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I don’t see how it’s belittling to acknowledge luck as a factor among many in success while also acknowledging the non-luck factors. You can be proud of your accomplishments while still acknowledging the influence of luck your success.

I think it's the difference between what comes first, the work or the luck and what's the dominant force.

If you study hard and get good grades, you might find yourself in a position where someone needs to hire for a role that you're already prepared for. Sure, there's luck in bumping into that person, but you worked hard to be able to take advantage of opportunities, so I'd say luck had very little to do with your success. If it wasn't this lucky break, there would be another one.

If you brush off school and happen to get hired by a boss that could care less if you do work of any quality, that's mostly luck and probably not repeatable.

Sure, Gates and Bezos experienced luck during their careers, but I'd be willing to bet that the dominant trait in their growth was hard work and intelligent decision making. Some people like to think of them as happening to be in the right place at the right time, but I think they worked hard to prepare themselves with the skills necessary to see those massive opportunities and were obsessed with moving as fast as possible towards their goals.

I view it this way: being smart and hard working is necessary but not sufficient to achieve the success they have. There are plenty of very smart and hard working people that are also dirt poor due to various circumstances. Maybe they have interests that don't happen to pay a lot of money. Maybe they are in locations where being smart doesn't pay off that much.

There is likely always some degree of happenstance, but there is also too much eagerness to chalk up success to luck, simply because others didn't succeed.

It's not as if the qualifications are simply to be smart and hard-working, and then a random drawing is held to determine the winner.

Instead, there are countless micro-decisions and actions that go into execution. The likelihood that any two people are executing an idea in exactly the same way is vanishingly small, even if they are both smart and hard-working.

The dominant trait was rich, well connected parents?

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