What is luck? Does it even exist? It depends on your definition.

Here's mine: "luck" is a mysterious force that brings good things to people who have it. It doesn't exist.

What does exist is chance. Chance is random coincidences.

"Lucky" people are really just people who put themselves in a position to benefit from chance.

Nobody ever won the lottery without buying a ticket. (Just to be clear, I'm absolutely not advocating buying lottery tickets -- the lottery is one of the worst possible ways to put yourself in the path of chance, because such an infinitesimal proportion of people who do ever get to ride the luck train -- almost every single person who buys lottery tickets ends up as part of the track instead).

Nobody ever met their soul mate vegging in front of the TV in a smelly t-shirt. Nobody ever struck oil hanging out at the mall. Nobody ever won a Nobel prize tweeting about what they ate for breakfast.

But what about people who are born to wealth or talent or genius? What about people who grow up in nurturing environments? Isn't that luck?

Nope, just chance. Do they have an advantage? Sure. Are they in a better position to put themselves in the path of chance? Sure. But there's no magic to it. It's just chance.

It doesn't take a lot of looking to find stories about people born to advantage who end up miserable failures. Nor is it hard to find stories of people born at the bottom who rose to the top.

Is it harder for some people? Sure. But anyone can "make their own luck", no matter where they start. And from what I've heard time and time again, what you do with what you've got makes a lot more difference than what you start out with.

So how do you put yourself in a position to benefit from chance? By taking action. By always learning. By keeping your eyes open so that when chance sends the opportunity train across your path, you see it for what it is and hop on board instead of sitting by the tracks cursing back luck for making you wait to cross.

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One last thing: to one degree or other, everyone's ability to take advantage of chance is limited by our opportunities to learn, to meet the right people, to see examples that show us a vision of what's possible, and to grasp the opportunities that we do manage to see.

Some people are a lot more limited than others. So when chance smiles on you, be sure to spread it around, especially to those who are trying but don't have much opportunity, so that other people can be lucky like you.