FREE QUIZ!What's your Calm Business Bottleneck?
What’s keeping your business from steady, sustainable growth? Take the quiz to find out—and get tips on how to grow a thriving digital products business without burning out.
Don’t show this again, thanks!
Why I Don’t Believe In Luck

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence

Why I Don’t Believe In Luck

Luck is for leprechauns and cereals with marshmallows in them. Luck is the residue of design.
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

Written by

Jason Zook

Luck has this amazing ability to show up after all the hard work has been put in, and often times after someone has lost hope that their effort will pay off.

Disclaimer: I want to make it clear that I do believe in luck when it comes to avoiding disasters or being born into a situation with privileges and advantages.

For as long as I can remember, the saying, “you just got lucky” or “that person is so lucky” has always made me cringe. I’ve never believed in luck—let me explain why.

Everything that happens can be traced back to some amount of effort

Or, in many cases, it’s a crapload of effort.

When someone hits the game winning 3-pointer in basketball, it’s not luck that makes the shot go in. It’s the 500 3-pointers that athlete has shot every day, consistently, for years. It’s the muscle memory the athlete developed over thousands of painstaking hours. There’s not some miracle wisp of wind (luck) that floats the ball into the hoop.

When someone’s business starts to take off people immediately jump on the luck bandwagon. (In this scenario luck is the exact same thing as overnight success.) Even if a company goes “viral” at launch, there’s still an immense amount of planning, preparation, coordination, and previous successes (and failures) behind the scenes. It’s not luck. It’s organization and execution.

Look at any best-selling author … EVER. Not one of them sat down and wrote a book, got it published, and then sat back and watched as it became a New York Times best-seller.

Yet people call authors like Seth Godin, J.K. Rowling, and many others “lucky.” Seth and J.K. (we’re on a first-name basis because we’re author buddies, obvs) both got rejected by publishers countless times. Heck, Seth Godin got rejected a staggering 800 times while working as a book packager. 800! And he’s lucky? Hell no he’s not. He’s a hard-working author who got what he earned from persistence and effort.

I could go on with examples. Maybe the only people who truly could be deemed lucky are lottery winners. However, the majority of lottery winners (a high majority) have played for years and invested thousands of dollars. Many lottery winners have strategies, systems, and complex buying patterns. Sure, there are a few people who’ve bought a single ticket and won the lottery, but that’s unbelievably rare and they still had to buy the damn ticket.

The only time luck shows up is after you’ve gone far enough in whatever you’re working on that you deserve recognition on some level.

That’s exactly what luck is to me: recognition of hard work.

For me, some “luck” arrived on November 3, 2012, when I launched my BuyMyLastName project and asked the world to bid on my last name. In the first 24 hours, the bidding had climbed from $0 to over $30,000! A lot of people called that luck. LUCK? I’d been working 14-16 hours every day for the previous four years with my IWearYourShirt business, building a following and a community that gained attention in the media. Luck didn’t have anything to do with it. About 5,000 hours of effort and the balls to put a crazy idea out into the world—that’s what made the difference.

The illusion of luck can consume you if you’re not careful. If you buy into it, you’ll end up sitting idly on the sidelines, while the dedicated, hustling, hard-working people pass you by on their road to success.

It’s like Coleman Cox said in 1922: “I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”

Don’t sit around waiting for the luck-train to arrive at the station. Luck is for leprechauns and cereals with marshmallows in them.

For the rest of us, luck is the result of hard work, patience, and persistence.

Why I Don’t Believe In Luck

(Big Fat Takeaway)

The illusion of luck can consume you if you’re not careful. If you buy into it, you’ll end up sitting idly on the sidelines, while the dedicated, hustling, hard-working people pass you by on their road to success.


This article written by

Jason Zook

I'm all about that Cinnamon Roll life (that just seemed like a "cool" way to say I love baking and eating cinnamon rolls). Also, I co-run this WAIM thing as well as Teachery. Currently, 75ish% completion of Tears of the Kingdom 🧝‍♀️⚔️.

Continue the conversation:

Now What?

Join "Growing Steady," a Monday newsletter designed to help you grow a calm business—one that is predictable, profitable, and peaceful.

Each Monday we'll visit your inbox with our 3 P’s format: Get 1 actionable tip for improving your systems or strategic planning [🔄 Predictable]; 1 actionable tip for boosting your audience or sales [🤑 Profitable]; 1 actionable tip for bringing more ease, contentment and fun to your journey. [🧘 Peaceful].

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence

12 Toxic Mindsets To Avoid as a Business Owner & How To Fix Them

No one is immune to negative thoughts, and that’s why taking a hard look at your mindset is such an important task for any business owner (heck, any human!) We (hello, we’re Jason and Caroline Zook 👩🏻‍🦰👨🏻‍🦲 by the way) know how tough it is to start a business, run a business, or simply create […]

Wandering Aimfully Through Confidence

How Redefining Something In Your Life Can Help You Move Forward

Have you ever felt stuck in a situation and the only solution to move forward seemed out of alignment with your values? Recently I’ve run into a mental roadblock and discovered a way through it. My hope is in sharing how I’ve figured out how to redefine my problem, you can do the same in […]