The Role Of Luck

Luck has a huge role to play in one’s success or failure. We should not forget the role of luck in our lives. I am what I am is primarily because of how lucky I have been in many aspects of life. There are people who are more hardworking than I am and yet don’t have the results they deserve.


I don’t know if there is any way to improve the chance of being more lucky. But the least we can do is to recognize that someone is in a position they are in because of some role luck played and not because they are not deserving. Recognizing this aspect can change a lot of things.


Role of luck in education

There is an interesting TED talk on the role of luck and how changing the way universities admit students might relieve a lot of stress on students. Do watch if you are interested.



The short of it is that the author knows of a student who is good in all aspects of education and extra curricular activities. Yet she may not get into the university of her liking. The reason? There are not enough spots in the universities or work places for a good student.


The solution?

The universities’s solution to the problem is to raise the standards of admission so only the top best performers can get in. What does that do? It increases the stress on students. Every parent wants their child to get into the best school. The only way that is possible is by putting more pressure on the child to excel in studies and other activities so they are better than other kids. The competition is so intense that the children go into depression, all to just have a chance at admission into the college they like. When it comes to college admissions, it is not true that students get what they deserve. Some get what they deserve and some don’t.


The author’s proposed solution to this problem is to admit good students in a lottery system. So take all the students who applied, find the good ones (not the best, just good). Then randomly pick students until all the slots are full. This does not eliminate the injustice to some students who may be deserving. But it is at least honest in admitting the fact that admission is luck based and reduces the stress on students.


Role of luck in life

Think about yourself. Do you feel that what you have in life is really what you deserve? Or did luck have a role to play in it? I definitely don’t think I deserve what I have. But I was really incredibly lucky in many aspects of life. Some others may find that they are incredibly unlucky. Just like the author, many things in my life just fell in place at right moment. Not sure why.


Whether it be finding a life partner, my parents encouraging me to join electrical engineering, knowing an uncle who sowed the seed of further studies in the US, meeting friends both in MS and my first job who were instrumental in me getting a job in the best company that I always wished to work at, moving back to India for family reasons which led to retiring early. Everything had a stroke of luck to play in my life. Although, I have to admit, every step had a lot of challenges I had to overcome. So it was not easy, but still very lucky nonetheless.


Role of luck in securing a job

Below is another TED talk talk along the same vein talking about merit, education and jobs. Watch it if you enjoyed the previous talk.


As usual, I tend to write some pointless articles from time to time. This is one more of them.


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2 thoughts on “The Role Of Luck”

  1. One way to reduce the role of luck in financial success is progressive taxation like 1970s. People who make more than $xxx should be taxed at 80%+.

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