Luck, Fate or Hard-work?

Renuka Kamath

Author: Renuka Kamath

Date: Tue, 2017-09-05 12:13

She studied under the street lamp in the heart of a large city, where their home was temporary so it had no electricity. She got the time to study after she had helped her mother with her chores and that was after she got back from her evening school. 

He had a tough time deciding which bike to take to college, so he could ride the short distance between the college and hostel. His parents told him, he can choose one every month. After all he was going to get a fabulous job after graduating from one of the premier B-Schools.

He was one of the five children of a plumber, a family which believed girls and boys are equal. So, his unusual (in the context of the average thinking even in today’s day and age) parents decided to spend money on educating all children and struggled all the way.

Yet another story. An only child, her parents impressed upon her through her growing up years, that studying hard was the only way to achieving all that she aimed for.  She wanted to become a swimming champ, but her family insisted that there was no money in it and even if she did make it anywhere to the top, there was really no money or life.

All four of them are and were my students.

To all four and many more like them, I asked one common question, subtly meshing it into conversations. What do you think has played a major role in your life – luck, fate or hard-work?

It has always fascinated me, growing up in a middle class family, how luck, fate and hard-work are at times, pitted against each other. They almost seem to play hide and seek at different turns in our lives. I am not sure if you did, but I have often pondered about fairness in life.  I mean hard-work is good, but is it enough to get you what you want?

From the time of being a teenager, it has been a curious habit with me to ask people, interesting people, famous people, privileged people, the same question.  I’ve even asked people I’ve met, who have had extreme adversities in their lives and have been kind enough to humour me with an answer.

Relentlessly I have checked and keep doing so, each time I meet anyone who is even remotely fascinating, intriguing or an average person like me. Delicately bringing it up in conversations to get a peep into minds.

‘Hard-work’ cries everyone. Hard-work wins hand down! Well, yes, hard –work is the winner! And it has never stopped surprising me!

Folks with privileged upbringing who have likely had it all, to those who have fought all odds. Here at SPJIMR, I have the fortune of meeting and interacting with the current generation and this institute being the way it is (for years), brings together students with all types of experiences. So, while the proportions do vary, rare is the person who gives a higher weightage to luck or fate in their lives.

Or could it be that we are socially wired this way, to accept that it is the right thing to believe? Is it just too deeply entrenched in us…sown deep over the years, to say that ‘karma’ rules over ‘kismat’ or ‘bhaagya’. This write-up is not to go into the philosophical meaning or the deep-rooted understanding in our scripture, but to make an observation of how easily we slip into believing that we make our destiny.

Psychologists and social scientists have been researching this area of chance and luck in humans’ evaluation of their lives and outcomes, for years. ‘Individuals get rich primarily because they work hard’ is a statement more likely to be made by people with higher incomes (more privileged) than those with lower incomes (research at Pew Research Center). Other researches confirm that higher income people credit their success to hard work rather than to luck or even being in the right place at the right time. But research has its limitations - the whole tendency of ‘hindsight bias’, where we believe that a happening was predictable and deserved, even when it wasn’t, is difficult to control in experiments.  Hindsight bias is particularly glaring when the outcomes are highly successful.

Anyway I am no one to prescribe the right answer. What I do know is luck and fate played a major role in my life, and by far. I got the best set of parents anyone can wish for (like most of you), I got good schooling, I had a knowledge rich environment while growing up and all these shaped me.

So, on this occasion of Teachers' Day, my dear students, a word of caution from me – always be conscious of every privilege, every small privilege that life has doled out, for hard-work is a necessity and in your control, but luck and fate are not.

I firmly believe it all begins from being born in a ‘favourable’ environment. Would you agree?


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Dear ma’am this is a fascinating question that you ask. Time and again we question our failures and associate them with luck or fate, however, we proudly relate our success to hard work. People at the top will never want to believe that their success is mere chance or fate. Growing up in a lower-middle-class family, it was instilled in me that hard work is the key to success. It made sense to me as hard work paid off almost every time in some form or the other. Moreover, we don’t have a choice, as hard work is the only thing in our control amongst the three in order to achieve success. So we might as well put in all the hard work and give it a shot rather than cursing luck or fate. However, I believe that life is not fair. It does not give equal opportunities to everyone alike. Most of the households in our country struggle hard for a living. Most of these people work hard but only a few of them make it big and are successful. So hard work cannot be a determining ingredient for success, though it a necessary ingredient. There is another way to look at luck or fate. Life throws opportunities at everyone but not everyone grabs it at the right time. This can be either due to fear, unwillingness to change, lack of dedication, etc. People who grab these opportunities are the ones who succeed fighting against all odds, the ones who don’t crib about their luck or fate. Most of the times it is not because we have fewer opportunities, but because we are unable to see these opportunities. Sometimes, we can see them by keeping an eye on it or by keeping an open mind, but sometimes opportunities need to be created. So the question remains is it hard work, luck or fate that takes one forward. I believe all of these play a role in an individual’s success. Hard work is a just more obvious ingredient, but luck and fate play their role in their own way. I believe that I could achieve all my dreams and ambitions till date not only because I worked hard. I did work hard, sacrificing thousands of leisure hours to do productive things which will make me succeed in my pursuits. However, more than being proud that I could achieve success in my pursuits, I feel privileged for all the resources available to me, for loving and understanding parents, for a selfless brother who served as guide and support always. I feel privileged to have met people in life who saw talent in me and appreciated my work, which kept me motivated to go forward. I feel privileged to have gotten opportunities to prove myself and prove my hard work. All this does need luck and fate. But luck and fate cannot limit what a person can do, it can just facilitate progress. I feel it’s really important to first feel grateful for what one has and then keep aiming for more. As I mentioned before, life is not fair, not everyone is equally privileged. But that should not stop one from working hard and fighting against all odds to achieve great heights.

Dear Ma’am, thank you for this blog. I have always pondered on this question from the first time I failed at something for which I had worked quite hard. Does only working hard suffice in this world with so many possibilities? What would have happened if the outcome would have been different? These are the questions that follow. Till today I have not been able to understand whether hard work alone suffices or leaving everything to luck will take me places. I have seen so many people who work day in and day out to earn their bread, they are also working hard but then they have not been fortunate enough like us to have been born in affluent families. It is said that one cannot choose the family he/she is born in. In this way I have been lucky to have been born in a family that has always put my needs first. But then again there are so many examples in the world where being from a not-so-affluent family has not stopped people from achieving great heights. The line between fate and hard work is thin it seems. I have been in situations in my life where I have put in tremendous amount of hard work and dedication but have failed. A recent example from work exemplifies this scenario where I had worked for 2 months putting in a lot of efforts along with my team for a tender but we lost it to competition by a very small margin. I then felt bad and the remorse was huge because of the narrow margin. What I concluded is that the competitors also must have put in equal hours of work but they got ‘lucky’ in getting lower prices from some vendors. “If you are born poor it is not your mistake but if you die poor then you are to blame” is a saying in which I truly believe and there are hundreds of examples from around the world where this is true. So how do you break up success between hard-work and success? I feel that one cannot clearly distinguish and say that this success of mine can only be dedicated to hard work or purely luck. One has to put in effort to get an outcome, at least think of getting an outcome – this is hard work. Whether you get the desired result or not or when do you get to reap the benefits of the hard work is luck. I have always been grateful to have been born in a family where I was taken care of, grateful for my parents who have always instilled in me the importance of both hard work and fate and have been lucky when it came to having friends who would be there whenever I need them. This constant struggle between hard work and fate, I feel will continue till eternity as life is as dynamic as it can get.

I grew up in a middle class household and spent my childhood getting everything that I wanted. No wishes of mine were left unanswered or unfulfilled. In my hometown, one has to be strong-headed and presumably less smart to take up commerce in school. All the smart kids, apparently, took up science. After taking my 10th Board exams, I started to research about good schools in the country because I wasn’t willing to study in a city which looks down upon me for my career choice. I eventually landed up in Delhi Public School, RK Puram and took up commerce. While in school, I wanted to pursue Law as a career. It was part of the reason why I had switched my school. However, I couldn’t do it. While preparing for it, I simply lost interest in legal world. I quit my coaching after paying a full year’s fee in advance. Moving forward, I decided to study Bachelor’s in Commerce and aimed at getting admitted to Sri Ram College of Commerce. Unfortunately, my 12th marks tanked and I didn’t get SRCC. I was devastated. I moved to Mumbai to look up for a college which admits students with grades that are similar to mine. Seeing my state of mind, my father offered to bribe a leading institution in order to get an admission. I refused. Luckily, I got SSCBS. My under-graduate college is known for its stellar record in placements. Companies like RB, Bain & Company, McKinsey, BCG, etc. visit the campus. It was natural for the students to get placement oriented and to get into one of leading companies. I, however, tried to focus on the learning part. I didn’t try for any of the big brands but wanted to work in a start-up. I eventually landed up in Swiggy. Three different stages of my life but all of them share the same core. The same message. I have always been privileged in my life to do things that I did. While switching to a school, where the tuition fee was 10 times of my previous school’s fee, I was privileged. My parents took the pain and were ready to take a dent in their savings. When I dropped law, I was privileged to be allowed to do so by my parents. When I didn’t get into SRCC, I was privileged to pursue my choice and was not pushed to take a conventional career like Chartered Accountancy. When everybody in my college was planning to take up secure jobs in MNCs, I had the privilege to go for a rather risky one. These were just a few of the many instances where my privilege has made me who I am. So yes, privilege plays a huge role in shaping who we are.

Thank you ma’am for this thought provoking and captivating article. The article discusses the role that luck, fate or hard work plays in the life of an individual. Luck and fate are something that is not in our control and according to me they are very time dependent, and the only thing in your hand that you work hard and diligently. During the placements in my undergraduate college, one of my friends who was rejected by few of the companies post interview, he used to blame it on his luck or fate, but there was a chance that he wasn’t efficiently prepared for the interviews compared to others. When something doesn’t go our way, it’s very easy to blame the outcome on luck or fate and while doing this we forget to actually analyse the reasons for that failure and question ourselves what we could have done differently or in a better way. This article reminds me of a wonderful movie “Nil Battey Sannata” directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary. In this movie a daughter of a housemaid goes on to crack the civil services exam and becomes an IAS officer. The movie has beautifully showcased how the mother-daughter duo despite all odds attain their goal. The starting point for individuals may not be the same, i.e. it may differ with respect to financial conditions of the family and their educational backgrounds. These are things that are not in control of an individual. I agree to the fact that this does not paint a picture of a level playing ground between the privileged and the less privileged. Let us consider the example of Narendra Modi, who used to sell tea at a stall is currently the Prime Minister of India, Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was a ticket collector in Kharagpur goes on to become one of the most successful captain of the Indian cricket team. I believe there is more to success than hard work, one factor that comes to my mind is “grit”, it is a mixture of perseverance and passion for long term goals. The examples mentioned above perfectly explain the role grit plays in helping you attain your goal.I believe there is no point pondering over things like luck and fate as they are not in your control, they do play some role in your life but it is not a prerequisite for someone to become successful. In fact luck and fate are time dependent, thus hard work and grit should be the components to focus on. Thus working hard with the right attitude and perseverance will put you where the good luck can find you.

