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Quotations for Motivation #49 --- Luck

Updated on October 1, 2015

Quotations on Luck (Set No. 1)

The only luck that plays any great part in a man’s life is that which inheres in a stout heart, a willing hand, and an alert brain.

---Orison Swett Marden, Success Magazine, New York, N.Y., October 1905.

What we call luck is not very reliable at best, and the situation is complicated by two kinds: plain luck and cultivated. Plain luck serves us all about alike; the wise man has no advantage over the fool. But there is a difference in cultivated luck. A man, say, hopes to be lucky enough to get a good job. If he cultivates his luck by making himself worthy of a good job, his chances will greatly improve. If a man hopes to be lucky enough to be appointed foreman in his shop, it will help if he fits himself for foreman. And after he gets to be foreman, his chances for superintendent, proprietor, will improve if he adds superintendent and proprietor ability whenever opportunity presents.

---E.W. “Ed” Howe, St. Joseph Gazette, St. Joseph, Mo., Feb. 3, 1929.

Success in life does not depend upon luck. Every man is the builder of his own destiny and it is written in his own handwriting. There are no unfortunate decrees of fate that cannot be overcome by the determined efforts of a man with the pluck and purpose to combat them. Luck should be spelled with five letters instead of four, and those five letters should be p-l-u-c-k.

---William H. Fishburn, Baltimore Herald, Baltimore, Md., March 8, 1896.

I have never been a believer in what is called luck. I believe that a man largely creates his own opportunities. Someone may give him his first chance, but after that he attracts opportunity by the demonstration of his ability just as unerringly as the magnet is drawn to the pole. Success, therefore, is largely what each one makes it.

---William G. McAdoo, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Aug. 22, 1911.

If you can smile in the face of troubles, your troubles will soon disappear. Most troubles arise from thinking about them. If thinking about ill luck cannot help the situation, forget it.

—Philip Mallory Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., April 7, 1948.

Many a man who is “down on his luck” might easily reach prosperity by prefacing his luck with a “p.”

---Lew B. Brown, Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla., Nov. 26, 1909.

Luck is the lazy man’s synonym for the other fellow’s hard work.

---Henry Edward Warner, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., Dec. 17, 1915.

The man who trusts to luck hasn’t much faith in his own capabilities.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Jan. 26, 1934.

The man who’s always down on his luck is most often the kind of fellow who depends altogether on luck.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., June 24, 1941.

People are always complaining that luck is against them aren’t often the kind that try to make their own.

---Hazen Conklin, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Sept. 14, 1914.

The foolish man “darns” his luck—the wise man “mends” it.

---Hazen Conklin, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Oct. 26, 1914.

Luck never comes to a man who depends absolutely upon it.

---Bennett Wilson “B.W.” Peck, Fulton County News, McConnelsburg, Pa., Feb. 5, 1903.

The fellow who trips over his own plans is seldom the one who tumbles into luck.

---Bennett Wilson “B.W.” Peck, Fulton County News, McConnelsburg, Pa., Feb. 12, 1903.

Pluck is infinitely more than luck.

---J. Marvin Nichols, Gainesville Daily Sun, Gainesville, Fla., July 7, 1907.

A good many people who are enjoying good luck went out and met it half way.

---Carl J.G. Brown, Amarillo Daily Globe, Amarillo, Texas, April 29, 1924.

Chance or luck do not occupy a place in the road to success; opportunities greet you on every hand and it remains for you to accept or reject them. Which will you do?

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma Farmer, Guthrie, Okla., Jan. 30, 1907.

The people who believe most in luck are those who never had any.

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma Farmer, Guthrie, Okla., Sept. 18, 1907.

Optimism doesn’t abolish hard luck. It merely steels you for hard luck, and enables you to whip hard luck.

---Eugene Alexander “Gene” Howe, Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Feb. 9, 1923.

Do not trust to luck. Luck is a fickle goddess. To catcher her and to compel her to pay tribute to our desires is about as rare an experiment as it is to fish for minnows and to catch trout.

---A.S. Gumbart, Houston Daily Post, Houston, Texas, March 7, 1897.

