An Important Distinction

I was listening to a Motley Fool podcast yesterday where one of the commentators made a quippy remark that really resonated with me. To paraphrase:

It is important to recognize when you are smart and when you are lucky.

I feel as though I’ve led a charmed life. A loving wife, great family, interesting friends, fulfilling hobbies and the piece of mind to take life’s challenges in stride. Some of those things are because, I like to think, of my intelligence and some are fruitful happenstance. Some things are a combination and I’ll wager that Adie was smart while I was lucky when we started dating.

The obvious question is how do you differentiate? Perhaps a good way is to honestly and objectively analyze situations. One thing to accept is that it is not something that I can do by myself.

Being smart enables you to spot and seize advantageous situations – something like making your own luck. To follow the reasoning a little further seems to indicate that there is no such thing as luck. Good things come down to your ability to see imbalances and use them. Why should I care if events in my life are a result of good preparation or alignment of the stars? Does luck exist?

There are many things out of my control from acts of Nature to being born. Even though they are out of my hands some of these things I can predict and prepare for. It is the unpredictable, uncontrollable events comprise my luck.

A final point: why do I need to learn this lesson? Between making smart decisions and being lucky, one is repeatable and one always runs out.

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