, Indians, Africans, Mexicans, all humans; where has luck been a factor? Is Earth, our home planet, the result of luck? How about the Universe?
"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it" -
Did the Universe work hard for good luck? How about the Africans and all the other downtrodden people of this world? When I wrote of luck before, I related it generally to two outcomes, good or bad, rich or poor, winning or losing, living in the USA or Somalia, on and on, but always one of two outcomes. It looks pretty cut and dried. Let's suppose that there was no luck, and we had to find another way to explain fortune, good or bad.