First, the Seneca quote:
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
Here is the Oprah quote:
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey
I personally am not a strong believer in what most people consider “luck”, perhaps due to a significant background in mathematics, programming, and stock trading. I feel people use “luck” too loosely. Some people consider a person who wins the lottery “lucky”. My mathematics tells me winning the lottery is all probabilities. I don’t believe luck is involved in the lottery at all. Someone has to win. It could be John Smith or Jane White. The lottery is just numbers and probabilities – pure mathematics, in my opinion.
However, even I may consider a person who won the lottery jackpot 10 times in a row “lucky”.
To me, the heart of this quotation is preparedness meeting opportunity.
Being a successful trader or investor is not about having profitable, “lucky” stock picks. A successful trader does their homework – their Due Diligence. They prepare themselves by doing all the necessary stock market research. The hard work. Opportunity can present itself with a good price to buy the stock, or perhaps some company news or earnings were released, and the stock jumps up. They’ve prepared by doing Due Diligence and thorough research, and then they are presented with solid opportunities for making successful trades and ultimately profits.
Anyone who is “lucky” trading stocks is simply guessing. Out of 10 random stocks, at least one stock will probably – the mathematics of probabilities – go up and produce great profits for investors and traders. I am oversimplifying here, but it needs to be made clear that the successful investors and traders aren’t getting lucky. They are doing Due Diligence, and buy when the best opportunity arises. I see no “luck” involved.
Overall, I believe preparedness meeting opportunity is not “luck” – at least luck in the sense most people I have talked to believe in. Preparedness meeting opportunity means you’ve done your homework, you’ve done your research, you’ve performed Due Diligence. Luck is what you make yourself, what you build yourself. Luck comes from within, not from external forces.