Have you ever heard the saying “ I would rather be lucky than good”? In athletics, as well as in life, most assume there are those who are lucky and those who are not. We all remember that successful person we admired while growing up who had it all and seemed to get every lucky break. Whether it was a businessman, athlete, or teacher, their success seemed so easy and effortless. What was it that set them apart? I wanted to know what they had figured out; what was their secret.
Over my many years of competition in a multitude of sports, I have come to believe there is no such thing as luck. Yes, you read that right, there is no such thing as luck! There is no substitute for the countless hours spent practicing a sport to prepare an athlete for competition and the struggle for victory. I like to recite a quote that sums up luck: “The harder I work the luckier I get.” It has been amazing throughout my life how I have seen this played out on and off the field. I have seen those “lucky ones” toil in the gym, office, or classroom only to find success time and time again.
So how do we define success? In sports, success is measured by the numbers; wins, losses, points scored, touchdowns, interceptions, records, goals and assists all add up to quantify how successful an athlete has been. We athletes love statistics because they help us measure ourselves against other people. But how do we measure success in our daily lives? Is it how much money we make, the square footage of our house, the number of community service hours we perform? I have found that success in life is just not as easy to define. Instead of struggling for success, maybe we should strive for significance. As I look back on those role models I adored growing up, it was not necessarily their athletic or business prowess I admired, but the significance of their life that I longed for.
So let us not wait for the lucky break to be successful, but rather, let us dedicate ourselves through hard work to search for significance. John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach once said, “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” A significant life often comes when we take our individual skills and talents we have been blessed with and develop them to the fullest. I cringed growing up when I heard coaches implore my teams to give 110%. Do they know there is only 100% of me? I cannot give more than 100% since that is all that I have. Many times I was labeled an overachiever in my athletic career, but I believe there is no such thing. There are those who achieve by living up to the potential they have been given, and there are those who do not.
So a successful game, season, career, or life does not come from lucky breaks or a secret formula no one knows. It comes from the hard work, dedication, and perseverance needed to find your potential and develop it to the fullest. So my measure of success may not be yours and yours may not be mine. If each one of us strives to realize our own potential and impact others by the significance of our lives, we may turn out to be the “lucky ones”.