All success is overnight, because it is random

Why don’t people admit that when it comes to success it is luck first and then everything else: acumen, work, grit, intelligence anything comes right after luck.

There are so many people who make it and then spread this idea that through hard work anything is possible. That everyone smart, determined and hard working enough will make it. But it is a plain lie: put in the work and most likely you will fail.

Why don’t you use your clout to tell that it randomly happened to you, and that, yes one should put in the work, sacrifice all the free time in the world, cut all procrastination and go for it, but in the end there is no guarantee that anything will happen.

Put in the work but do it knowing that statistically, realistically and economically all odds are that you will not make it.

The fact that you, Gary Vaynerchuk, at your young age (you are six years older than me) can actually “explain” how luck has nothing to do with your success wipes out reality and that bothers me, some random Joe of the Internets.

Why don’t people feel good that they are lucky? Because they feel like randomness wipes out their value. But they forget that their very spawning into life was a “very” random event. Randomness moves value up or down and in some cases it moves it drastically up: this is success. Success is always based on luck because luck is an acronym for random concurring things that happen to produce added value.

Why write an article about “putting in the work” from the seat of a one in a zillion success story? Because you defend your tower. You were lucky! Just go along with that and don’t make everyone feel like an underachiever or, even worse, a slacker. Show some responsibility in using your power. You have the zeroes to prove your worth and I’m just a salaryman, i know that, but take it like a poor man’s wise words.

You were lucky because your childhood was in the US, with parents that not only had the opportunity and courage to leave the communist block but had the awesomeness to make something of themselves in the US. You were lucky because you had a very good fit of extrovert personality, economic ease and social momentum right when you started your life as an adult.

Indeed you are better than all the others who competed with you and failed. You are better than all the others who had similar opportunities like you and did not exploit them as efficient as you did. You are better than any wine show host who could not provide well enough for an internet enabled audience. But you are not better than all people in general because you’ve put in the work. A hell of a lot of people put in a hell of a lot more work than you did and don’t make it. A very, very, very small number of the people who work hard for their goals achieve their goals. That is simply how the distribution scale of life looks in human societies.

You are lucky and you should stop for a moment and acknowledge it.

Just do it, it will make you a better person. Even if it will only stop you from equating Netflix time and video game time with investments in success. All the time in the world thrown at something does not guarantee success. If time by itself does increase the probability of success it will be a marginal increase. Money is more valuable than time. “Time is money” is a saying that means your time is measured in money. That means that having lots of time and no money yields a lot worse than having a lot of money and little time. Simple as that.

At least you did reckon serendipity which of course has nothing to do with luck. Semantically. Privilege has nothing to do with luck either. Semantically. We have no means actually to define luck because we are eager to strip it of any meaning so that we’re shielded against its one, deep trait: randomness.

“15 years of work” does not mean anything. It is simply just how long it took for you to luck out, for a number of reasons, out of which the most important one was your youth. If you use time from puberty to success as a scale where does Mark Zuckerberg fit? 15 years, counting work from 15 to 20 in your father’s business, as a white male, within a good family, being, i just guess, CIS gender and heterosexual, 15 years working as a full time extrovert, which you are, in an extrovert only job. Why do you even bring up this number? 15 does sound good, but it surely means nothing, neither does 45 or 32. Some writers luck out at 47 or 64 right before retirement. Some luck out at 22.

You see, luck is invisible. Success does not happen when you reach one million, a hundred million or a billion. Success is a random event that fine tunes the trajectory to wealth and sometimes freedom. Hard work is useful in staying on that trajectory.