Thank you, Ma’am, for such a thought provoking blog. There has always been a standard debate around the fact what brings about success in our lives, is it our luck, destiny or just hard-work. These three terms are more often than not considered as disjoint sets when we say– “The luck was in his favour” or “He succeeded all because of his efforts”. But do we believe this? Do we accept the fact that we achieve success at all times just because we worked hard or the reverse that our success depends upon the fact that we were born lucky? Luck, fate and hard-work are like the ‘Chapters of a Book’ – individual chapters that leave the story incomplete without revealing its true meaning unless clubbed together. I believe that fate is something that is meant to be. It cannot be changed, for our destiny is already written and what is destined to happen shall happen, be it today or tomorrow. While luck on the other hand, is quite unpredictable and it is unknown whether it shall play in our favour or against us. Hard-work, on the contrary is something that lies completely in our control and it is up to us to leverage it. Anything and everything that we achieve in our lives or even fail at, are as a consequence of all these and not just one. It is a common misconception among people that if instead of complaining about our destiny, we continue working hard, we ought to achieve our desires. But what we fail to realise, is the fact that they are all intertwined with one another and do not exist in isolation. Luck and fate, or as ma’am has pointed out, ‘bhaagya’ are as important as are the efforts we put into doing our work. If we do not have access to the right environment, are not present at the right place at the right time or luck does not play in our favour, will we be able to reap the benefits of our efforts? Not really. Doing hard- work in a wrong situation may lead to failures instead of success. It is a privilege to be in a situation where all these elements are present in our favour. But are there any of us who are the privileged ones? This is something that we all tend to ask ourselves and however privileged we may be, we rarely accept luck and fate as playing the greater part in our lives. It is our tendency to believe that luck does not favour us and it is our hard-work that can eventually shape our destinies and lead us in the correct direction. However, reflecting back on our life experiences, we may all find certain situations where luck has had the greater role to play and situations where efforts have brought out the results in our lives. The fact that hard-work pays cannot be denied but the fact that there are other chapters accompanying it, can also not be ignored. Worth giving a thought!

Dear Ma’am, thank you for such an insightful read. The influence of interplay of luck, fate and hard-work on our life is something most of are intrigued by. The elicitation of the same through stories, some of which are quite relatable, have given me a peek into how the inter-mingling of the three factors can make lives drastically different. It is indeed true that most of us attribute our success to hard work more often than we do to luck or fate. I feel, this is where we need to question ourselves. Is this attribution a result of nature or nurture? According to me it is the experiences we go through and the values we hold that mould our thought process in this case. We are taught very early on in our lives that ‘Hard work is the key to success’, and we move on believing so as and when success occurs, without really factoring in the external influences which may have caused it. On the flip side, it has been observed that people often attribute their failures to luck or fate and not the amount or quality of efforts that they may have put in. I believe that hard work can be considered to be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for success. Any effort put in does require a hint of good luck in order for it to bear fruits. On the other hand, fate and luck should only be taken as additional qualifying conditions to one’s success. I think it is of paramount importance for us to keep in mind that luck is a factor external to us and we have no control over the same whatsoever and thus it should not be treated as a commandment in our way to put in efforts. Another realization that struck me after this read was how we take the privileges, which in most cases have come to us so easily, for granted. This can be related to the Maslow’s Need hierarchy theory, where people who are privileged already have their base needs satisfied and thus take these for granted. However, for the less privileged, who have to start from the base of the pyramid, first have to work towards satisfying their basic needs. This creates an inherent bias favouring the more privileged in the process of achieving success, thus showing how fate can influence one’s success. Fate, luck and hard-work are definitely important factors influencing a person’s success but I feel that there are other aspects that may have an effect on the same. This may include a person’s innate ability to handle situations, uncontrollable external factors and other factors as such. Whatever may be the case, hard work is a factor that remains constant for the achievement of success.

This was a very interesting read ma’am. I too believe luck plays a significant role in how our lives shape up. Where we are born, who our parents are, what our financial situation is, etc are not in our control. There are people who have beaten extraordinary odds to do well in life but they are in the minority. A lot of what a person accomplishes, depends on his environment. I like the examples you have given to show the different backgrounds that people come from. It shows the various levels of challenges they must deal with to reach the same position. There is a danger in believing that hard work can be attributed to success. This would imply that all the poor people are just not working hard enough, which is not true. In fact, a lot of people with low incomes spend a lot more hours working that people with high incomes. It’s usually because of their background that they were unable to get the education they would need to improve their standard of living. Another way of looking at the role luck plays is to think of all the factors that are not in our control in any given situation. For example, in an interview, we have no control over what questions we will be asked. We can do our best to be prepared but there is still a possibility that we may be asked questions that we weren’t prepared for. If we are asked questions that we are comfortable with, we may get selected, if not, we may not get selected. Another aspect is the subjective bias of the interviewer. Depending on who is interviewing you, your chances of selection may vary. The job that you do get will drastically change your life. Imagine you got job x instead of job y. The city that you work in, the people whom you meet, etc will be different. Thus, a simple interview which is not in your control will impact a lot of things in your future. There is another aspect that I think is related to this piece, it is talent. Talent is something that people possess purely out of luck. It largely depends on a person’s genetic combination, which is something that the person has no control over. There are people who argue that hard work is a lot more important that talent. While hard work is important, the impact of talent must not be underestimated. One cannot say that Yohan Blake does not work as hard as Usain Bolt. They both probably put in the same amount of work but Usain Bolt is the world’s fastest man and Yohan Blake isn’t. Hard work can be a differentiating factor if two people are equally talented though. I still believe that luck and talent in themselves cannot guarantee success. What a person does given his resources and fortune is extremely important too. The world is filled with extremely talented people who failed to accomplish anything because they lacked discipline. To do well in life it is very important to make the most of the opportunities that come your way and to remain humble and know that luck too has played a role in all that you have accomplished.

An interesting read ma’am. It is funny I came across this article because yesterday I was speaking to my friend about the role of hard work and luck in our college placements. I was sharing a story with her about how during under graduation placements, I was rejected in many interviews during the final round because, at that point, luck didn’t play a part. The candidates selected had questions and cases which I was familiar with but I was unlucky to get them and I couldn’t cover a wider range of possible questions. We may work hard for all the interviews, but I feel the end result lies entirely on luck. The company where I was selected through campus, the entire process was a smooth ride because all the questions asked to me through each stage were those where I could answer them confidently even if they were ambiguous. It all went right that day and I credit all that to luck. I agree with your point about being born in a ‘favourable’ environment. It is often that doctor’s children also end up pursuing the same profession. Same can be the case for IAS officers or army families. The environment created there is something the children have experienced through their childhood. It acts as a motivator or shaper of their decisions and they are able to pursue those professions. In other cases, like myself and my sister, we were always given the freedom to choose our profession and our parents ensured we got an environment where we could channelize our energy to work hard enough to reach our goals. But, looking at the other side of the coin towards those who never got an environment like this, it was because they never got to know a world of such possibilities. For people belonging to the lower incomes, the children there never would have got a sense of new avenues or what it takes to reach there. That is why that favourable environment was never created and the amount of hard work required to get there was never inculcated in them. All it takes is someone who can open their world to such opportunities and they only make that favourable environment for them. A famous example of this is Anand Kumar, founder of the Super 30 educational program based in Patna, Bihar. Since 2002, he selects 30 talented underprivileged students and tutors them every year to crack the IIT-JEE entrance exam. He makes that environment of hard work and rigour which has given him fine results with over 90% of his participants making it to the IITs. If by fate someone is born into an environment, or they find someone who can make that environment, one would always work hard towards achieving their goals. As a human, we can only do the hard work which would be a benchmark of our efforts, but luck is what that takes us to our final destination.

Thank you, ma’am, for your valuable insights on “Luck, Fate or Hard work?”. Adding to your insights, many times we observe a common pattern in our opinion towards luck or fate. Someone flunking in an exam or unable to clear an entrance exam or failing in any personal commitments, we easily put our all blame on our fate or luck. Why such a common tendency among us, why we behave like this. In my opinion, luck or fate is made a scapegoat for our failures. We find it as an easy escape for our failures. Going a bit deeper into the discussion, an interesting way to look towards the luck or hard work may be as follows. There are two kinds of movements inside or body- ‘Voluntary Movements’ and ‘Involuntary Movements”. Voluntary movements are those which can be controlled by us like the movement of our hands or legs while Involuntary movements are those which cannot be controlled by us like our heartbeat, reflex actions. The Same way we can categorize luck, fate and hard work too. The luck and fate will fall under Involuntary movements while hard work will fall under Voluntary movement. The real insights behind this are that hard work is in our control, so we should always give our best in any task assign to us while luck is not in our control, so have a firm positive faith on our hard work. Also, the abbreviation for LUCK can be as “Labour Under Correct Knowledge”, so if we have put our all hard work in a right way, the probability of getting a success will be very high. Giving a bit of mythological touch, in Geeta it is written that ‘karm karo, fal ki chinta mat karo’ and we may keep this line as one of the core principles of our life. On a contrary note, we have a normal tendency to run blindly behind results and many times while running towards it we forget the core essence of that task and what efforts we are putting towards that task and if we fail into that, we know whom to blame. Also, this excessive tendency of being result oriented have made our surroundings too competitive. We are endlessly running behind our goals ignoring our real learnings behind it. Results have become our ‘Fast food’ and we eagerly wait for it to be served as Platter. So, the real mantra lies in Geeta’s line written above. In my opinion, to live a happy and stressful life, work for your self-satisfaction, not for any result. Somewhere I have read this “Give your best and leave the rest” and this line must be our core essence to lead a stress-free life. In nutshell, if we honestly put our best efforts in the right direction and working for our self-satisfaction, our hard work, fate, and luck, all will be aligned towards giving a fruitful result. Adapting above mantra may be a key towards living a stress-free and happy life.

The article touches the first question you would ask to any person after their success and it is true most of the people would attribute their success to hard work. Many people would stress that hard work was the only factor that got them past the finishing line first over other candidates but they fail to recognize the part luck or fate played in them reaching there. I can relate to the very same luck in my journey to SPJIMR. No doubt that a fair chunk of the people who appeared for CAT were very well prepared, but after completing the paper and during the dreaded discussion that all students tend to have where each one tries to estimate how many questions they got right, I realised that luck had actually favoured me. The order of the questions in the paper is always jumbled for each and every candidate and mine fortunately order them increasing order of difficulty. This allowed me enough time on the questions that actually provided me with the marks that got me past the cut off line. But if we move past the success of jobs and exams, we can have a very long look at the part that luck plays in which family you end up being born in. It could make you the next generation prodigy being born to a couple of scientist or lead you to a life on constant struggle if you are born in a low income family struggling to make ends meet. What you make out of it now could be based on fate and hard work. You could be born a prodigy but lead a life that throws your gift away. Likewise you could be born in a low income family and hard work your way out of it. As these examples rightly point out, luck, fate and hard work do tend to play a great role in where you finally end up, but they are also linked. You can never turn situations entirely in you favour just by hard work, you would always need that luck to get an opportunity to have a crack at the highest stage. Similarly life may keep on providing you with situations one after the other even if you don’t deserve any of them, but your luck would eventually run out and if you don’t work hard enough to convert one of those chances you may never end up at the highest stage. You can link all three for where you are now. Hard work would have gotten you through the CAT exam, luck would have been in your favour that on the day of interviews the questions that were asked to you were the ones which you were confident of preparing and it was fate for you to reach SPJIMR.

A thought provoking article ma’am. I would like to say that before pondering which of the three offers the most to a person, it is really important to find it hard to actually differentiate among the three terms. If I think deeply about it, I won’t be able to come up with a single attribute, certainly not for every situation. I think which attribute takes the driving seat depends on a person’s perspective. Sometimes, a third person may attribute one’s success as Fate if he is neutral towards it, if the person has some grudge/jealousy he may classify as Luck, while someone who has been closely associated and relate to the success will attribute it as hard work. From a person who has seen success will classify it depending on his effort and attitude. For eg. When a person takes over his family business as CEO, it will be success but it will be Fate for him. Now, suppose during his course of work he cracks a crucial project that can be attributed as Hard work mingled with Luck. Luck to me is a very subjective thing. People say “I got lucky”, why would anyone say their success as lucky? Maybe they themselves didn’t have trust on them, while someone who has really worked for years may attribute their success as Hard-work. In my experience, I have rarely seen people attributing things to Fate, it is either Luck or Hard-work. But life is not that simple, and true success of a person cannot be attributed to a single parameter. Fate is the direction; Hard work is the path and Luck is good/bad bumps in the path. Also, I feel honesty and resilience are the vehicle to ride over that path. I always wanted to MBA and I was trying to get into B-School since early 2015. I got it into SPJIMR in my third time; as they ‘third time a charm’. But what happened this time different from previous trials. I didn’t get very high percentile, nor did I had many offers from B-School, so what happened. Well, it is fair to say MBA was in my “Fate” (direction), the tenacious effort, studying after 10-11 hrs of work every day, adds the Hard-work (path) factor, and the good bump in the path was my profile shortlisting, given that my percentile was relatively low, this was my Luck. But we can argue that the profile shortlisting was not a day affair. SPJIMR profile shortlists means there has been hard-work and resilience put for the profile in past. I am strongly opinionated that it is the mix of all these three over the years. We need to keep working honestly with resilience and each attribute will contribute its share to take us to the success. When it is Luck’s time, it will change things, when hard-work decides to pay off, it will come out. Also, I feel every person should respect and acknowledge the existence of Hard-work, Fate and Luck, we may never know which play its part and when, we just need to keep working.

