The definition of luck (or chance) varies by philosophical, religious, mystical, or emotional context of the one interpreting it; according to the classic Noah Webster's dictionary, luck is "a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause". Yet the author Max Gunther defines it as "events that influence one's life and are seemingly beyond one's control". When thought of as a factor beyond one's control, without regard to one's will, intention, or desired result, there are at least two senses that people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense. In the prescriptive sense, luck is a supernatural and deterministic concept that there are forces (e.g. gods or spirits) that prescribe that certain events occur very much the way laws of physics will prescribe that certain events occur. It is the prescriptive sense that people mean when they say they "do not believe in luck". In the descriptive sense, people speak of luck after events that they find to be fortunate or unfortunate, and maybe improbable.
Luck has three aspects which make it distinct from chance or probability. - Luck can be good or bad. - Luck can be accident or chance. - Luck applies to a sentient being.
Some examples of luck: - Finding a valuable object or money - Winning an event despite negative logical assumptions - You correctly guess an answer in a quiz which you did not know. - Avoiding an accident at the last moment - Being born in a wealthy family
- Talk about how anyone would recognize that a roll of the dice comes down to luck, but if you allow a person to make some decisions, they may come to believe that they that they have some control over the outcome, even if it statistics show that they're still just as likely to win as if it was a single roll of the dice. - In other words, talk about extended rolls of the dice; a "6-hour-long roll of a die", for example.
Felix Dennis - How to Get Rich
Luck? Fate? Chance? Although I am reluctant to even write these words, without them, it appears, nothing can be done. (See Chapter 10: A Few Words About Luck.) While it infuriates me to admit it, there are just too many people I am acquainted with who appear to draw bad luck to them for this not to be so. If the influence of luck is a delusion, then all I can say is that the delusion is virtually universal.
The filthy rich are not gods. They are men and women who put on their underwear in the morning pretty much as you do. It is true that they were in the right place at the right time and did the right thing. The difference is that in some way they placed themselves in fate's way, then grasped her by the forelock as she sprinted past. ("Lady Luck is bald behind", says the old proverb.)
To put it less fancifully, they were lucky in the Search and skillful in their follow-up. Boldness helped. Conquering fear of failure helped. Persistence helped. But, without some luck, no one can get anywhere in the search to discover the exact arena in which to do battle, the arena that suits an individual's aptitudes and inclinations.
Boldness? The most successful generals or admirals in military history shared one characteristic: they were willing to ignore orders and risk utter disgrace in order to exploit rapidly changing circumstances. When the chance came, they recognized an opportunity, weighed the odds swiftly and placed their lives and careers on the line to snatch a victory. (Not to mention the lives and careers of those around them.)
The three great quotes concerning "luck" for me are these:
'Luck is preparation multiplied by opportunity.' -- Seneca, Roman philosopher
'The harder I practiced, the luckier I got.' -- Gary Player, golf champion
'Luck is a dividend of sweat.' -- Ray Kroc, McDonald's founder
Fortune favors not just the brave but the bold. Boldness has a kind of genius in it, as Goethe pointed out.