Luck is usually unseen labor.

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Oct. 20, 1904.

If everything comes to him who waits, that includes bad luck. So one had as well get up and hustle.

---John F. Easley, Daily Ardmoreite, Ardmore, Okla., Dec. 14, 1914.

Labor is luck if joined with pluck.

---James L. Gordon, Washington Herald, Washington, D.C., Nov. 18, 1916.

It is not luck that enables men to climb to positions of merit and attainments; it is the natural consequence of high and noble purpose coupled with industry.

---M.G. Coleman, Kentucky New Era, Hopkinsville, Ky., July 3, 1896.

Luck is the shadow of pluck.

---James L. Dow, Lubbock Avalanche, Lubbock, Texas, March 7, 1922.

Many a man has been praised as being lucky who was eternally plucky.

---John Wesley Holland, Livingston Republican, Geneseo, N.Y., Aug. 15, 1929.

Pluck can outrun luck.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Juniata Sentinel and Republican, Mifflintown, Pa., Sept. 28, 1898.

Nothing is ever gained by blaming your luck. Better roll up your sleeves and try to mend it.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Western Liberal, Lordsburg, N.M., March 2, 1917.

Don’t trust to luck. Nine-tenths of the people in the world guess wrong.

---Sam S. Stimson, McBride’s Magazine, Philadelphia, Pa., July 1913.

Richard Cobden said:

“Luck is ever waiting for something to turn up. Labor with keen eyes and strong will, will turn up something. Luck lies in beg and wishes the postman would bring him the news of a legacy. Labor turns out at six o’clock, and with busy pen or ringing hammer lays the foundation of a competence. Luck whines, Labor whistles. Luck relies on chance, Labor on character.”

When you hear a man say, whining, “I never had any luck,” you can almost hear him saying, “I never did anything to deserve success.”

There are cases of undeserved misfortune, entitled to all sympathy and kindly assistance.

But they are the exceptions.

The average whiner would rather whine than work, although whining brings nothing, and WORK BRINGS EVERYTHING.

Edison called genius “ten percent INSPIRATION and ninety percent PERSPIRATION.”

In the ordinary run of worldly success, “luck” plays less of a part than inspiration in the works of genius. In fact, it plays NO part.

Work—hard, consistent, determined—makes what we call “good luck” push us along.

To idle, dawdle, waiting for something to happen and bring what we want, pushes us back, and this we call “bad luck.”

LUCK and WORK are two words as far apart as SUCCESS and FAILURE.

He who works does not NEED luck, and he who does not work will never FIND luck.

“Shallow men believe in luck,” said Emerson.

To believe in luck is a mental poison, and that belief is the foundation of gambling that makes real effort seem not worthwhile.

The foolish believe in luck, and that is there harmful excuse for failure.

When a man enters a race with ten men running and nine finish ahead of him, he doesn’t call that “bad luck.” He knows that he hasn’t run fast enough.

And so it is in the race of life.

You can create everything by real work. You can create nothing by so-called “luck.” The Arabs have a proverb which says:

“Pitch a lucky man into the Nile, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth.”

That’s an amusing proverb. But ordinarily, if you pitch a man into the Nile he will come up with mud in his mouth, if he has gone down far enough. …

If you WORK, you may CALL it luck if you choose. Everything helps the worker who works intelligently and well, no matter what name he gives to his success.

James Russell Lowell said:

“Good luck is the willing handmaid of upright, energetic character, and the conscientious observer of duty.”

A modern wise man, looking back over his life, remarked that he had had what ordinarily would be called good luck and bad luck; but, said he:

“I have always noticed that the harder I worked the better my luck was.” …

He who counts on luck will usually have “most of it bad.”

He who relies on work will produce by his own efforts what the other man hopes to get through luck.

James A. Garfield said:

“A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck.”

One wise man said:

“Good and bad luck is but a synonym, in the great majority of instances, for good and bad judgment.” …

The longer you live, the more surely you will know that those called “lucky” were the workers and those called “unlucky” the shirkers.

A clever Frenchman, La Rochefoucauld, said this:

“There are no chances so unlucky from which clever people are not able to reap some advantage, and none so lucky that the foolish are not able to turn to their own disadvantage.”