It is very rare that you come across opinions which emphasize upon the importance of luck or fate in our lives. All throughout our lives we are told that we can achieve anything through hard work, that with a little bit of persistence and rigour we will get to wherever we want, but how much of this is true? And to what extent does it depend on the context of the society we are talking about? During my SPJIMR interview, when asked whether life is fair or not, almost everyone very strongly supported the fairness of life. It is almost as though if there is a fear that by accepting that luck and fate play a large part in our lives, we will be seen as people who don’t value hard work and leave things to chance. We all have our lucky charms that we carry on important days, we all want to read horoscopes or get our future known by astrologers, however when it comes to evaluating our lives we always put the credit of successes on the work we put in, and the blame of failures on to bad luck. There was a small game which we were made to play in school once in order to understand the importance of being born in a favourable environment. We were each given a description of the family we were going to be born into. We then closed our eyes and stoop in a straight line horizontally. Next we were given instructions to move either a step forward or backward depending on the colour of our skin, the gender, the nationality, the monthly income etc. Towards the end we opened our eyes and we saw the large gap present between us. This shows how from the moment we are born there is a discrepancy in the resources we are armed with, and the presence or absence of these resources will shape a majority of our lives no matter how much hard work we put in. A girl born in the small villages of India will be brought up with certain mind sets which will be very different to a girl born in New York. She may get married by 18 and have kids by 24 and not be aware that there is anything more to life. A man born with a handicap will never be able to fulfil his dream of joining the army no matter the amount of hard work he puts in. A child amidst the Syria war crisis who’s lost his family will not know what it’s like to live in a peaceful world. A child born to a beggar’s family will never be able to pay for an executive education no matter how intelligent When we talk about Luck, Fate or Hard work I think it reaches beyond how successful you are in your career. These elements play a major role in determining how successful you are in all multitudes of life; financially, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Thank you, ma’am, for writing such a fascinating article. In my childhood, my teachers and elders used to tell me that there is no substitute for hard work. According to them, it is an essential element required to be successful in life. And yes, I was under the same influence. Whenever I used to read the interview of any famous personality, be it a sportsman or an actor or any top post officer, one common attribute I found in their life was hard work. I have completed my schooling in a small town, where there was not much competition. So even with a small effort, I used to get good marks. But when I went to Pune to pursue my engineering from a premier institute, I realized the actual importance of hard work. There were many talented people who were getting good marks even without studying much. And being a mediocre student, I had only hard work to compete with them. No luck, no fate worked for me during those 4 years. Yes, you can count me as one of those thousands supporting hard work. Because the time when I gave up on hard work, I saw the reflection of it on my performance. I was confident that there are no such things like luck and fate until my placement season. Despite being the class topper, I was getting rejected from each and every interview and the people who have spent their 4 years in leisure, were getting placed. After every rejection, people were consoling me by saying ‘Bad luck’. That situation made me think of luck and fate for the first time. And I did realize that luck plays though not a big one, but an important role in our life. After getting placed in the last company on campus and further unexpected progress in professional life made my belief in luck stronger. At one point while I heard the phrase like ‘Bad luck’, at another point I also got the tag of a ‘Lucky person‘. Despite not scoring well in CAT but still landing up in a premier school of management, made me feel lucky. I am still unclear on my stand on fate. Because I haven’t found any evidence yet in life which will make me believe in faith. But all this is at the higher level. At ground level, we don’t think of the people born in unprivileged families, for whom all these things are merely a dream. They do hard work not to compete but to survive. They feel lucky when they get two meals a day. For them, we all are lucky in every sense. Hence the word of caution you gave at the end of the article is very important. We should acknowledge every privilege life has given to us. People generally treat the things achieved through hard work respectfully but take the opportunity which they get luckily in a light manner which they should not. I want to say that luck doesn’t play its part always. Hence without relying on luck, one should strive for success through hard work which is in his/her control.

Thank you Ma’am, for such an insightful and piece of writing. I must say, I completely agree that most of the people today tend to give all the credit of their success to their hard-work. They think that hard work alone could help them in achieving all the things that they want to achieve. But I don’t think that its true. I am a firm believer of the fact that luck and fate play very important role in anybody’s success and in their life at large. For me, even in getting selected in SPJIMR, luck had played a major role. A lot of students must have prepared more than I did for the interviews, they must have had better profiles than that of mine, they must have scored more in CAT that what I did. But then why me? Because it was my destiny to come to SPJIMR. I got the essay topic that I could easily write upon. During my interviews, the panellist asked me the question that I was comfortable to answer. Everything worked in my favour. But was it only luck? Would I be able to write the essay on that given topic had I not prepared about the current and important topics that were most likely to be asked in MBA interview process? Would I be able to answer all the question related to marketing, had I not built conceptual knowledge about the subject? Would I be able keep myself calm and composed during the grilling in the Group Interviews, had I not given so many mock interviews in the first place? No, it was not only luck, there was hard-work as well and that is why everything worked in my favour. Hard-work, luck and fate don’t work in isolation but they are complementary in my opinion. Hard-work is put by a rikshaw puller and by a business man but the returns that a business man earns out of his hard-work is much more than what a rikshaw puller earns. A lot in life is decided by the family that we are born in. Many a times we get opportunities for which we have put zero efforts just because the external environment was such. But to take those opportunities and make the best use of them requires a person to actually recognize those opportunities and working hard towards them. To summarise it all, hard work, luck and fate go hand in hand to make person successful or a failure. It all depends on your mind set, whether you blame your luck in your failures or give all the credits to the hard work in case of success.

This made an interesting read ma’am, something that made me think. I believe that luck and fate have a role to play in our lives to a certain extent. When I see my domestic help working day in and out to earn a few hundred rupees , or I see the ‘tangawalas’ in Kolkata pulling the ‘tanga’ bare feet, or when I meet my Abhyudaya Sitara in her one room house, there’s one phrase that comes to my mind-‘I got lucky’. The domestic help and the tangawalas are surely toiling. My Sitara is undoubtedly as bright and capable as I am. Then why are they not in as good a position as I am? The answer is that they don’t have the access to so many resources which we often take for granted. Let me explain my point as an ‘MBA student’. Most of us are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Consider this, we are born in an environment where our first two needs have already been fulfilled. We begin from Level 3 while there are millions who need to struggle at the first level. I, in no way wish to undermine the role that hard work plays in our lives. As I pointed out earlier, the starting position is not the same for everyone. And when it comes to being conscious for all these privileges that we are born with, I always remember Shakespeare’s quote: ‘I had the blues for having no shoes, until upon the street I met a man who had no feet.’ Now, taking your example ma’am, about the girl who studied under the street lamp. She didn’t have a study table or table lamp to study. Bad luck? Definitely. But did that stop her from overcoming this shortcoming in order to do something that can change her life situation? No. It isn’t great to be born ‘unlucky’, but it’s surely great to choose to fight and overcome it. What’s more, she isn’t just changing her own luck, but the luck of generations to come. I believe that a majority of us can make a difference in our lives through working hard towards overcoming the limitations life has thrown at us. There are numerous examples of people who started off with nothing, but their constant hustle has led them to achieve success. The point that I am trying to make here is essentially this- We can’t choose where we start from, but we can push ourselves to reach where we want it to end. Having said this, we cannot not acknowledge the luck some of us are born with.

Thank you, ma’am, for an interesting blog. The questions raised and the opinions communicated deeply resonated with me. It’s fascinating to observe how, we, as a general public, have an innate inclination to ascribe our triumphs to hard work and our disappointments to luck or fate. Rarely have I come across people who think that their success was a matter of chance, they vehemently defend how it was only their hard work and sheer perseverance that saw them through and helped achieve success. No one wants to acknowledge that the odds might be with them or they might have an upper hand due to external factors. I was one of those people who never gave a thought to the ‘favourable environment’ that I was lucky to be born into. I had parents who supported me through everything, ensured I received the best education and catered to every small need, all they wanted in return was that I work hard. The reason? The age-old formula that hard work equals success and for a very long time I believed that it is all that mattered and whatever success I achieved was due to my hard work and determination and luck or fate had no role to play. My belief changed when I had a chance to interact with someone who didn’t have the same privileges as I did. His father left when he was 14 with no financial support for the family. At an age when all I had to worry about is how to score good grades, he had to worry about how he was going to pay his school fees, buy the books required to study for the examinations and if his family was going to be able to afford one square meal a day. He could have blamed it on fate, but he didn’t. He started working at an internet café and provided tuition classes leveraging on his computer skills and knowledge. He worked hard to amass funds so that he could see himself through school, go to college and also help his mother out. He had the determination and perseverance to work towards a better future. His experience opened windows to a new world of thinking and changed the way I looked at things. Hard work is important, there’s no doubt about that, but I believe we should acknowledge that we are lucky to have all the privileges we did, this won’t dilute the quality of our hard work. Because sometimes, even after all the hard work that you have put in, it might not be enough. Hard work doesn’t guarantee success but if you don’t put in any effort and only depend on luck then you are setting yourself up for failure. Luck and hard work go hand in hand and don’t necessarily need to be pitted against one another.

Dear Ma’am, Thank you for providing your views on this interesting yet debatable topic of what determines success. It was indeed a thought provoking blog and it definitely took me down my memory lane so as to recall and decipher how luck, fate and hard work have worked in tandem to help me reach where I am today. There are different sets of people that I have come across in my life. One set of people deeply believed in the famous notion that “victory never happens in the comfort zone” and that it is ultimately the hard work that beats talent, fate and luck and hence believe that hard work is the sole determinant of success. The famous documentary “The Metaphysical Secret: Law of Attraction” too supports the same idea and talks about how an individual has the capacity to manifest whatever the heart desires and that we ourselves control the outcome. The other set of people always talked about how being at the right spot at the right time really helped them reach where they are today. If I look at my life, there was a time when I assiduously worked towards securing admission in an IIT but being a patient of chronic migraine, I couldn’t perform well in an exam that lasted for six hours and instead I had to settle for one of the top NITs. When I gave CAT, I was again driven by the same passion to put in the hard work and this time I landed into one of dream MBA colleges, SPJIMR. But then the obvious question that remains is what changed in the two scenarios. The only differentiator that I could think of was luck and fate. I never asked for the migraine, it is something that I got over time and it impeded me from achieving my goal. Above mentioned incidents and other life experiences have helped me shape a different take on this topic. When it comes to achieving success in life, a simple analogy that I often use to motivate myself is that of a bank locker. There are two keys that are required to open a locker successfully. There is one that belongs to the owner and the other that belongs to the bank representative. Willingness to work hard and subsequently putting in that effort is the key that every individual possesses while the other key is that of luck and fate. We can always control the first key but we have absolutely no control over the second. Till both don’t work in tandem, success isn’t possible. Hence in order to achieve success, it is imperative for any individual to always present that first key as you never know when the other key is in place to help you get the laurels you aspire for. Hence, for me it is all about putting in that effort so that if favourable conditions prevail, it can help me reach the top rung of any domain that I target.

