Raw Luck - Does it Exist?

Is there such a thing as "raw luck," as in being born lucky? A purchaser of my book, "Secrets of Lucky People," e-mailed me to ask just that. Here is his letter to me and my response.

I have just purchased your book "Secrets of Lucky People." I have only started to read it, but I would like to ask if you know of any research about whether there is such a thing as Luck. I do not mean "success in life," as you probably write about in your book. What I mean is "raw luck". I intend to read your book in the next few days, but I believe it handles another aspect of what people call Luck, that is, what to do in order to succeed in life, or to increase your odds. This involves doing something to improve your luck, but I believe that each person possesses a certain level of Raw Luck which he/she is born with.

Raw Luck? - My Answer

Yes, my book is about a cause-and-effect understanding of luck - what you can do to increase the odds of success. There is certainly a lot of random chance in life as well, and so some people will have more "luck" of this sort without any reason that we can point to. I was watching the most recent Winter Olympics and it occurred to me that once the first skaters had finished and done very well, how they placed was entirely out of their hands. Skill got them to a certain level, but at that point a great performance, or a mistake, or one of the best skaters getting ill and so not competing - these things could determine whether a competitor got gold, silver, bronze or no medal.

Some people have more instances where these random factors line up for them, but that can be likened to roulette wheels. Some have more red numbers come up or more long repetitions of the same number. In both cases, though, probabilities allow for such unusual cases (if you flip a coin a thousand times it will normally come up heads seven-times-in-a-row at some point), so I'm not sure there is anything to study or to prove about this. A man might win contests, or make money playing poker even without skill, and have luck of this sort for years, and then get hit by a car one day. I'm not sure that there is anything that causes such good fortune, or that prevents it from ending just as unexpectedly as in that example - other than pure random chance.

By contrast, and getting back to what my book addresses, getting a lucky break in Hollywood - as much as random chance plays a role - is more likely if you move there, if you get to know the right people, and do the work necessary.

There are people who seem to have more "raw luck" as you put it, but then if a coin can normally come up the same way seven times in a row, some people can appear to have something else going on for them, even if it is just random and may end soon.

Interesting question in any case. Thanks for the email.

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Good Luck Secrets | Raw Luck - Does it Exist?