I started reading Seth Godin’s blog and found some good articles. In one that caught my eye he discusses how many people perceive “effort as a myth”, meaning we are always seeing examples of others who are extraordinarily lucky and thus have an easier life than us, or accomplish things we never think we will.

But he dispels that myth by talking about luck, and what he says is insightful:

The thing about luck is this: we’re already lucky. We’re insanely lucky that we weren’t born during the black plague or in a country with no freedom. We’re lucky that we’ve got access to highly-leveraged tools and terrific opportunities. If we set that luck aside, though, something interesting shows up.

Delete the outliers– the people who are hit by a bus or win the lottery, the people who luck out in a big way, and we’re left with everyone else. And for everyone else, effort is directly related to success. Not all the time, but as much as you would expect. Smarter, harder working, better informed and better liked people do better than other people, most of the time.

Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it’s more fun not to. Paying forward when there’s no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing. You’ve heard these things a hundred times before, of course, but I guess it’s easier to bet on luck.

I think this is true, and it inspires me to use more effort and less luck.