Dear Ma’am, allow me to thank you for writing an article on something that has always revolved around my mind. I might not be as successful as many others, but owing to the fact that I’ve made it to SPJIMR, I don’t consider myself to be someone who’d say I’m unsuccessful in my life. By the time I reached the end of the article, I was sure that I am not the only person who believes that luck does play a role in one’s success. When we talk about the importance of luck, fate, and hard-work in one’s success, most of us would believe that it’s hard work that pays, and why won’t they, they have all the reasons to believe it as the ones who have succeeded are more likely than not to say it was sheer hard work that made them reach the pinnacle of their success. But I have a slightly different take on it. I remember, it was 10th of April 2011, I was writing IIT-JEE. I had answered all the questions I knew and I had reached the last question in the physics section. It was a match-the-column type question with multiple answers. The instructions were such that one would be rewarded marks if and only if one marks all the correct options for every option in question and if even one option is marked incorrectly or is missed, he/she would earn no credit for the question – there was no partial marking. I had marked all other correct options in the question except for one – the option where it asked if the wave under discussion was a longitudinal wave or a transverse wave. I knew, out of the four options, two were longitudinal and two were transverse but I got confused as to which ones are which. I thought of playing it safe by marking all transverse/longitudinal – this would have ensured that I get at least two out of four correct. But, I took a giant leap of faith, I pondered for a minute and even though I wasn’t completely sure, I marked two as longitudinal and two as transverse. The question carried 8 marks and it had the potential of a make or break question. Fortunately, it turned out that I had marked the correct options. I ended up scoring 238 when the cut-off score was 229. Had my luck not favored me back then, would have I cleared IIT-JEE? Maybe. But just by a margin. The rank that I would have earned otherwise wouldn’t have helped me secure a place in RGIPT and maybe I wouldn’t have been able to make it to Shell, and eventually to SPJIMR. I would completely agree with the fact that had I not worked hard, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve these, but at the same time, I can’t take away all the credits from luck either, at least in my case. They say and I agree, “Hard work puts you where good luck can find you.”

‘If it’s meant to be, it will be.’ – This is a sentence we have used innumerable times to soothe our frayed nerves and broken hearts, and quite often to also persuade our minds that everything happens for a reason. At times it is tough to believe so, but it’s easy to wrap our heads around the idea that we did not have any tangible control over what transpired. We easily accept the impact of ‘fate’ on life. Interestingly enough, it is rather difficult to believe in the same concept of fate and luck during the good times; we tend to sway toward hard work when it comes to our achievements. Most people I have seen do not fancy attributing their success to ‘fate’ – they would much rather the credit gets attributed to their actions. As for me, I believe the though concepts of ‘Karma’ and ‘Fate’ are quite interdependent as ideas, Karma takes precedence. What goes around always comes around. At this point in life, I am invested in the idea of actions (hard work) over fate, simply because I have never gotten a reason to believe otherwise. There have been some very pressing incidents in my life which have demonstrated the sheer presence of Karma (action). So thank you Ma’am, for writing a piece that was an absolute delight of an experience to go through. I wish to talk about a particular point that was mentioned in the piece - ‘how easily we slip into believing that we make our destiny.’ This suggests that Destiny/ Fate has greater power over what we get, than our actions. I, on the other hand, absolutely believe that you have to take action to affect the outcome of your life. This is inviolable. I do not suggest that Fate and Luck do not matter, I advocate that hard work is completely independent of what we are already blessed with. For example, it was in Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s destiny to become an actor, but had he not toiled all those years, had he not been resilient toward his dreams, he would not have emerged as the strong and polished performer that he is today. Hard work, simply put, is the sandpaper that has the ability to make us shine bright. Maybe everything in life is pre-decided, maybe there is no such thing as coincidence, maybe our lives are just a series of things that ‘happen to us’ – but these things will only ‘happen to us’, coincidences will only happen if we take some action that catapults us toward that co-incidence. Life is more of what we do, and not just what happens to us. It is easy to forget all the privileges that we are born with, and I thank you for reminding us to not undermine these privileges – that which is trivial to us may be quite significant to someone else. Everything that we take for granted may actually be a major driving force in determining how our lives are shaped. But that’s it. That is the extent of effect that Fate has - something we come preloaded with. What we subsequently choose to do with it is what determines which direction our lives will go. If we supplement our destiny with the correct amount of work, that sincerity and effort almost always pays off.

Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists the world has ever seen, a young man back in the day, blissfully sitting under a tree. An apple fell on his head and the world was introduced to the supreme theory of Earth's gravitational force. So, what made him derive a seemingly improbable theory from something as mere as the fall of a fruit? Was it years of hard work and experience or his luck that this fateful event occurred at that particular moment? I am in absolute admiration of how beautifully you've penned down the thoughts that truly resonate with innumerable individuals. The four instances you shared are witnessed by us all on a daily basis, yet we fail to acknowledge its importance. "Luck, fate, or hard work?", as the article suggests, is exactly what I was asked back in 2014 when I was entrusted with a position of responsibility in college, and I vividly remember saying, "All three." Society has imbibed upon us its presumption that success is accessible to everyone who is willing to work hard, or work 'smart', as they now say; that hard work is a hedge against bad luck and ill fate. Get good grades, you'll succeed; practice your sport, you'll excel in it. But what if a child is born to parents who cannot afford his primary education, or to a country where girls are butchered in the womb itself? What will she work hard for? Then comes luck. We so easily attribute someone's success to their luck. Someone landed himself a great job, he just got lucky. And if he didn't, here comes luck to the rescue again. And for some, destiny is the ultimate supreme force that shapes and sculpts our entire lives. But is it really always the case? For someone as blessed as me, I say, all three are at play. There is no one right answer here, it is the conjunction of them all. Hard work is the premise of success, yes. But give your 110%, and one will see how luck, more often than not, comes aboard. They say, the harder you work, the luckier you get. I agree, but again, I personally know people failing to achieve something by the minutest bit even after putting their blood and sweat into it, so I cannot dare rule out the importance luck and fate hold. I feel good luck is when talent meets opportunity. You only get lucky when you have worked hard enough for something and are vigilant enough to seize the opportunity you are bestowed with. Michael Jordan might have been born with an affinity for basketball, but it was years of perseverance and determination that actually placed him on the world map. I think my thoughts about this pertinent question are answered by the Law of attraction which proclaims that if you strongly desire something, leave no stone unturned to achieve it, believe you can do it, watch Luck and Fate join hands to make it happen.

Thank you for this thought provoking article ma’am. This blog just brought in few nostalgic moments for me. My parents used to always tell me to work hard so that I can have a comfortable future. Throughout my childhood, at various stages such as 10th, 12th and engineering, I remember my parents telling me, work hard for this time and lead a comfortable life for the rest of the life. This always left me wondering, if it’s really the truth. Is this a phase where hard-work can drive me to success? Is hard work good enough to achieve my goal? I experienced my first blow to this theory in my 12th. I was always a studious student and most anticipated candidate to make it to one of the prestigious IITs. I and my friend, who had almost similar academic, social and financial background, ended with similar marks in JEE. This is when I experienced a substantial impact of fate. My friend, being from a reserved category, ended up with computer science from IIT Delhi where as I could barely make it into IIT Dhanbad. This was the 1st major incident where the event which was out my personal control had a major impact on my future. I totally agree with your point of being born in a favourable condition. Just as fate played an important role in getting best parents, good schooling and one of the best environment growing up, It did play role in being born in a certain religion/sect/caste. I experienced my second and bigger blow to this theory in my final year of engineering. In spite of being in top 5 of the class, I had a hard time getting placed. Though I had very good undergrad projects, internships, grades and good knowledge on my subjects, they weren’t enough to impress the recruiter on the day of interview. I have missed my opportunities in all of my dream companies. This is when I realised the true importance of luck. Though I had all the required ingredients to achieve my dream, they weren’t enough to convert those opportunities. I should say, ‘luck’ wasn’t on my side that day. I agree to your point that hard work and fate play an important role our lives. But I do differ in the point that we cannot make our destiny. Even though I couldn’t get placed in the company of my dreams, my hard work and perseverance placed me as one of the best employees of my organisation. They helped to equip me with all the necessary skill set which carved a path for my future. My organisation and the environment played a major role in shaping me as a person and in providing a vision for my future. I could say, I was lucky enough to get a good team, but my hard work helped me to work across various team to finally find the appropriate team. I believe, hard work can sometimes, drive luck towards us. So, I believe and agree with your point that, it’s important to be conscious about the privileges we have, and the part luck can play, but hard-work is the only controllable factor which can guide us on the path to success.

A thought provoking article indeed. This question has been in my mind since my years of schooling got over. Day in and day out I thought of things not being in my control and that outcomes aren’t purely a function of hard-work you put in. This bugged me. Experiences time and again have shown me that there are things you can never know and fate is one of those. I believe, when human mind cannot find an explanation to certain outcome it chooses the easier more satisfying answer- luck. Attributing things as unlucky for oneself gives a satisfaction to inner voice but also develops a more cynical view of things around. I have personally been a victim of this. When things go bad, I start expecting everything else to fall apart assuming nothing is in my control. But I did come across an influential book – The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. To summarize in one line the essence of the book is- “Thoughts become Things.” This book greatly impacted me and now I believed that my thoughts change the universe around me, but my actions towards the change would define the outcome. Of course, it gets more complicated when it states, positivity, happiness and gratitude as fundamental requirements for ‘the secret’ to work. One cannot deny that a ‘result’ is an interplay of infinite events, one of which is the hard work we put in. Furthermore, ‘luck’ is a relative term. One can be luckier or unluckier relative to the comparison he/she makes. Here it becomes a question of gratitude and appreciation of what one has. In absolute terms, hard work over luck. But hard work would not materialize unless one appreciates and accepts the truth and reality around him. There is always hard work at play, only difference is one cannot predict when the hard work would pay off. A kid from a poor family was surely unlucky to be born so, but life gives numerous opportunities to transform one’s life. When ‘luck’ becomes an excuse, its opens the path towards failure. One must believe and have confidence that all the struggle and hard work would ultimately give peace of mind he is looking for. To quote Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

I would like to thank you, professor, for a very comforting read. What you have discussed is something I too ponder over oftentimes. It is very rare to find a person who acknowledges that fate had a greater role to play in their life, than hard work. As you rightly mentioned, that is probably because we have learned over time to regard karma above bhaagya, and often times people find it dampening on their achievements to say that luck helped them across. For me, I believe hard work coupled with lessons learned from bad luck (both mine and that of others) has sealed the deal most of the times. Lessons learned from my and others’ experiences with hard luck help me work harder, and hard work I believe opens all doors. Hard work goes a long way, and ‘what goes around comes around’ is something I really believe in as regards my work. I have always been taught and believe in the power of hard work. Your commitment for something can create a vibe that makes the way forward easier for you. Dedication, truthfulness and a clear conscience towards the fulfillment of one’s responsibilities generates a totally extraordinary kind of confidence, that I believe raises one’s spirit and helps one know that they deserve the good things in life. This creates a ripple effect of working harder and harder. Luck has taught me equally important lessons. More than good luck, it has been bad luck, not just mine but that of others too, that has made me the person I am today. I have been fortunate to have been on the receiving end in terms of happiness, opportunities etc. that arose as the results of my hard work. But what motivates me to work harder is the fact that fate has put me in a more favorable place than so many other people in the world and not using these resources will be like cheating these people. My own family’s bad position during my early years, when we lived hand to mouth, how we’ve grown out of that situation and how much my family struggled to do so; the fate of the kids living across the street with parents who have adequate resources but no education to guide their children’s careers; my friends and peers who have lost near and dear ones and have grown in the deficiency of love and care; people who were born into underprivileged families and have to suffer on a daily basis for no fault of their own; that student who did not get into SRCC because he scored one mark less than the required cut off; etc. are some of the few examples I use to motivate myself. One must not get any success or any credit off one’s good luck because that person has not put any effort there. But the fate of less fortunate people definitely instills in me the thankfulness and gratitude for what I have, and motivates me to make full use of these resources and work hard to do justice to the fortune bestowed upon me. In conclusion, I would like to mention again what I said earlier - lessons learned from my and others’ experiences with hard luck help me work harder, and hard work I believe takes care of the rest.

