The elusive lady ‘L’

The elusive lady ‘L’

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Luck has played a significant role in each of our lives; it has been the tailwind that you needed to succeed or has left your side just when you needed it the most. In this story, business leaders and an author talk to us about how luck changed their lives.

Ask any golfer and they’d say getting a hole-in-one is a brilliant stroke of luck and celebrate that day with drinks on the house for all and sundry. A stock market trader, apart from the technical analysis and fundamental news, will definitely acknowledge the role of luck in making or breaking gains for the day.

Luck is something most of us like to attribute a part (small or big depending on the situation) of our success to. While this unknown force does give us that extra fillip that we need to reach our destination or at least,place us on the right path, the effort, hard work and perseverance is all ours, without which the luck factor holds no significance.

We can take numerous examples from the world of business where luck has played a role in making or breaking a deal.For instance, Excite.com CEO George Bell declined to buy Google for US $1 million in 1999. In fact, Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures talked Larry Page and Sergey Brin to sell for US $750,000, and the duo agreed, but George Bell thought it was too expensive. The rest, as they say, is history. Google, without doubt, has become the most impactful company in the world with a market capitalisation of over US $500 billion. Whether luck worked in favour of Page and against Bell is a matter of perspective.

As in real life, reel life has also glorified luck. As Marlon Brando, who plays the role of Stanley Kowalski in the movie A Streetcar Named Desire says, “You know what luck is? Luck is believing that you are lucky, that’s all.”

Unless you have that belief how will you explain that 1/16th second edge that you get over someone else? R. Gopalakrishnan, non-executive director of Tata Sons, and the author of the book ‘SIX LENSES- Vignettes of Success, Career and Relationships’, where luck is the fifth lens in his book, says, “Luck gives that extra windpower to your effort. It gets you to your victory about 1/16th of a second before the other person and all victories are about that 1/16th of a second.”In his book, he draws lessons from his rich life experiences and explains the role of luck in the lives of many prominent personalities, especially, from the field of sport.

The leaders we spoke to acknowledge the role of luck in their lives; however, the roles of effort, hard work and perseverance are just as important in their success.  Shubankar Bhattacharya, venture partner, Kae Capital, is of the opinion that while luck undoubtedly plays a role in success, it is hard to identify and quantify its significance, even in the most apparent of cases. He says, “This is even more true with entrepreneurs and early-stage startups, where what might seem as ‘luck’ might actually be the success earned as a result of hundreds (or even thousands) of iterations and failures.”

In the next few pages, we share stories of the luck factor,from the perspective of those who believe they have had it and the kind of impact it has had on their lives.

(With inputs from Madhumita Prabhakar)

“LUCK, IN MY OPINION, IS THE TAIL WIND.” 

“HARD WORK AND LUCK ARE LIKE TWO WHEELS ON A CART. IF ONE IS BIGGER THAN THE OTHER, THEN, YOU KEEP GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES.” 

“THE GENES WE INHERIT FROM OUR PARENTS CAN BE CONSIDERED AS THE ‘LUCK’ FACTOR.” 

“THE ORIGINS OF SUCCESS ARE MUCH TOO SUBTLE AND COMPLEX. WE ALL FEEL THAT THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED LUCK.” 

“AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WE HAVE SET OUT TO DO WITHOUT STOPPING OR GIVING UP, WE HAVE A STRONG CHANCE OF GETTING LUCKY.” 

“THE HARDER I PRACTICE, THE LUCKIER I GET.” 

“LUCK IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE INGREDIENTS AN ENTREPRENEUR NEEDS TO SUCCEED.” 

“I BELIEVE IN GIFTS. MANY A TIMES, I AM COGNISANT OF THEIR VALUE, WHEN I RECEIVE THEM.” 

“A LITTLE LUCK IS IMPORTANT ALONG WITH ALL THE SWEAT, BLOOD AND TEARS THAT GO INTO BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR.” 

“IF YOU DON’T TAKE CHANCES, YOU CANNOT GET LUCKY IN THE FIRST PLACE.” 

Poornima Kavlekar has been associated with The Smart CEO since the time of launch and is the Consulting Editor of the magazine. She has been writing for almost 20 years on a cross section of topics including stocks and personal finance and now, on entrepreneurship and growth enterprises. She is a trained Yoga Teacher, an avid endurance Cyclist and a Veena player.

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