Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hard Work and Destiny - complementary?

What works ultimately - hard work or destiny? People who believe in one or the other can provide ample examples of the side that they follow or advocate. And each of those examples would make sense. When you hear stories about people who truly succeeded by working on themselves, hard work wins. These are stories of same people who clearly faced hard situations. Situations where even a strong person may give up. They worked hard towards achieving something but failed numerous times before they were finally greeted by success. I'm reading a book 'Mastery' by Robert Greene these days and actually it's the second time I am going over it (mostly with my markings from the first reading though). It offers several examples from real stories of great scientists and explorers such as Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Benjamin Franklin to name a few, who received the success and recognition by which we have always known them, only after several hardships and lessons learned along the way. It becomes clear from reading their stories that the thought they benefited from their connections or the families they were born in (or any other reasons that we think of when talking about successes of such people) is a myth. They succeeded only out of sheer determination, inner drive to excellence and dedication. 

That's one side of the story. The other side is the 'luck factor'. While success by hard work is clearly measurable by reading life histories of people, I think the believers of luck find it hard to convince people of their side of the story. They may find themselves being labelled as superstitious or lazy who are living with a sort of illusion. I have hit this question very often in my life - do these two factors enjoy equal footing? Is luck totally a myth? My mind brings stories in front of me where I do not have a clear explanation. 

The way I see it now is a hybrid of the two school of thoughts. I do not completely deny the existence of luck factor but I've learned by reading biographies and stories of great achievers and the fact that I can relate some of their situations to my everyday life makes me a strong proponent of focusing solely on the combination of hard work and perseverance. I think this philosophy works in several ways:
1. Considering that luck factor exists, we should also realize that it is still beyond our control. It is better and motivating to channelize our energies in our present and future. 
2. As we work persistently and wholeheartedly towards a goal, as a worst case - even if we do not achieve that particular thing that we are seeking at that time, because we put our soul and mind into it, we would have learned and acquired tremendous skills. The experiences we had along the way prepared us for future but only if we look at our failures from that perspective. 

I was watching a documentary from National Geographic Channel this evening. It came out this year and explained the Titanic mystery. Here's the link if you are interested in watching it. The point from that feature that is relevant to this article is the following: - Titanic sank in 1912. Scientists found the answers this year - 2015. More than a century later. Was this hard work? Luck that they found evidence this time? I would call it a hybrid of three - hard work, perseverance and luck. Hard work clearly stands out. Luck? Probably yes. The areas that scientists explored in this expedition were never looked upon before. But had they given up on their efforts, neither hard work, nor luck would have made any difference. So, according to me the winner is - Perseverance.

In those situations where I run low in confidence and questions such as - Am I going to succeed despite of all my hard work or creating explanations based on luck for other people situations; when such thoughts cloud my mind, I remind myself of the following:
"Sometimes hard work and good timing intersect. Sometimes they don't. But they likely at some point and when they do...you'll be ready" - By Katie Couric in one of her books

- Dippy
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