For years, Chuck Runyon (my partner at Anytime Fitness and co-author of Working Out Sucks) and I have wondered what percentage of a person’s success in life is due to luck, and what percentage is based on personal choices. Not surprisingly, our debate on this topic has been all over the board.
Recently, we had an opportunity to spend time with some children who have not had a great start in life. They lacked the basic necessities, such as food, clothing, education, and even a roof over their heads. Most striking, however, was the lack of love and stability in their lives.
We learned many of these kids develop emotional disorders that affect them for life, making them incapable of improving their situation or breaking the cycle of dysfunction. To me, these children have experienced bad luck, and without outside influences or intervention, they may never have the clarity or strength to make good choices that could change their lives.
On the flip side, we all know people who have had fairly a normal existence, or at least one that provided the basic necessities. For the most part, this group was set-up for success, and yet they live very miserable lives. It’s tough to watch as a family member, friend, or co-worker makes bad choices over and over again. They see themselves as victims of bad luck, but you see it differently.
Beyond good luck/good choices, there’s also the optimist/pessimist debate. We’ve seen people with every available advantage in the world give in to negativity, while others who are less fortunate have positively powered their way to the top. Is it good luck to be born an optimist, or are people choosing to be optimistic? Noodle on that!
In the end, Chuck and I agree that success in life is based on three key traits:
This video is an example of someone who was unlucky and allowed that misfortune to take control of his life. But after he had his edge and path to success, he CHOSE to look for a change in his life. And when things appeared hopeless, another person CHOSE to hear his cry for help. I believe he experienced good fortune in finding this individual, but he also made a good choice by believing in himself.
Whether you experience good luck or bad luck— good choices drive success!
Good luck vs. good choices: Where do you stand on this debate?