How to Succeed: Keep At It Until You Get Lucky

Keep at it until you get lucky. Isn’t it good advice? It’s concise but there is a lot of truth to it. It clearly describes the nature of success and what you need to do to achieve it.
I read about it in a post by J.A. Konrath. While the post itself is about self-publishing, I believe that the advice applies to other fields as well. If you want to succeed in something, you need to keep at it until you get lucky.
My own experiences confirm this advice. Let’s take a closer look at some elements of the advice:

1. Luck plays a role

This is an important nature of success. Some people may not like it and think that they can control everything. But the truth is, luck does play a role. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell gives us some good examples of it.
So if you have worked hard and still haven’t succeeded, that’s fine. Don’t get discouraged or disappointed. You just haven’t got lucky yet. On the other hand, if you are successful then don’t be proud. You might not be as smart as you think you are.

2. Persistence increases your chance

While luck does play a role, it’ doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it. You can increase your chance by being persistence.
For example, let’s say you flip a coin and you call heads. But the coin comes up tails. So what can you do to make heads comes up? Well, you just need to keep flipping the coin. If you do that, there is a good chance that heads will eventually come up.
Similarly, just because you don’t succeed in your first try doesn’t mean that you’re doomed forever. Just keep at it. With persistence, chance is on your side.

3. Do what you believe in

Being persistent is easier said than done. It’s not easy to keep at it in the face of failure. That’s why it’s important that you do something you believe in. Only by doing so can you keep at it even in bad situations.
So follow your heart. Is it something you truly believe in? Or perhaps you are in it just for the money or other external rewards?
In addition to helping you be persistent, there is another big benefit of following your heart: inner fulfillment and personal satisfaction. They are even more important than money or fame.
Be careful though: there is  a difference between being persistent and being stubborn. If your heart says yes and you keep at it, you are being persistent. But if your heart says no and you keep at it, you are just being stubborn.

4. Learn along the way

“Keep at it” doesn’t mean just doing the same thing over and over again until you succeed. Einstein famously said that doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results is insanity. So don’t do that. Instead, you should always improve yourself so that you can do it better next time. That way you have a good reason to expect a different result.
So, if you want to succeed in something, give it your best effort. Learn from your mistakes. Repeat.
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Photo by JD Hancock

27 Comments

  1. I like this article, nice one.
    I think luck plays a role, but I don’t necessarily believe in random chance very much anymore. Well, I say that, but I still do.
    Let me explain. I think luck and random chance certainly exist, but they can be augmented by our thoughts and beliefs.
    It’s kind of like a law of attraction, if we think lots of positive thoughts and line ourselves with that vibration, luck will tend to favor us. If we don’t, luck won’t.

    • I’m not really into law of attraction, but I do agree that our thoughts and beliefs can help us get “lucky.” The right thoughts and beliefs can help us prepare, spot, and capitalize on opportunities.

    • Yea brilliant article. I totally agree with you about luck. They say “The harder I worked, the luckier I got”. This is so true. Being a persistent entrepreneur that is ok with temporary setbacks is your foundation for success.
      thanks for sharing, great article and so true..
      All about delayed gratification..

  2. Interesting post Donald,
    For me, one trick that always (at least in most cases) got me the success is, trying one last time before I quit.
    There were many situations where I was just about to quit thinking that this is enough, but I decided to try one last time before I actually quit. Believe, me that last try has got me success many a times:-)
    Your post is inspiring. Thanks.

  3. Philips Kokoh Prasetyo
    Philips Kokoh Prasetyo

    As always.
    Simple, true, and inspiring.

