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Good Luck Comes to Optimists Who Do Not Give Up



(p. C3) Luck occurs at the intersection of random chance, talent and hard work. There may not be much you can do about the first part of that equation, but there's a lot you can do about the other two. People who have a talent for making luck for themselves grab the unexpected opportunities that come along.

The good news is that there's plenty of luck to go around if you know how to look for it.


. . .


Think yourself lucky. Psychologist Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania told us that if he were looking for a lucky person, "the number one ingredient that I'd select for would be optimism." Early in his career, Dr. Seligman did groundbreaking experiments on learned helplessness, showing that animals put in stressful situations beyond their control eventually stop trying to escape. People also have a tendency to give up and complain when they think they're victims of bad luck.

"Believing that you have some control over what happens fuels trying," Dr. Seligman said. "If there's a potentially good event for me, am I going to seize the opportunity and follow up, or am I going to be passive?"



For the full essay, see:

Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh. "Make Your Own Luck." The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, March 3, 2018): C3.

(Note: ellipsis added; bold in original.)

(Note: the online version of the essay has the date March 1, 2018, and has the title "To Be Successful, Make Your Own Luck.")


The essay is based on the authors' book:

Kaplan, Janice, and Barnaby Marsh. How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love, and Life. New York: Dutton, 2018.






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