What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

March 17, 2012

To the delight of my Irish friends, March is a month of celebration. A pint of Guinness and some green festivities mark their special day – St. Patrick’s Day. Within the revelry, the expressions of luck are exchanged. You have no doubt heard of the “luck of the Irish” that somehow has been connected to the jolly, little imps known as leprechauns seen on greeting cards, pub signs and the advertising surrounding the day.

I discovered that the popular caricature has little resemblance to the real leprechauns of Irish mythology. The real ones – at least as described in legend – were grumpy, alcoholic, insufferable elves in the employ of Irish fairies. They made shoes for the fairies – hence their description as cobblers. As luck would have it… the leprechauns often missed out on discovering the treasure the fairies carefully guarded, which was only revealed to the occasional human who found a pot of it at the end of a rainbow.

The luck of the Irish is not found in the 1000+ years of invasion, colonization, exploitation, starvation and mass emigration seen in the country’s history. That doesn’t seem to be very lucky to me. The real story seems to emerge from American origins in the silver and gold rush era where a number of the most successful and famous miners of the day were of Irish or Irish-American birth. These included James Fair, James Flood, William O’Brien and John MacKay, who were known as the “Silver Kings” of Comstock after they hit the famed Comstock Lode, the single largest silver deposit in the history of North America.

So it seems the real luck of the Irish is actually related to these four business people who understood that luck is the result of great effort. Ben Franklin said that “Diligence was the mother of good luck.” Ray Kroc of McDonald’s fame said that “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat the luckier you get.”

As a younger, less experienced person, I assumed that based on their good fortune, certain people were “lucky”. Yes, admittedly, some of them had breaks along the way, possibly provided by someone else’s hard work or their own opportune encounters, but hidden beneath the surface of most “lucky” people was a significant amount of effort that fueled it.

During the last couple of months I have completed one of the most difficult tasks of my life… writing a book. Over the years I have started writing numerous books on a variety of subjects, only to have them sit, unfinished, as more pressing tasks came along. I never knew how hard it would actually be to complete one. The emotional, mental and even physical work was exponentially greater than I could have ever anticipated. Yet, despite it all, later this month, I’m going to have a book to share with you.

And this book will bring rewards to me that others may see as luck or what I might have once called luck. But I know differently now. And as I watch business owners bemoan their own luck in marketing, I am again aware that luck is not a great strategy to win clients. The Mother Lode of leads is not found in rainbow ends, it is the direct result of spending countless hours in the back breaking, important work of day-in, day-out marketing.

This month, I choose to look for luck in the same vein as the Irish Silver Kings and encourage you to the same.

(To learn more about my book, check out YouAreTheLogoBook.com)

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