Even Barack Obama thinks so
By Daniela Becerril, Contributor
I’m one of those lucky bastards who can eat as much food as possible without gaining a pound. I won a trip to Las Vegas to see my favourite artist by just sending an email. I met a lovely (and hot) actor/model, who would later become my boyfriend, on the SkyTrain. I’ve gotten three great jobs without even having to search for them… and the list goes on. So, yes, I believe in luck and I consider myself a lucky person.
I attribute most of my joys and successes—even some fiascos—to luck. I just don’t say it out loud very often because most people think that it’s a mediocre way of thinking, and that only preparation, hard work, and dedication will truly lead to success. By no means am I a sloth who sits around waiting for good things to happen to me. I just believe and admit that luck has played a significant role in my life. I’m not the only one; former US President Barack Obama thinks the same way.
Back in 2016, during Howard University’s commencement ceremony, Obama stated that one of his pet peeves was “People who have been successful and don’t realize they’ve been lucky.” Recently, toward the end of his interview with David Letterman on the talk show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction on Netflix, Obama turned the subject of the conversation to luck by asking a simple rhetorical question: “Don’t you say to yourself ‘Boy, am I lucky?’”
He goes on to say “One of the things I’m always surprised by is when I see people who have been successful in business or entertainment or politics, and they’re absolutely convinced that it’s all because they were so smart. And I’m always saying, well, look, I worked hard, and I’ve got some talent, but there are a lot of hardworking, talented people out there. There was this element of chance to it. There was this element of serendipity.” He finished by asking Letterman if he felt that way as well.
“I have been nothing but lucky,” Letterman agreed. He then went on to talk about his Spring Break of 1965. While he and his friends were on a cruise ship getting wasted, there were people fighting for their rights and risking their lives on the Selma to Montgomery marches. “Why wasn’t I in Alabama? Why was I not aware? I have been nothing but lucky and the luck continues here this evening,” Letterman concluded.
Here are two successful men acknowledging the role of luck in their lives; acknowledging that not everything relies on their hard work and dedication; acknowledging that meritocracy is just a myth because first you must be lucky enough to be born—the chances of you being born are about one in 400 trillion!
Think about it. Maybe you haven’t experienced as many serendipitous moments as I have, and you likely are not the president of a nation, but I’m sure luck has always been your companion in life. If you are Canadian, it was your great luck to be born in this amazing country. If you are an immigrant, like me, it is our great luck to be here, too.