Your blog has wonderfully put across a thought that has crossed our minds at some point in time. I’m sure every reader here has wondered when things haven’t gone their way if all this hard work is really worth it and whether it will pay off or not simply because they doubt if Lady Luck is with them or not. Being from a middle-class family myself and having worked my way to be where I am today, I strongly believe that hard work is the key to success. However, this is not the only contributor. I believe that fate has a major part to play in one’s life too. I don’t think that I would be here at SPJIMR, had it not been in my destiny. Of course, it was my hard work that paved the way to this institution. However, I do believe that leading a good life does not start with being born in a favourable environment. Being an active part of NGO’s that work with children from the underprivileged section of the society, I have seen children who have been dealt with a bad hand by God touch the zenith of success that maybe a person from a well-to-do family might have failed to reach despite having all the right opportunities in life. I think these children have something special that we do not possess. They have seen the hardships of life from at an early age and know first-hand how they want to make a difference in this world. Take our Abhyudaya program for example, I met a girl who wants to become a cardiologist because a majority of the deaths are caused by heart diseases and heart attacks back in her village. She has taken the initiative to find out the courses she needs to pursue to fulfil her dream and how she will arrange for tuition fee amongst other expenses. With the huge influx of equally talented people and the competition, she has been lucky enough to be a part of program that will help her achieve her dream. This is a classic example of hard work not being the only constituent to achieve one’s dream. Step one is having a dream and step two is looking for ways to achieving that dream. The second step involves both hard work and luck. One won’t work without the other. There have been instances when someone breaks their back over something and work extremely hard but destiny skips a beat and the person ends up losing everything. There are also moments when someone achieves success despite not working hard just because fate was smiling upon them or they just got lucky. However, we need to be conscious that luck is not a everyday thing and success is only achieved with a mix of hard work and luck. I do believe that we should be conscious of every small privilege that we have been blessed with and should be grateful. But that does not mean we stop putting in an effort and should consciously work hard towards our goal.

Thank you for this thought-provoking article ma’am. It has also bothered me time and again as to what plays a much larger part in my life- luck, fate or hard work? When I look back on my school and college days I realize that nothing worth having came easy but I also realize that if I had not been privileged enough to be born in a “favourable” environment, I might not have been the kind of person I am today. What gets me thinking though is this question- what if I was born in some other family, in some other state or in some other country? Another thought that intrigues me is that this dilemma between luck and hard work is sometimes ‘conveniently’ resolved when faced with hardships. It is easy to blame it on luck or fate when results don't do justice to the hard work put in. Maybe the answer to this is to not think about luck being there at all but believing in the power of optimism. As this article points out that “hard-work is a necessity and in your control, but luck and fate are not”, similarly Rhonda Byrne writes in her book (The Secret), “I was trying to change things on the outside and you can’t. You’ve got to feel it on the inside and everything else will change.” I believe in this completely. Since luck and fate is not something that one can control, one need to focus one’s energy on hard work and focus on the will to succeed. Luck will follow! And this is what has been common in all the successful people who started from scratch. Believing in oneself and putting in the extra effort required to succeed is what makes one successful. When people are present at the right place and at the right time, they are termed as lucky but I believe it is all about being optimistic that things will come your way and grabbing the opportunities when they do. It is often said that opportunities don't knock on the door, they just pass you by. So even if you are in the right place and at the right time, it might just so happen that you don't realize that a number of opportunities have passed by you. Hence, attributing success to luck might not be appropriate for those who are successful in grabbing these opportunities. Another quote by Rhonda Byrne that comes to my mind is, “Life isn’t happening to you, life is responding to you. You receive everything in your life based on what you’ve given.” The thoughts that you give out to the universe is what you get back. This kind of explains how people who are born in extremely different environments succeed in their respective walks of life. Yes, the environment shapes a person while he/she is growing up but it also depends on the person what he/she learns from the circumstances he is thrown into. The way one responds and reflects becomes the deciding factor for his/her success.

Dear Ma’am, Thank you for this thought-provoking article. My parents used to tell me, “Whatever happens, happens for the good.” As a kid, I’m not sure how much I used to believe them but the past few years have taught me that they were right. I am not a superstitious person but I do believe that the final outcome of any event is not just in our hands. Fate plays a major role in our lives according to me. But it’s not just fate, rather a combination of hard work and fate which determine the success of an event or an individual. The examples that you have mentioned are perfect and they truly show that hard work is important but the society or family that we are born in also has an impact on our success. Three or four years ago, people with 99+ percentile would easily get calls from the top IIMs but now, with the new selection procedure, they are not able to get seats in even the new IIMs. I’m sure had they been appearing for CAT two years earlier, they would have put in the same amount of effort as they did now but by just being born two years has changed their whole story. This is just one of the many examples where fate proves how important its role is in our life. Having said that, I also believe that hard work can do wonders even if the situation is not favourable and I think people should believe in the power of hard work. It is true that sometimes things are just not meant to happen but if we start blaming fate or luck for everything, nobody will achieve anything in their life. The quote by Thomas Jefferson, “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have”, truly sums it up for me. No matter how tough the situation is, we can’t just sit and wait for things to get better. We can’t choose the family that we’re born in but we can definitely improve things for ourselves and our families and shape our future differently with hard work and perseverance.

Thank you Ma’am for writing this blog, I feel this is one question which comes in everyone’s mind at some point of time. We try to reflect upon our experiences in life to know about whether it was our hard work which helped us to achieve something or was it mere fate or luck. I think it is not one factor which helps a person to succeed in his/her life. It is always a combination of these factors. There are many stories which we have heard in our lives about people being successful. Usually, we have heard that ‘Hard work is the key to success’. I think there is a bias here because there must be some background where a person reaches after which if he works hard, he will be able to succeed. So, fate and luck plays really an important role as well. But again one thing is sure that we cannot succeed unless and until we work hard. So, I think it is 33% of each of the component which leads to 100% success. I have one story of my friend to share. He was very hardworking and intelligent. He was inclined towards Civil Services. He belonged to middle class family and his father had a small medical shop. He started preparing for Civil Services after his Bachelor’s. He prepared well and was very confident about cracking exam. But, around 1 month before the exam, his father expired. After this tragic event, he could not concentrate on his studies and his full year of hard work became waste and he lost interest in civil services as well after that. So, overall he was very hardworking, but fate and luck was not in his favor. But even though you realize, fate or luck is not in your favor, you should keep trying instead of making fate or luck as a reason not to work hard. At last, I would like to say that even if a person has put in lot of efforts and has not succeeded, be patient and keep moving forward because luck and fate one can’t control and hard work is one thing which we can control. Along with this, one should always be grateful for whatever one has achieved in his/her life because we can never be sure how are fate will turn out to be in future.

Ma’am for a person who has himself reflected upon this idea in life a lot of times, this article comes as a welcome thought. Thank you for such an intriguing read. I would like to start by telling you of instance which planted this question in my mind for the first time. While preparing for my engineering entrance exam in Kota, Rajasthan I came across this person who belonged to a very poor family from a village in Rajasthan. This guy was the most hard-working person I had ever met. For the whole two years of my stay there, this guy was amongst the toppers and everyone was of the thought that he is going to crack the entrance exam in the first attempt. But just before the day of the exam he lost someone very close to him. It impacted him deeply and he couldn’t clear the exam. Somehow he regained strength to re attempt. This time just ten days before the exam he was diagnosed with Hepatitis and again he failed to crack the exam. Now, whom can this person complain? Does anyone have any answer to what he did wrong? Some people might say its ‘karma’ but I would prefer not to believe them, at least in this case. Quite evidently his luck played an important role here. Obviously hard work is must to succeed. But according to me it still cannot be the complete success mantra. I feel that the real mantra would be the amalgamation of hard work, luck and fate. When one needs them, all these three need to click together then only a person can succeed. And yes, this game between luck, fate and hard-work starts from the family we take birth in. I would be no one if not for my parents and the way they did my upbringing. Most of us here at SPJIMR can easily see the contrast through Abhyudaya. In comparison to our mentees aren’t we all much privileged? At least I can speak that for myself. I never really had to struggle for anything. I was fortunate enough to have accessibility and guidance to almost everything I wanted in life. But there are people who are devoid of all these because of reasons like race, colour, financial background etc. Life is just not fair. I can never say that it had been harsh on me but I can say for the fact that it has been really-really unfair to a lot of people around me. I am hoping that this article reaches to its true strength and creates awareness about the importance of modesty and humility in everyone. I don’t think it’s much to take in. The best thing about this idea is the simplicity and same is the case with the article. The only thing asked of us is a little more sensitivity to this whole idea and that is the least we can do.

This was indeed a thought provoking article. If asked to choose one from luck, fate and hard-work that which is most likely to result in success in the long run, often people will say ‘hard-work’. This is a question that has been explored and contemplated on many times. Most people are brought up believing that hard work is the key to success. Since childhood we are taught lessons and stories that pass on the moral message that by working hard we will achieve our goals. This is reflected in multiple famous quotes and proverbs that we all have grown up reading. One such proverb is “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. This teaches us to focus on working hard and that in the end our efforts will pay off. The blood, sweat and tears we have given and invested will help us in achieving success. However, mention this to someone from an underprivileged background or one who has to overcome unfair circumstances and they will disagree. I can relate this very well to the incidents that we come across in the Abhyudaya program. The Abhyudaya program gives us the opportunity to mentor bright children but who come from an underprivileged background, often living in slums and not having access to basic amenities. Often the children in this program are extremely intelligent child and if given the same resources which we have access to, they would go on to achieve great many things. This is not to imply that these children will not be successful. Rather they all have prodigious capabilities and grit and I am sure they will. But one does have to accept the fact that by simply being lucky to be born in a wealthier family would help them greatly. In my opinion, fate and luck cannot be ignored. While it is true that we should never rely solely on our luck to achieve something, it may not always be right to believe that only by putting in hard-work can we become successful. There are countless incidents of people becoming successful because they were in the right place at the right time. A small coincidence or random tricks of fate can also lead to great accomplishments. But fate and luck are never in our hands. What we can control is the hard-work and efforts that we put in. Hence it is stressed upon so much. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain”, we co-relate gains and successes to the exertions and difficulties we have gone through. There is an apt quote by Gary Player which says, “The harder you work, the luckier you get”. And a similar concept is discussed in the book I had read recently - “The Secret”, in which the author explains how to create one’s own “luck”. She describes, by giving numerous examples, that if you think about something achieving something all the time, the universe bestows upon you, various ways to reach your destination.

A very thought provoking article written by Dr. Renuka Kamath. Magnificent, Majestic, Mysterious - Journey of life continues – is it Hard Work carrying Fate, and Luck? Tomas Edison was he a Karma Yogi or simply “Lucky one” who met his “Good Fate” one day? Or would we call Walt Disney a hard working dream chaser or another “Lucky person” born with “Good Fortune”? In an effort to quench thirst for knowledge, these may be few goods questions to answer for as well. In the magnificent majestic mysterious journey of life – many of us might experience - “Fate” – as an intervention from outside where we have almost no role to play - “Luck” – as opportunity meeting the preparedness (Seneca / Foster) – they might say may be it is the “Hard Work” which helps to initiate a bigger claim on the otherwise large unknown gamete’s the only known element. Gita’s Chapter 2, Verse 47 – might thus have echoed in Swami Vivekananda’s voice as “To work you have the right, but not to the fruits thereof” – Karmanye Vadhikaraste ... Ma Phaleshu Kadachana and continued in the same way through Chapter 3 3:05 – “Because on one can remain action-less even for a moment. Everyone is driven to action – helplessly indeed – by the forces of nature” and through 3:08 “Perform your obligatory duty because working is indeed better than sitting idle. Even the maintenance of your body would be impossible without work” might boost the thought process. Is it not that we as unknown passenger of endless journey in the path of time, invented “Fate” and “Luck”, whereas some super natural power somewhere was busy in “Karma Yoga” wherein He was selflessly creating us? “A boy in Oman’s Petrol Pump” creates his “Empire of Petrochemical”, yes we may call his sons and daughter lucky to inherit that but would we call the person “lucky” or “Karma Yogi” – a debate which might have taken place a million times. Even when Dr. Renuka Kamath delivers lecture, we could feel the meticulous hard work behind it which makes us feel lucky – would we not like to call us “Lucky” as by product of her being “Karma Yogi”? Was the “Little Master” Sachin Tendulkar lucky that he did not fade like his childhood friend Vinod Kambli or he simply mastered the art of “Karma Yoga” to excel through all odds might provoke another debate. Yes, I am a bit perplexed with such a topic which forces for lots and lots of introspection and leaves me with a thought … can I remain without doing work just to become lucky or to meet my fate…!! Yes the question might still remain unanswered though I would continue to put my best foot forward towards my only option of “Work Hard”.