  4. Good points Donald..
    The greatest thing about having found what you are really passionate about is that it doesn’t feel like work..When I start my day with following up with my clients I go through rejection a lot but for me rejection is good (it makes me grow). I don’t get frustrated because I really like dealing with clients regardless of whether they are difficult of not….
    When I am blogging I don’t feel like I am forcing myself to write (I am just really passionate about it). When you are passionate about what you do, it won’t feel like work at all therefore you will keep persisting forever:))
    Hope you are having a great weekend..
    Cheers,
    Nabil

  5. I love the concept here. Too often, we expect results at a certain point in time. We look for things in our own time. But the truth is, we have to keep working hard and diligently at something until we reach what I like to call that breakthrough moment. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Jarrod Clark

  6. Donald – some great reminders, thanks for sharing.
    On persistence and keeping at it. I always say to myself, “Leave no stone unturned.” This helps ensure that I’m not quitting just before I see the result, and it also stretches me to look at different ways of doing it.
    Then if and when I do quit, I can walk away with no regret or nagging feelings that I could’ve done more.
    Cheers, Amyra

  7. Remain consistent and work on your goals every single day and success will come.
    You must remain steadfast through the hard times and learning curves, but keep pushing through and luck will eventually fall on your path.
    Thanks Donald!

  8. Hey Donald,
    I do believe that being persistence in your activities will help with achieving your goals. I have seen too many people “give up” on their way to success when had they just kept going a little further than all would have worked out much better.

  9. Hi Donald, a wonderful and insightful read. How would think that luck could indeed play a role?
    My take is that ‘luck’ does play a role, but it’s not ‘luck’ as we know it. See, luck means that things happen by random chance due to forces that we don’t understand. However, though I believe events do happen randomly, I understand the forces behind them.
    I’m not going to pretend that I know the secrets of the universe, because I don’t – far from it. But whatever directs us and the world, directs the circumstances and events that find their way to us. We can’t control how these happen, or when these happen – all we can do is control our reactions to these random events.
    Which then determines, to a degree, the next random event to come our way. Then we react due to our personalities, and so on.
    In other words, luck plays a part in random situations, but we can choose how we react.
    To be persistent, or to not be persistent – that is the question 🙂

  10. “if you want to succeed in something, give it your best effort. Learn from your mistakes. Repeat.”
    All good reminders but I think giving your best effort can never lose! Thanks for the encouraging words!

  11. I love the idea of “you just haven’t been lucky yet.” Truly I never thought of it that way. And it makes a world of sense.
    The notion of pushing through until you succeed is a smart concept and I love your thought of toiling wisely instead of with raging insanity over and over. This will only cause you heartache, dissatisfaction, and failure.
    Make change along the road to your lucky destiny.

  12. Life will certainly get in the way and sometimes chaos ensues, but if we move forward, diligently, opportunities will arise. I wouldn’t exactly call that luck, but as you mentioned in one of the comments, you can get “lucky” 🙂
    I do agree that persistence is the key. and I’m now one persistent bugger. You often have to experience a bit of failure to figure our what you are doing wrong, but keeping at it will bring those opportunities. And of course you need some passion to push you through the rough, sometimes monotonous patches along the way.
    Nice post!

  13. As you so rightly say you have to do what you believe in. I have always been passionate about personal development and was excited when i started my blog. I have had to learn, to grow, to develop both my skills and my knowledge. Persistence is so key. To many bloggers quit to soon. I believe that when you work hard at anything, believe in what you are doing, you will find on your journey that you meet some ‘Luck’ at that catapults you further down the road.

  14. Donald great post. I’m glad you just didn’t end on saying that you need luck to be successful and not mention that you can create your own luck. As some people have mentioned the harder you work the luckier you become. It’s all about taking action and increasing the chances of taking a lucky strike. It’s no good just sitting around waiting for luck to come along, you have to make your own luck. Keep at is and you’ll succeed.

  15. Yep, I definitely agree with this article. It’s not hard to come up with great ideas; the hard part is figuring out which ones will pan out, and it usually comes down to being willing to test and fail. Luck is on your side when you persist.

  16. That makes sense – keep doing.
    I would add two things:
    – it’s important to feel grateful along the way for small wins. After all, success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.
    – validate your plan of action with your mastermind group (your coach, mentor, peers, reference group, …). Your intuition might be right, but the strategy wrong.

  17. This article is so useful as it is so brilliant…

  18. Hello!! I’m from Mexico. Thanks for this beautiful article. Here we can find the basic tools to keep doing what we believe in.
    Sometimes we feel lack of confidence, and we need people like you telling us or guiding us on this way that we call “life”.
    Thanks again!! (And sorry for my english)

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