Crossing the chasm from lucky to skilled


 In chess there’s a saying:

Only the good players are lucky.

The good players always seem to get lucky more than the bad players. Whenever a good player wins a game, the angry opponent often says, “Ah, you were just lucky.” To which the confident victor replies: "luck's got nothin' to do with it."

Luck is a word we've invented to describe things we can't understand.

"Love doesn't exist, so how did they find it? It must be luck." 
"There's no way a person like that could make that kind of money. It must be luck."
"You're so lucky you found that place."
"It's lucky so-and-so introduced you."
"Beginner's luck."

Speaking of beginner's luck, too many of us confuse luck with "good." It's what stops us from developing skill. Success at the beginning is the worst teacher. It seduces us into thinking we can't lose. It blinds us to the opportunity to improve instead of simply coasting. This is why most entrepreneurs fail. It's why so many amateurs fail to become professionals.

Luckily, 'the skilled' have something in common, something we can all learn from and develop. They have what it takes. They have grit. The ability to persevere is the one thing 'the lucky' aren't willing to develop and 'the skilled' have mastered. 

We are, therefore, faced with a choice:

1) Believe that luck plays an integral role in everything we do. Why bother making an effort?
2) Believe that luck is random. Good fortune happens, but it's not scalable, in which case we can eliminate the notion of being lucky from our thinking and focus on the stuff we can control, on being persistent, on developing grit.