There will always be an element of luck in life. However, my experience has consistently been that you can significantly improve your own odds through hard work and the right attitude.
Almost 20 years ago, a major beer company initiated a marketing campaign to promote their on-tap entry into the Irish marketplace. While they probably could have succeeded with a billboard announcing “we sell beer on tap here now”, they created an elaborate campaign offering a classic 1965 Ford Mustang to customers of their previously available bottled beers. Buy a six-pack, pick up an entry form, imagine yourself in said mustang.
At 19, you can purchase alcohol in Ireland. I was (and still am) a car junkie. When a six-pack purchase offers the chance to win a car like this, you buy it. I did and then labored over the rules to see what I could do to increase my odds. The competition called for entrants to simply complete the license plate of the prize mustang. Come up with a creative vanity plate, send it in, and hope for the best. They didn’t say you couldn’t send in more than one entry, so I came up with a few creative alternatives. They didn’t say you couldn’t accompany your entry with some artwork, so I included some drawings of the mustang with my plate entries. I then shamelessly added a letter with some thoughts on why my entries should win. It wasn’t much, but it was a little extra that took thirty minutes more to complete. I believe to this day that the ‘little extra’ was enough to separate me from the competition. While I certainly don’t discount the prominent role luck played, I take pride in the work I did to increase my odds. It worked.
When I received a letter announcing that my entry had been selected I was ecstatic. My first car would literally be the car of my dreams. The following day I attended an award ceremony with my father and a close friend. It was a surreal experience and a day I will treasure forever. Through winning, I saw first hand how a little extra work likely helped separate me from a pile of otherwise similar entries. The simple lesson learned has stood with me since . . . doing a little more can significantly improve your luck and circumstances in life.
There’s no question I was (and still am) a lucky person. However, I have since maintained that hard(er) work and attitude make the real difference for us all. As a result, I try to consciously think about how to distinguish myself and how I can do more to support a customer, employee, peer or friend. I know the rewards of doing so will always outweigh any extra time and energy spent.
The world is littered with success stories of people who have shown unwavering resolve in matters far more important than the subject of this post. These are people who have improved their circumstances and fortunes through attitude and work ethic. It’s not about how much they have; it’s about how far they have come. Those people aren’t lucky. To call them lucky cheapens the hard(er) work they likely put in to distinguish themselves and achieve their goals. As Gary Player once said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
So, when has doing a little extra helped you to stand out? How has attitude and hard work shaped your circumstances?