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Hard Work, Hard Knocks and Luck

I find that the harder I work the luckier I get


“You seem to always have a lot of luck”  

Somebody I have known for only seven months said this to me.

Quick rundown of the last seven months – I separated from my husband (though we had been separated in the same house for over a year previously), became a single mom, had my house broken into, worked full time while studying at night to get my degree, worked hard to upskill and change the direction of my career, faced the challenge of an unknown future with my job contract ending, all the while living in Ireland, an ocean away from my family.

Same story different perspective. I have discovered strength in myself that I didn’t know I had. I have done things I have never done before. I have followed my dreams and pursued my interests. I have created some amazing memories with my kids and shared quality time with them – exploring the beautiful island of Ireland, playing games, baking cookies, laughing. I have read some truly insightful and thought-provoking books. I have met new people and made new friends.  

The Connection between Hard Work, Hard Times and Luck

Her simple phrase made me think about life and the correlation between hard work, hard times and luck.   I once heard an entrepreneur say something along the lines of “You will look back on your life and see serendipitous moments, moments you can credit to luck that made you a success. But only you know how hard you worked to create that luck – perfecting not only your business, but going out of your way to put yourself in the face of opportunity, failing often… which ultimately led to the ‘luck’ to which you can credit your success”

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work

America’s Rubber Shortage…

During World War II there was a rubber shortage in America. Seeking to remedy this problem, a scientist at GE invented a rubber-like substance – it stretched, pulled, bounced and even snapped in half when pulled too hard. It wasn’t suitable to use to make gas masks and tires, as he hoped.   So he sent the substance, dubbed ‘Gupp’ to different people around the world to see if someone could come up with a use for it.   No one could.

Led to a bit of luck… and Hard Work..

A professor at Harvard, who had received the substance, decided four years later to bring his sample to a party he was having. At that party, a man who was out of work named Peter Hodgson watched as all of the adults played with the substance. He decided it would make a great toy! He borrowed $147 and bought the rights to Gupp from GE. He packaged it in little plastic eggs and renamed it Silly Putty.

… Failure..

Today, it’s safe to say the population of people who have never played with Silly Putty is relatively small.   It’s a classic. However, when he first launched it… it was a total flop!!

Though the toy was in several stores, nobody bought it.

A bit of Luck

Months later, a writer for the New Yorker stumbled upon it at a bookstore in NYC, bought it and loved it! He loved it so much he wrote about it in the magazine. Over 100,000 orders came in the next few days. As a bit of ‘luck’, Silly Putty became an instant success.

When Peter Hodgson passed away, decades later, the once destitute man left an estate worth more than $140 million.

He had worked hard, failed and had a bit of luck.

Luck is a point where hard work meets opportunity

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