“Fortune doesn’t have the long reach we suppose. She can only lay siege to those who hold her tight. Let’s step back from her as much as possible.”

Seneca, Moral Letters


There is good luck and bad luck. Both are things that are not in your control. To believe that everything you do is down to luck (of either sort) is to abdicate responsibility for what is actually in your control. Some dismiss or reduce the significance of their own ability and influence and show self-effacing behaviour – for example, they explain success as being down to external factors (e.g. “I was lucky to have passed the exam”). Others take a similar external view but blame circumstances for conspiring against them, conjuring up counterfactual statements that protect their ego (“If only the train hadn’t been delayed, I wouldn’t have been late!”), while failing to examine the part that they actively played in the scheme of things (e.g. “If I had left home 5 minutes earlier…).


Take a step back from ‘luck’ and examine what you could do differently next time.