“Luck, Fate or Hard-work?” authored by Dr. Renuka Kamath does indeed sets our mind racing yet again to ascertain which one of the three is the real key to success. I feel this is as complex an issue as the “which came first – chicken or the egg?” where no matter how much we wreck our brains, we seem to be heading nowhere close to ‘the’ answer. To many successful people in the society, Luck or Fate seem to have always played the second fiddle to the glorified Hard Work, and rightly so, after all our Holy Geeta preaches – “To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction.” Through the above Verse 47 of Chapter 2, the Holy Geeta explains - There is no substitute to hard work and hard work eventually pays. However what it pays should not bind upon us or dictate our outlook towards our work. While this doesn't encourages us to end up being martyrs, however, this detachment from the result protects us from the disappointment that we are likely to face at some point of time in our professional lives. This philosophy gets further reinforced in our minds when we read success stories of influential people around the globe. To begin with I would like to take an in-house example of our very own Mr. A.M.Naik , the erstwhile Group Executive Chairman of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. Coming from a family of school teachers in a small village in South Gujarat, he joined L&T as a junior engineer in 1965. Through sheer determination, hard work and grit he rose up the ranks rapidly to become the CEO & MD of L&T in just 35 years. He outperformed a number of his colleagues from ivy league colleges like the IITs and IIMs to reach the peak. He never took a day’s off for the first 22 years and when he did that was for 3 days and the leave was a medical leave. His foot got stuck to a battery operated vehicle in the shop floor and he was hurt really bad. However this could not hold him back for more than 3 days and on the 4th day, he was back at his office on Crutches – such was his devotion. After a successful stint at L&T he retired this month i.e. 1-Oct-2017 and I am sure he will remain an epitome of a dedicated and a hard working professional till the time sun sets over L&T. The other global examples that exemplifies and validates this philosophy are the success stories of Andrew Carnegie, who started off working as a bobbin boy in a cotton mill went on to become an American steel tycoon whose Carnegie Steel company produces more steel than all steel plants of UK put together. Next would be Samuel Walton, who worked industriously through his journey from a humble grocery store to become the founder of the giant Walmart supermarket chain. The WhatsApp is a lifeline to many today and its founder Jan Koum started off as a Ukranian immigrant to become the mogul of Silicon Valley. And last but not the least, Mr. Anil Ambani, yet another Indian who has done us proud through his sheer hard work. Does this mean anyone and everyone who works as hard as some of the above gentlemen is sure to succeed in life? May be not. As they say Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Do you think Shahrukh Khan would have made this far through his hard work alone with no Yashraj films to provide him the opportunities to showcase his preparation aka talent? And why do you think Priyanka Chopra had to lose all accolades to Vidya Balan despite her innovative and heart wrenching performance in Barfi? Hard work clearly isn’t the only key to success. The chocolate brownie of HARD WORK has to be topped with a generous vanilla scoop of FATE and finally garnished with the sweet chocolate sauce of LUCK to make it work out. Hence Life is CAT where unless one clears the sectional cut off of all the three sections adequately, stands no chance to succeed.

Ma’am having read your post, it was satisfying, to say the least, knowing that there are people around who value the ‘privileges’ or the lack of them, that many of us are born with. I would want to extend your arguments into one of the most fiercely debated issue in our country – Caste based reservations. It is true that in an open competition, it should be merit that should be rewarded – and merit comes with hard work. But I very strongly believe that even hard work is subjective. A child from a backward caste, with his/her family battling it out with poverty thrust upon them because of years of subjugation, would have to work a lot harder than a child born into a privileged family to achieve similar success. The argument of ‘sheer merit’ falls flat in this situation as merit itself becomes a topic of contention. The playing field needs to be flat for the game to be objective and fair. It is sad that the opponents of the reservation system argue that it is eventually the economic status of an individual that matters without realizing that the economic status is just the effect and not the cause. The cause is ‘Fate’. The fate with which generations were born into those scheduled castes and tribes and discriminated because of their surnames or lineage. Thousands of years of discrimination, economic poverty, lack of access to basic amenities like public drinking facilities, public toilets cannot be undone with 70years of forced repentance. Therefore, even the hard work put in by such people cannot be looked at with the same lens as of the ‘privileged’ ones. Their ‘merit’ needs to be favored. It cannot also be overlooked that there are some who have limped their way out of such shackles and tasted success because of their hard work but their offspring continue to enjoy the privileges of reservations. The policy needs to be reviewed periodically with the eligibility criteria updated as per the changing times. But no policy in such a diverse country can be foolproof. The fate of the majority cannot be rested on the laurels of a few. Such examples are rather proofs that the system has been able to uplift the downtrodden to some extent in all these years. As very aptly mentioned by you, hindsight bias plays a major role when we often conclude that it was only the person’s hard-work that led him to success. We tend to oversee the role ‘fate’ and ‘luck’ played in that success. The ‘luck’ of having easy access to education, the ‘luck’ of having a comfortable house with a comfortable study table, the ‘fate’ of having grown amongst other well educated children in the neighborhood, the ‘fate’ of easy access to tuitions, the ‘fate’ of not having to work part-time cleaning toilets or sewers to afford those costly books – they did play a role! I may have taken certain liberty in extending your thoughts into the issue of reservations, but your theme resonates strongly with my views on the topic and Yes- I do strongly agree that it all starts with a ‘favorable’ environment.

On the onset, let me congratulate author Ms Renuka Kamath for writing such a beautiful article. We are privileged to have read it. Having gone through the content, in all my humanity I would like to partially disagree with the perspective that the author wants to bring out. Let me clarify that I am not advocating that luck and fate are not important but I am particularly not in the adherence to the statement "it all begins from being born in a favorable condition" of the learned author. There are many examples where people with best of luck and fate have not been able to sustain on the top. I would like to put it in this way that there is more to success than just luck, fate and hard work. It is a mixture of perseverance and passion which drives one to the success. Yes there are many people who think that it was written in their destiny to be successful. Look at the flip side of this, people die in the road accidents and the main reason of accidents on highways is non adherence to safety may it be personal or safety of vehicle. In case if one was remained conscious to safety norms, number of accidents could be avoided. This example brings back to the very fundamental question that it’s not always about destiny which decide your success or failure, in the present example accidents could have been avoided if one remain safer. There is something beyond destiny which is your perseverance to achieve certain results that drives you to success. Some people also lack enthusiasm in their life and they end up by saying that luck wasn’t their side. To the credit of author, in the article she has put up emphasis on importance of hard work but coupled it up with luck and fate to be successful, to which I would like to give one more example. India today has a Prime Minister who was born in a mediocre family in a small town of Gujarat. In his early days he helped his father to sell tea and later ran his own stall. He joined RSS at the age of 8 and due to his hard work and perseverance today he has risen to the upper echelons of the political ladder. Imagine in case if he did not had that perseverance and enthusiasm, it would have not been possible for him to rise. Limited point which I am trying to make here that inspite of people not having born in favorable condition have set to achieved what they have intended to. In many cases, thinking that we are limited is itself a limiting factor. It is the purpose in life that leads to success. Finally to rest my argument I would like to share my belief that success is a consequence of effect and not causes. We all are capable to control causes by way of our beliefs and behaviors that leads to these effects.

It is indeed a thought provoking article. I agree that many of us would be reluctant to accept that a stroke of good luck helped us bag an opportunity that we probably did not deserve. Additionally, the role of our immediate environment in which we operate is huge and if they are conducive we are certainly more probable to succeed as compared to someone who is working his way up in challenging circumstances. Life in my opinion is a fine balance of opportunities which demand hard work and probabilities which bend luck in our favour. We do not get to choose some very critical elements in our life such as our parents, financial status of our family, physical attributes, circumstances that we face etc. If these elements are positive they increase the probability of success in life but in no way do they guarantee the same for the remaining tenure of your life. Simply said you may begin the journey of life very smoothly giving you an edge over others but there is no assurance of these cushy circumstances lasting for a lifetime unless one applies the essential element of hard work. I felt the concept of Product of Life Cycle can come in handy here to explore the subject. Like in a PLC, luck may help you peak in a given time interval but the curve is sure to dip if it is not supplemented with consistent hard work. Also, let’s dig a little deeper into the concept of luck. Is it really a mere chance that makes one successful? Or are there certain habits, certain behaviours that successful people practice which makes things easier for them. Hypothetically consider you are a young entrepreneur eager to attract a Venture Capitalist to invest in your business idea. You happen to go to visit a friend of yours at his residence and in the lift you meet a famous VC firm head who encourages bright entrepreneurs. You only have a few minutes to introduce and pitch yourself. What would you do? Would you be able to come up with a crisp and convincing pitch in those few minutes and grab his attention? Or would you struggle for the right words and hesitate to approach him? Someone who is confident, a quick thinker and a go-getter would make the most of it and possibly even crack the initial conversation with the VC firm head. Someone who is a hard worker, but hesitant, socially awkward may let go out the chance and keep trying to meet the VC firm head formally with no success. So in the earlier case, would you say the person was plain lucky or he put his skills to use at an opportune moment which came to him as a stroke of luck. Hence the magical stroke in success is not ‘luck’ or ‘hard work’ but choice. The choice to either act on the good luck being showered or the choice to continue working hard when circumstances are not supporting you until you taste success. It is this choice & willingness to act that guarantee success no matter what the circumstances are. Speaking of Gratitude, it is a must as it brings humility and encourages one to share what they have in abundance, be it material possessions or knowledge. That would ensure good luck is passed on to others too. Someday you might become a stroke of good luck for someone else who was truly hoping for a miracle.

Renuka Madame has touched upon a very relevant question that we face throughout our life at different times. Each situation highlighted here gives a glimpse of a scenario representing the major role of Luck, Fate or Hard-work in an individual’s life. The views presented, raises a very Intriguing question which keeps on testing my consciousness as to what is most important for Success. Is it Luck, Fate or Hard-work; or at times either of the two, or something else? Right from the childhood, we have been listening these common phrases that, “Your Fate decides your destiny” – and so an astrologer comes to your house and predicts your future depending on the plenary positions at your birth time. “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” – and so we do really hard-work. Sometimes we feel that Mr. Murphy was very right when he said that, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. I think most of us agree that life is full of uncertainty when many a times we do not have control over the situations. And yes, we are simple human-beings. What I have experienced throughout my life is - All three, Luck, Fate and Hard-work are required for success. If someone asks me to give the Rankings to these three factors, it would be 20%, 20% & 60% respectively. However, the probability of these 3 factors is 10%, 20% & 70%. This boils out to a simple conclusion for me – Hard-work is predominant, however all three are required for success. Hard-work at least ensures that you are not landed on ground, but to a safer position. Also, at time - as the level of competition rises, you require something extra to win, which is luck/god blessings to succeed. – For e.g. There is a cricket match between India and Pakistan. Suddenly, you come to know that due to Rain, the target for Pakistan is reduced to 20 runs from 6 Overs. Oh no!! You are finished. You go for an Interview or Viva exam and you are asked on - what you have prepared for – Cheers!!! It is your first meeting with an important client and your deal is made – however, others have also done that hard work but they are not enough lucky to seal the deal. It could be anything that made your day – Luck. It changes your life when you get your desired job. Suddenly, you realize I am destined for this job as your kismat has made your bhaagya. The Bhagwat Gita says that – You have come on Earth to play your part as an artist and everything is fixed as in a Drama. “Kaam kiye ja, fal ki Asha mat kar”. That is why many a times we see that a kid is deprived from many basic human amenities right from the childhood. It has nothing to do with the hard-work or luck in such a case but it is the fate of the kid that decides its journey. I appreciate the thought presented while ending the blog that – everyone should get right kind of amenities and environment from the childhood that forms the foundation of his life. Researchers say that a kid’s mind is mapped and developed up to five years and his IQ cannot be changed after 15 years and get fixed for the life. It is this period which requires proper nurturing. We are human beings and are biased as we have our own perceptions. It depends on an individual as to how he sees things. It is rightly said that, “Thinking is believing”.

