Luck is for the ill-prepared…

I was nine years old and heard a phrase that would stick with me for (what has been so far) the entirety of my life. “Luck is for the ill-prepared.” It sounded so strong, confident, and intense. It came from the mouth of one of the baddest men on the planet. Arnold Schwarzenegger. This also happened to be from the movie “Junior,” so you know, you win some you lose some.

I’ve repeated this phrase an innumerable amount of times in my life. To myself when I’m about to undertake a task I’m unsure of. To others as a quip when someone wishes me luck, to reassure them I don’t need their or anyone else’s luck. The outcome of the forthcoming situation is not up to luck, but up to my preparedness.

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.


We’ve all likely run across a version of this idea in some form. The message is all the same. Your outcome is determined by your input. The very worst aspect of “luck” is that you get no credit for the hard work you’ve done. Hours of your life you have given to an endeavor are washed away because Lady Luck decided to bless you with her presence.

While simple in words, the concept is profound. Luck is for the ill-prepared. If you enter a competition and happen to lose, luck was never involved. The other party was more prepared. This will invariably bring up a question where someone is looking for a reason to blame someone else or some thing other than themselves for a poor outcome. “what about the weather? I can’t control the weather!” You sure can’t, but you know weather is a factor. Why would you willingly ignore these factors and not prepare for them? This isn’t luck or lack thereof, it’s simply a lack of willingness to prepare.

It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready.

Theodore Roosevelt

In reality, “I got lucky” tends to be a phrase used by those who have worked incredibly hard to keep a sense of humility around them. They just happen to prepare for, and were ready for, every potential outcome. Never let Lady Luck take credit for your successes or failures. She didn’t work for them, she doesn’t deserve your credit.

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