Addison says of luck this:

“A good character, good habits, and iron industry are impregnable to the assaults of all the ill luck that fools ever dreamed of.”

The way to seem “lucky” and be called “lucky” is to put luck out of your calculations, substituting for reliance on luck, reliance on pluck and work.

Bulwer Lytton said:

“Hope nothing from luck; and the probability is that you will be so prepared, forewarned, and forearmed that all shallow observers will call you lucky.”

---Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Aug. 9, 1936.

An industrious person with good habits becomes impregnable to the assaults of bad luck that fools dream of. The worst luck of all is to be lazy, selfish, hotheaded, or know-it-all. Diligence is the mother of luck. The simpering, whining, spineless ingrate whether young or old are always waiting for luck but it never happens. A person incurs about as much risk of being struck by lightning as by accidental luck. If you really want some luck start toward that which you must desire and start now. Do not waver or give up.

—Carlysle H. Holcomb, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 24, 1953.

Success is the result of endeavor. It is accomplished by some definite aim. Success is not luck. Luck may be an element in success, but success is more than luck. An unexpected discovery or a chance invention is not success. It is an opportunity for success. Fulfilled success never comes to any one of itself. It is obtained only by earnest effort. There are laws by which success is achieved, and only those who are obedient to the laws of success will realize its triumph.

—W. Bradford Maskiell, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 6, 1927.

Good luck comprises a correct attitude toward an event which for another may be bad luck because of a wrong attitude.

—Tyler Dennett, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 21, 1937.

Belief in luck is a drug; it deadens one's mentality, robs one of essential initiative, and makes one think of life's work as a sweepstakes instead of as a serious and fascinating business.

—Herbert Austin, Specialty Salesman Magazine, Atlanta, Ga., August 1931.

Hard luck crushes the quitter and turns the stalwart into a champion.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., June 13, 1915.

Luck isn't so much a matter of what happens as how you take it.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., Aug. 19, 1920.

Luck may play a big part, but a still more important feature is the way bad luck is faced. In place of curling up and cursing fate, step out with a little more determination. In place of spending time in preparing an advance alibi for defeat, take the breaks as they come and let it go at that.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 11, 1922.

The only good luck most great men have had is the ability and determination to overcome bad luck.

—Clarin D. Ashby, Uintah Basin Standard, Roosevelt, Utah, June 19, 1975.

Most people moan so loud about their bad luck that they can't hear opportunity screaming at them.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 6, 1923.

Luck doesn't stay with some people, because they move too slow to keep up with it.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., April 30, 1925.

Hard luck has a habit of overtaking those who don't get a move on.

—B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., April 15, 1926.

Good luck is usually with the men who doesn’t include it in his plans.

—Jewell Ball, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Sept. 11, 1972.

Good luck often has the odor of perspiration about it.

—Al Bernstein, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, June 3, 1966.

Luck may knock at the door, but it takes hard work to force it open.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., April 18, 1909.

Luck happens to the people who customarily keep themselves in line for it.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., April 21, 1960.

The people with the best luck usually manufacture most of it themselves.

—Jim Cornwell, Murray Eagle, Murray, Utah, June 28, 1962.

Lucky stones are found in plucky paths.

—William C. Hunter, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., April 17, 1910.

Bad luck may follow you, but sometimes running fast helps you get rid of it.

—Roberta Lyndon, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 20, 1939.

Luck may help a jumper or vaulter clear the bar, but he has to get up that high on his own ability.

—John Mooney, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 8, 1960.

Any time you want to rub out Hard Luck, use the eraser, Hard Work.

—Billy Sunday, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., Feb. 23, 1924.

Luck is no good to men who lack sufficient intelligence to take advantage of it.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., May 13, 1930.

Bad luck doesn't come to you so often as you go to it.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., July 14, 1942.

Bad luck is never worse than when it is used as an excuse.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., May 4, 1942.

He who makes good use of his opportunities will complain less about his luck.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 16, 1938.

Bad luck never defeats the man who believes in himself.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., May 4, 1942.


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