Appreciate the topic and way it was put forth, it does creates conviction and calls reader to contribute to the topic. Recently we had assignment of reading the book “made to stick” whether author explained how to make ideas/perspective to stick and components of stickiness. After having flavour of what it means to be sticky – I could correlate that this Luck-Fate-Hardwork debate or just this three words in any combinations sticks for sure, why? If we have to brutally divide world in just two type of personalities one being successful and other being not, then both of this category will have this one common topic to correlate and equally attribute the topic for the class they belong. The topic is like god everyone can relate too but no one could say for sure. If I have to take a side – my personal preference says that Luck takes the man of the match award, though people have pointed some examples that people were born lucky but then they messed up all so hard work is the key but I would say for such people that luck wasn’t there with them substantially, but then utilitarian side says that choosing one over other clear drives biasing side and as we have taken some formal education it makes some sense to put light and correlate where all they began and is there correlation amongst them ? So I would like to draw some correlation which is sort of intersecting points amongst them. To put it in perspective I believe that luck-fate are your water tanks storage and hard work is your pipeline which fills it and this three cousins together form closed loop system, luck-fate are the inventories and hard work is production system as long as you have your inventories piled up you can surely get things at hands distance but realization that inventories will dry up one day if filling system is not in place, if not in your lifetime then bigger mess for other taking over from you. So you may start at any cycle of this closed loop and gradually can make to any other.

Dear Madam, Thanks for sharing your views on the topic. Everyone from rich to the poor, from the massy to the classy, has his own views on the topic and the views of the people will keep on changing with respect the situation. As they say “Triumphs don’t come without Efforts”. So, for me the answer is simple Hard Work is the only thing that pays. Yes, luck and fate has its own role to play. But share of hard work is much more. Recently I was going through one of the articles about Luck or Fate on the King Khans (Amir Khan, Sharukh Khan & Salman Khan) which I would like to share. In Amir Khan’s life, luck played a role as he was born in a family associated with Bollywood, so he got the opportunity which others won’t have got so easily. But then it was his hard work which has brought him to the position he is in. Good selection of scripts and 100% dedication to do it perfectly. For Sharukh Khan, it was his hard work that played and made him the Baadshah of Bollywood. Yes, he had his own share of luck and fate which made to him reach such heights but it was his hard work which was prominent. Lastly Salman Khan, people say it’s his luck which keeps on making him a hit among the masses. He was also family associated with Bollywood. Yes he is lucky and his fate is great, but imagine would all this would have come if he would have just rested at home thinking that luck and fate will handle it for him. So, clearly Hard-work is the only thing which will come to your rescue. One who believes in his fate and sits idle thinking that if he is lucky he will succeed and takes easy ways to get things done can never come up in life. Success is not something that we run into by an accident. Even if it does, it won’t last. It takes lot of patience and hard-work to make it sustain.

Great piece of article ma’am, which is indeed a splendid topic of debate and discussion, since we started to understand and correlate the words Luck, fate and hard-work by default from childhood. I totally agree that hard-work is in our control, but luck and fate are not. The debate is slightly controversial but I would like to discuss it as a choice. People can be divided into 3 groups, first who believe only in Luck and Fate, Second who believe in only hardwork and third who believe in both. People who purely believe only in luck or hard-work, are those who have not dealt the actual realities in life. I won’t say they have not faced difficulties in life but they didn’t face situations which are not in their control. I have seen many people working hard but not getting success. For example, Ambani brothers, having same family background, education qualifications, value system and both being considered as hardworking individuals by business circles, both venturing into telecommunications business, one suffered disaster (Reliance communications) and other tasted success (Reliance Jio). In other situations, two equally qualified and hardworking persons appear an interview and perform equally but only one takes away the job. What will be our say for this? Right from our childhood our parents have taught us to do each and everything hard way out. If we want to study; than study hard; in a job interview, describe yourself; “ I am a hardworking person”. By doing so, we are making our lives very difficult. This has been taught right from our childhood to associate work with “Hard – Adjective”. Can’t we change the adjective to “Enjoy Work” or “Smart Work” ? This will give a whole new dimension to the above discussion. Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." The above example states that Success itself is perspective in nature and should only depend upon self’s setting benchmark and persistent to achieve the same. Hence we should always respect and admire the people who give their efforts and work hard even though they haven’t tasted success, as we never know when will they rise to the occasion and even if they don’t they have given their best. According to me, success is like a triangle comprising of 95% being hard-work as the foundation, 4% being luck and top 1% being fate. To get lucky also, we need to work-hard and put our efforts. Hence I would like to conclude by saying, “The harder we work, the luckier we get”.

A thought provoking blog indeed. Once again it has posed questions to me; ones which I have struggled to answer after each success or failure – was it hard work (or the lack of it) or luck, was it fate or efforts (or the lack of it). The comforting answer that immediately springs up is combination of both. Subsequent reflection throws up new ones – Why me? What worked or what did not? Can I be better? Could it have been different? Zeroing down to answers, at times by elimination of alternatives, has helped. Hard work brings luck. This is what Malcolm Gladwell also argued in his book Outliers. If someone spends 10000 hours on any activity then he can become an expert in it. In other words 10000 hours of hard work is required to be successful or 10000 hours of hard work would being luck. My experience with life makes me believe he is correct. What made Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Phelps, Amitabh Bachchan or Sachin Tendulkar so successful? Were they lucky to be born as child prodigies and was that enough for their success? Well they were gifted, perhaps, but they worked at it for a long time. 10000 hours or could be more. Opportunities available to them were available to many. Quite a few failed to grab the opportunities. Other grabbed it but fell short in sweating it out. These men, after grabbing the opportunity, worked at it more than other mortals and, therefore, were successful. Everybody in life is faced with circumstances and environment which have absolutely nothing to do with ones choices. Their role in shaping up destinies cannot be out rightly rejected. However, one is required to make a choice. Work hard to change things or just wait for luck to change things and then start working hard. The above great men chose the first option. Whenever I have chosen the first option I have been luckier. Luck seldom supported me when I chose the second. This is what life taught me in no uncertain terms – Luck is a confluence of perseverance, hard work, prospects and preferences. Opportunities when worked upon in the light of above have lead to desired outcomes.

“Hard work is the key to success” is often heard in every household from the time we set our first step at school (at a time we are not even aware of the meaning in its truest form). Then at least till our fag end of our life’s first quarter, we are repeatedly reminded with this, at different phases and events of life. Irrespective of whether we choose a career in academics, entrepreneurship, sports, music etc. this is what is imbibed in our minds from every possible individual in our surroundings. Yes, I too will never deny the fact that how we shape our life depends a lot on the hard work we did, maybe at a young age. When today, after passing out from a reputed engineering college almost 10 years ago, I look back to the times when I had to give up many likings like outings, sports and concentrate on my engineering coaching and academics, I feel a tinge of indefinable joy within me. But though I will never defy to this age old motto, I am a strong believer of luck and fate. Though we might give our 100% in our effort but if it is not in our luck, we will never achieve it. Luck and fate brings us the glorious opportunities in life to act upon. To be at the right place, at the right time is all in our luck. To act right is in our hands but to have that opportunity to do so is all luck. To meet the right person at the right time of our lives leading to lifelong companionship is all luck. To suddenly being informed about an opportunity is luck. As an example, my wife always claims that had she not gone to the neighborhood puja, she would never have met the person who informed her about an off campus drive she cleared, which shaped her career forever. We all get ample opportunities in our lives from the time we are born to loving supportive parents providing us with a favorable environment, due to which, we are who we are today. We definitely cannot deny the fact that even though we are provided with the best of opportunity, if we do not work towards it, we may waste that gift of luck. I personally know two daughters of my carpenter who fought against all odds, be it monetary issues or social prejudice, to secure positions in their board exams and build a great career for themselves. Hence after realizing upon my own experiences and that too in my neighboring environment, I feel we should be grateful for all the gifts and opportunities life offers us. Every small blessing must be cherished. The same degree we have which gave us this relishing job might not be sufficient enough for someone else to have a minimalistic job. Hence, I totally agree to what ma’am says in her blog that we should ever be grateful to all the privileges we get in life due to our luck and fate and work hard towards making every opportunity count.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I talk about success is “hard work”. But when I come to personal front does hard work alone sufficient. For me the answer is no. The trios, hard work, luck & fate has a pivotal role to play in the success of an individual. In this competitive world people would find hard to attribute their success to luck as it would hurt their hard work and self-determination. But in a recent survey conducted, people who were successful in their carrier have told that all the three element luck, hard work & fate contributed equally to their success as luck is nothing but it is the right opportunity at the right time. Therefore for me luck also plays a major role in the success of an individual. Fate for me is something which is externally controlled. Not everybody believes in fate, but I do have a firm believe. It certainly plays a role in our lives, sometimes good, sometimes bad. For e.g. I wouldn’t have been blessed with a baby boy if I wouldn’t have visited my sister’s place and accidently met the women I married today. So it can be stated that many things happen just out of luck that we cannot deny the role of fate in our lives. Losing weight, learning to drive a car, starting own venture, achieving all these require a key factor i.e. hard work. Nothing in this world comes easily. There is no shortcut to success. Hard work complimented with an intense desire to struggle and to achieve success is the only sure shot way of reaching success that we have always wanted.

Hello mam, Thanks for giving such an issue where we can peep into our minds and heart and try to answer a very difficult but yes a true question. I truly agree that hard work always pay but we cannot altogether set aside luck and fate or destiny whatever you call. As you mentioned in your blog about some of the not so privileged students where they were born to such parents whose resources were less but not the dreams so here the hard work is not required as their fate or luck has given them that place and we should not forget the concept of “Born With A Silver Spoon” where everything is under feet and hard work is nowhere. We live in a country like India where despite of all the hard work a student scoring 40% get the desired admission and a student with 80% doesn’t ,thanks to reservation policy or bribery so here the hard work sometimes come in question mark. A rich person sitting in AC office doing million dollars deals per day on a phone call where as a daily wager doing all the hard work in hot summer and earning a handful so here some credit goes to luck or fate. By writing this I am not against hard work it is necessary as always but yes there are certain situations where we cannot close our eyes towards luck or fate. For eg: A narrow escape from an accident or winning a lottery all credit goes to luck or fate .In our day to day lives we face a lot of situations in which luck factor cannot be foreseen as in case of marriage many things depend on luck or fate, especially in India where before any significant work we do a lot of religious ceremonies just because to favor our planets and raising the opportunities for ourselves. By writing this I am not at all eliminating the powerful factor of hard work which is required at every step of life but just want to explain that along with hard work a little luck or fate also have their own place in our lives . I want to sum up on this note that undoubtedly the Key mantra to success is hard work but luck or fate has their own role to play which cannot be out sighted. Without hard work success cannot be achieved but with hard work if we have favorable privileges we can be on cloud nine. I would also like to add that, Luck or Fate shows us doors of opportunities, but hard work gives us the key to open those doors.

