This week, we’re discussing the difference between success and luck. If you missed part 1 of the series: read it here!
French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, once said: “Nature imitates itself. A grain thrown into good ground brings forth fruit; a principle thrown into a good mind brings forth fruit. Everything is created and conducted by the same Master: the root, the branch, the fruits—the principles, the consequences.”
Impartial and impersonal, this principle of harvest has a clear sequence—first we sow and then we reap. And, an ancient parable reminds us that we’d be wise to plant a bit more than we hope to harvest. This is because some of the seed won’t bear any fruit at all. This is not an injustice, and it doesn’t make us victims. It’s just another mysterious dynamic of life.
According to the story, some percentage of the seeds we sow will be taken by the birds, some will land on the rocky ground and shrivel in the heat, and some will be strangled by the weeds. Others will take root in the fertile soil and yield a lopsided crop—a hundred, sixty, or even thirty times what was sown. Once we’re aware of this, we can fine-tune our life strategy to be in harmony with it so that we can enjoy more success.
Related: How to Find Your God-Given Genius
In the business world, if we want to be highly paid, we must first become highly valuable in the eyes of the person who signs our check. The Greek philosopher Epictetus reflected on this, saying, “Nothing great is created suddenly, anymore than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” And, the great New York Yankees slugger, Roger Marris, who hit 61 homers in 1961, put it bluntly, “You don’t hit home runs by chance but by preparation.”
Simply stated, if we want to reap more rewards, we must sow more service, contribution, and value. Success in life isn’t based on need or greed, but on seed. If we are curious about what we sowed in the past, we need only look around us and see what we’re reaping today.
Without exception, every effect has a cause or causes, even if we haven’t accurately identified them yet. Consequences end up being our best teachers. And actions as well as inaction have consequences. Success occurs in the lives of specific people for specific reasons, not from luck. Success comes from figuring out what we want to accomplish and then choosing to invest our time doing those things that move us closer to our goal.
This article is part 2 of a 3-part series. Read part 1 now and look for part 3 on Friday!