Luck is when preparation meets opportunity: How to create your own luck


Kevin Mangelschots

The word luck can have many interpretations. In my opinion, it should be divided into two types of luck. Namely, blind chance, and the luck that we “create” ourselves. The kind of luck that we enforce ourselves is when preparation meets opportunity.

Becoming competent, and learning to recognize, and consequently act upon the surrounding opportunities are skills that are vital to become thriving in life. That’s what differentiates it from blind fortune.

Let me explain why luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the two types of luck?

The two types of luck are blind luck, and when preparation meets opportunity.

  • Blind luck

    Blind luck means that one becomes lucky through absolute chance. By pure luck of the draw. There are absolutely no skills involved, other than possibly taking a giant leap of faith.

    Think of winning the lottery. It’s just filling in some random numbers in an attempt to get insanely lucky. Nevertheless, one could reason that each time you file a lottery ticket means taking an opportunity to win. Thus, the only possible ability involved is being courageous.

  • When preparation meets opportunity

    The other way to get lucky is when preparation meets opportunity.

    This sentence already suggests that you can make your own luck. It hints at the fact that competent people who have also learned how to recognize opportunities are in a much better position to become lucky. It’s as if they’ve primed their selves for success.

What does “success is when preparation meets opportunity mean?”

The word luck and characteristics that are needed written all around it.

Blind luck typically doesn’t last. If you gain something beneficial or valuable by luck of the draw, then that probably means you aren’t competent and prepared enough to hold on to that lucky break you caught in the first place.

Success is when preparation meets opportunity means that one can only truly become successful when you’re prepared well, which means you have the required skills to flourish in life. It also conveys that you acknowledge, and take the opportunities that are handed to you to become “lucky.”

Success is when preparation meets opportunity explained

People who win the lottery for example have a very high chance of wasting it all. About 70 percent of lottery winners end up losing all their winnings in 5 years, or even less.

Logic would say that it’s not possible to burn through all that money, yet it is. Most likely since they aren’t prepared to handle such large sums of money aptly. You need to know what percentage of the money you should take to live from, what percentage to invest, and what is truly essential to survive, and what isn’t.

But when you are prepared, which means you are qualified, and you realize the opportunity that is in front of you, is when you can become lucky as well. Even more, is that you tend to become much luckier because capable individuals lean towards winning more frequently, which other people regularly chalk up to blind ‘luck’.

The explanation for why luck is still involved is that not everything is under your control, and thus you need to be lucky enough to get the right opportunity to take advantage of. But skills such as recognizing once an opportunity presents itself are for sure an ability that not many people possess.

This is partially due to many not understanding just how important taking the presented opportunities is. Many people have been in a position that would’ve changed their lives for the better if they would’ve acted upon it. Only to squander it since they didn’t take the huge opportunity that was in front of them.

What are the benefits of luck?

Image of a shamrock on a black background.

  • You might become successful by chance

    Luck might make you successful by sheer chance. Think about our previous example of winning the lottery, and never having to work again in your life.

    You might attribute it to living forthrightly, and karma finally coming around. But the reality is that it was straight-up luck of the draw that allowed you to win that lottery. The only thing you could argue is that you should get credit for taking the risk of doing so.

  • Might give you an opportunity that leads to success

    Not everyone gets opportunities that can make them successful. Sometimes, these chances happen to us by straight-up luck.

    Nevertheless, recognizing the opportunities that get presented to you is a huge and indispensable skill to have. It is a requirement if you want a “reliable” way to achieve prosperity during your short existence.

What is the difference between luck and opportunity?

Luck is something that partly occurs to you by absolute chance, and partially because you make your own luck by increasing your competence and capacity of recognizing opportunities all around you.

Opportunities are chances that are all around you, waiting for you to grab the possibilities that are given to you. That’s why you should learn to identify the opportunities and learn how to take and embrace them with open hands.

Can luck lead to success?

A road with the word success written on it and an arrow pointing ahead to the horizon.

Yes, luck can certainly lead to success. It’s almost required to thrive in life.

Nevertheless, becoming successful through sheer luck is unlikely to last since you won’t have the required skills such as perseverance, working hard, recognizing opportunities, and so on. Becoming lucky is one thing, but remaining on top is another story.

Thus, luck is better achieved by being prepared, and recognizing a great opportunity that presents itself. The lucky break in this case would be the opportunity that you were given, and the fact that it led to success, which always involves a bit of luck, no matter how competent you are.

Is luck the key to success?

Let me explain why luck is the key to success in some instances.

Luck is not necessarily the key to success, but it should be considered a key factor.

It plays an essential role, together with being competent and acknowledging/taking opportunities.

But no matter how resourceful individual you are, you’ll still need a bit of luck to become prosperous at whatever you decide to do.

Is luck a mindset?

Being, or becoming lucky is mostly the result of a particular mindset that leads to growth, gaining new abilities, and capitalizing on chances that come along your path.

Sure, blind luck can happen at times. But it’s unlikely that this keeps you on the top for long.

‘Unlucky’ people can be extremely unlucky by chance, but it’s also possible that it’s the result of poor life choices, not being competent enough, and not recognizing the opportunities that are represented to them. It’s all about creating a winning mindset.

Do we create our own luck?

Image of the sentence, “make your own luck” written in white letters on a blue background

Yes, we do create our luck to a certain degree.

An individual who’s highly competent, intelligent, recognizes opportunities, and is willing to take risks is much more likely to end up being lucky than those who aren’t as adequate.

Nonetheless, no matter how hard we work to create our own luck, it remains a possibility that we end up being straight unlucky without being able to change our fate.

For example, we can eat healthy, exercise, and reduce stress, only to get a stroke when we’re 30 years of age due to a genetic condition. While we tried to create our own luck, by living healthily, we can’t change everything in life. Thus, we’re always partially dependent on the cards that life dealt us.

Is luck the same as karma?

Luck is not the same as karma.

Luck indicates that it requires no effort and that it happened due to sheer coincidence.

Karma is the result of hard work, persistence, motivation, honesty, and respect coming back to you. Because what goes around, comes around eventually. Karma can be seen as the result of our actions.

Who said luck is when opportunity meets preparation?

A statue of Seneca the Younger.

“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation” was first said by the Roman philosopher, Seneca the Younger.

He practiced stoicism in ancient Rome. He was also a statesman, satirist, and dramatist. Furthermore, he was born in Hispania, in the Kingdom of Córdoba, and was raised in Rome.

In Rome, he was educated in philosophy and rhetoric. His father was called Seneca the Elder, his brother was called Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus, and his nephew was a writer called Lucan. 

How do you say luck is when preparation meets opportunity in Latin?

Fortuna est quae fit cum praeparatio in occasionem incidit.

In what movie is the quote luck is when preparation meets opportunity?

It was said in the movie “Little Black Book” by Stacy, the daughter of Brittany Murphy, who starred as Stacy Holt.

The dialogue went as followed.

Stacy’s mother asked her daughter, “What did I say about luck?” To which Stacy replied that “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”


The quote, “be willing to be lucky” written on a yellow background.

Blind luck is an enjoyable experience that we should regard as a helpful little extra. But the only way to control our fate and influence our ability to get lucky is by becoming more prepared and learning to acknowledge opportunity.

Luck is a necessary piece of the puzzle that’s needed to become successful. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t shape it.

People who put in the effort, persevere and recognize opportunities will most likely find themselves getting infinitely more lucky than those who don’t. And that, can’t be attributed to luck.

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