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Wow! Indeed a very nice blog ma’am. I completely agree with the fact that getting good parents and having right upbringing is a boom for us, as during birth we don’t have a choice of parents, caste, religion, nationality, skin colour, and even physical appearance. I believe that our life is driven both by hard work and luck. Both of them complement each other. Hardwork, no doubt is required in life, yet supported by the luck to get success. Unfortunately, to some extent, hard work and luck for people has become a mode of praising or getting excuse for themselves. When people get success, they usually give credit to their hard work, while if case something unfavourable happens; the blame is mostly put on luck. No doubt, in many conditions the situation is not in our control and we are merely in the hands of luck only. But despite of blaming luck every time, we should try to find the reason where we lacked in putting efforts and try to improve ourselves. To conclude, hard work and luck are companions and go hand in hand. We should put our best efforts in doing our ‘Karma’ and should leave everything else on luck and destiny, as also mentioned in the holy ‘Geeta’.

An article which can take up hours of your time just thinking and wandering about life, and the philosophies revolving around it. It can force you one to think the reasons behind the happenings and various events of life and the control one has in such circumstances. It very closely related to the three pillars which I would like to label as hard-work, fate, and luck. When we ponder over the fact that which of the following is more relevant and plays a major role in our life, we will be left clueless. None but the almighty can answer this paradox of life of maintaining luck, fate, and hard-work. Each and every person would admit that their life has had a mix of all these three elements, though the proportion and the percentage might vary and differ. Prioritizing any one above the rest is a matter of debate and might vary from person to person based on their thought process and the way they interpret life. When I use this phrase which my dad keeps telling me, “Nothing Succeeds like Success”, it primarily gives importance to the end result which is success and implies that it might have been achieved either by hard-work, fate or luck. What matters at the end is whether you have achieved the goals and objectives you had set and whether you are satisfied with the same. All these three pillars work in conjunction with each other as each one compliments the other in some aspect or the other. I strongly believe that there is a huge energy which drives the functioning of these factors and this energy plays a vital role in every individuals life. Meer hard-work wouldn’t lead you to the destination if you don’t have the support of luck and fate. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that if you haven’t achieved the set goals, even after putting in the required hard-work, you have failed! NO! Here comes the element of faith which you have to indulge within yourself and always believe that “Whatever happens, happens for the best”. Faith is what I consider to be the fourth pillar along with hard-work, fate and luck, and all these four if understood together, can drive in a sense of positivity and happiness in ones’ life and the person will never feel dejected on facing failures or rejections. Having faith in God, in yourself, in whatever you do, putting in the maximum amount of hard-work and leaving the rest for luck and fate can be considered as an ideal philosophy which one can implement to lead a happy and a regret free life.

What brings out the success, luck or hard work? Most of the times the answer everyone will hear is hard-work. One’s efforts define the success, not the luck. Its well-known quote that “Triumphs don’t come without efforts”. But what if that triumph never gets supporting environment to expand his/her horizons? Then he/she will be called as Underdog who never got the luck or chance to excel on the little window of possibility. I was in the final year of engineering, getting a good placement call was the ultimate aim. I was the only person in my department who had completed two internships while doing engineering. I was having good CGPI of 8.1. The profile was seemed to be brilliant. Interviews started, in the first six months I applied for 8 companies and in 6 out of those 8, I reached the final round of interview and got rejected every time. At the end of the six months, almost everyone had placement calls. Me, my parents, my teachers were really shocked by these results. I thought my efforts are not up to the mark so I consulted this concern with many of teachers in my department. I gathered all the reviews, found the solution over that, showed that to all the teachers and then came to a conclusion that now I am perfectly ready for it. Then I gave mock interviews to improve myself. The second semester started, but I was on the same page of progress. 6 out of 8 companies rejected me in the final round. That was something really shocking. I lost all the hopes of getting a good placement call. Really my luck was at the worst level. A whole year went but I did not get any placement call. There was no space for any kind of fate which I could keep because I did all my possible hard work but did not achieve success. Teachers, friends, parents said only two words “Hard luck”. On the day of my final results, one company came for placement interviews, I just applied blindly, did not prepare anything for an interview. I went through all the rounds of interview, in the last round I failed to give a correct answer, I knew that I have done the huge mistake and there is no chance to get selected. After ten days I got a call from that company saying “Congratulations, you are selected”. I was surprised because this was the only occasion when I gave a completely wrong answer in the final round. I was surprised that how did I get a positive response though I knew I did wrong in the final round. That day I realised if you are having a perfect day of your luck then nothing can stop you. So coming to the conclusion every person will need even parity between hard-work and luck to achieve the success.

A very well written article with great insights. Life is a long fight and full of ups and downs. I feel it would be irrational to compare life-stories of successful people because they had their own share of struggles. I believe that any success story of an individual cannot be generalised as it is shown on social media. Just because an actor has had rags to riches story and he did manage his way out by navigating himself from the rest in a different manner, this same model of navigation and life-journey that is glorified in media, cannot be replicated for any other person given that it is circumstantial. The entire world in a way tries following a success template and ends up in a rat race for achieving success. And then we come to terms as to what leads to success in a rate race: 99% Hard-work and 1% luck. However, with more emphasis on smart work today to accommodate various aspects in our daily lives and have a work life balance on a personal level by managing time better, many of us are faced with an existential dilemma as to how to go about in life with respect to success. When things are not working out, should we try switching to something else and try and who knows we might end up being successful and ultimately moving out of our comfort zones OR keep on trying to achieve success using one strategy alone and be focused and persistent because we have been taught to never give up and we want to be winners by accepting any challenge. Sometimes, committing an error is losing out on opportunities. Yet several other opportunities come knocking our doors at various points in life. It is important in life to fail and much more important to learn and recover from failure and move on. Also, many a times we feel extremely helpless and dejected because of our over-ambitious nature and failure to accept that we are not perfect. But we fail to understand that the world around us is not perfect either and we must be ready to face any tough time or black swan event that affects our career in the short or long run. Our skills and competencies can aid in our professional success but at the end of day, our application and judgement play a bigger role in leveraging our knowledge and incorporating our takeaways from past experiences into our life-journey. I also believe success is partially subjective and partially objective. Life is too short to live anybody else’s dreams. In our quest for success, we must not forget our limitations and weaknesses. Failure is sometimes a stern reminder of imperfection and can help us correct ourselves at a nascent stage of development and learning. But it is also a reminder that human beings are not equipped with everything from the beginning and with time and practice, develop a sense of judgement and confidence that helps them make better decisions and plan their career accordingly.

You’ve indeed addressed an age-old dilemma or an “enigma”, if I may call it that. I would like to begin by attempting to answer the question you ended with. It all begins from being born in a ‘favourable’ environment, would I agree? To a certain extent, yes, I do. However, it hinges upon the relativity of the word ‘favourable’ to each one of us. Among your students, that you mentioned, for example, perhaps the journey that led them up to SPJIMR, would seem ‘favourable’ to them based on their own family background, upbringing, the values and principles that govern them as individuals, however, everyone else might not necessarily term it as that or vice versa. Now to answer the obscurity that is ‘luck, fate or hard work?’, I would like to narrate a personal anecdote. Being born into a higher-middle class family with deep rooted beliefs in religion, ‘karma’ and ‘bhagya’, the idea that luck and hard work go hand-in-hand was seeded into my mind-set pretty early on. Of course, I had phases where I conveniently believed in bad ‘luck’ when things didn’t go my way and in hard-work when they did; and I couldn’t agree more with the ‘hindsight bias’ that you refer to in the blog when I say that. I finished my civil aviation training at the age of 17 and hoped to land a high-paying job with a career of my dreams, at the most, by the age of 20 as it is a highly competitive industry. But as ‘luck’ would have it, things in the aviation industry went on a downward spiral forcing me to fend for an alternative career. I did several other academic and professional stints post that. On one such instance, not satisfied with where my career stood, I decided to take a GMAT exam at Jamboree. That is where I came across the GMP program when Debasis sir had visited for the course promotions. I was the only one from that batch who decided to apply. As the application deadlines for that year were closing in, I decided to apply on the basis of a GRE test score I had taken 4 years back; it was the last year of the validity of that score. I not only got in, but I got a 100% scholarship based on my profile. As ‘luck’ would have it, I attribute this ‘success’ to being present at the right place at the right time. I had ‘worked hard’, and awaited positive results, but the returns I was ‘fated’ to do gain only materialised after a masterstroke of ‘luck’. And with strong conviction, I would like to conclude that my answer to the inconclusiveness of the question ‘luck, fate OR hard work’ is most definitely ‘luck, fate AND hard work’.

I strongly believe in what you think drives your behaviour or actions and thus define your destiny. At times when I fail, I always get one question in my mind, did I put all my efforts and I get an answer from within, perhaps not. I could have worked harder or tried more. But there can also be time, when I might think I have put all my efforts and let’s leave it on the God, whatever is supposed to happen will happen. There were some instances in life where people put your success on luck but you know it well it was your hard work or persistent effort which paid off. I remember the quote from Dr. A.P. J Abdul Kalam “Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.” The Favourable conditions definitely play a role in deciding the amount of hard work one has to do and hence could not disagree to the point that it all begins from being born in “Favourable” circumstances. I believe all three aspects goes hand in hand but only Luck and fate do not take you to heights and you can’t just rely on these aspects without putting your efforts. If I had to put them in priority order, Hard work would definitely be my first priority. I disagree to not put efforts and say that it was my fate and this was to happen or it was my luck. The article very well summarises “always be conscious of every privilege, every small privilege that life has doled out, for hard-work is a necessity and, in your control, but luck and fate are not.” As hard work is in your control and is necessity, let’s work on the things in our circle of influence.

What matters in life in order to get to success? Some people say, “Luck, Fate” Some say, “Hard work alone triumphs” This subject is so trivial yet, it has been much debated about and opinions still remain divided. According to many thinkers, it is basically a combination of two which helps us in achieving what we aim. The factor of luck can take various forms, some have it in the precocious talent they possess, some are born with a silver spoon and some just become lucky during the due course. The first two cases have long been argued and understood by many of us. It is simply beyond our reach and we cannot turn those into reality. It is either there for us or it is not. The third case, i.e. “being lucky in the due course” is what we can achieve by hard work. It is one thing where we can all work on and thereby improve our chances, our luck. Sports, Cricket in particular is one area where we can all relate and therefore it is imperative for me to draw this subject to it, so that everyone can get a glimpse of what really happens when there is a dearth of luck, talent or there is a dearth of hard work. For all we know, Vinod Kambli was a precocious talent in Indian Domestic Circuit, his record in Ranji Trophy is still considered a bench mark and he had all the ingredients to be a successful cricketer. But then, we know the story of Kambli and his disappearance from the cricket ground. It has to be accounted for his lack of application, dedication and hard graft on the ground which cut short a career that was so promising. Too much of a flair can have its own shortcomings. Sadly, Kambli found it the hard way. Not far from him was a diminutive boy with a squealing voice by the name of Tendulkar. He was young, and just like Kambli, he too was talented. But this guy, was different in the sense that he was a grafter, he was a seeker and he wanted to put in those hours which would perfect his game. S(a)ch was his name and his story is a dream for every person who is going to play the game again. Many people would argue in favour of Luck, saying Kambli was unlucky to have not played anything substantial after the West Indies tour. Yes, he did not, but it was not due to luck or fate, it was his lack of effort which made him vulnerable against the pace, which ultimately bounced him out. The factor of luck gets even more complicated when you realize that most people who are interested in reading this may be sabotaging their own luck already based on their attitude about luck. Just believing you can’t succeed because it’s about luck or thinking you are unlucky can affect your “luck.”  Derren Brown did a series of experiments where he found that those who thought they were unlucky missed out on $100 bills placed in front of them much more often than those who thought they were lucky. Just based on their attitude, their reticular activating system in their brains were turned off from scanning for positive opportunities. I would like to say that more than the work which we intend to do, it is the tenacity to do, which defines us. To draw this argument to close, I would like to say that if we have a purpose in life, and we are passionate about the purpose, we would work hard to create a positive vibration which would ultimately guide us to that place, time and event where we will be deemed “lucky”-as few people would say.

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