Beyond the Build


Pushing Your Luck

I sometimes think I used up all of my share of blind luck about 15 years ago, when I played in a charity golf tournament that Coach Bowden of FSU sponsored down in Destin. It was one of those tournaments where they drew five names that evening and each of the five pulled a key out of the fishbowl. If it started the car, you won it. I was fourth in line and ended up pulling the last two keys out, and asked the guy behind me to take one of them. My key started the engine, so I figured that I would never be lucky again the rest of my life.

We all have heard people say something like, “You sure are lucky.” I wonder what portion of success comes from intelligence and smart decisions, and what portion comes from being in the right place at the right time? Or from planning and hard work? I’d say it ends up being some combination of these, but there’s almost always a little luck involved. Perhaps the best way I have heard it described is that, “luck occurs at the intersection of random chance, talent and hard work.”

Sometimes you can make your own luck by seeing a path that others don’t, or by being different to stand out from the competition. There’s one thing for sure: You won’t find any luck if you aren’t taking chances. Sometimes we just plain make our own luck, through hard work and a few other ingredients blended in.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.