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Quotations for Motivation #50 --- Luck

Updated on October 1, 2015

Quotations on Luck (Set No. 2)

Men who depend upon luck do not think it worthwhile to make a thorough preparation for success. They are not willing to pay the regular price for it. They are looking for bargains. They are hunting for short cuts to success.

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

Success never comes to the man who spends most of his time watching the clock. The man who climbs up is the one who is not content with doing only just what is absolutely necessary, but who does more. Luck and laziness do not go together. The man who climbs up must prove himself and grasp his opportunities. Opportunity will not look him up. Some opportunity will come at some time to every man. Then it depends upon himself and upon what he shall have made of himself what he makes of it and what it will make of him.

---James J. Hill, quoted in Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Nov. 23, 1909.

Luck is the power, much more mysterious than the attraction of gravitation, which gives you the good things you don’t deserve, and keeps you working for everything you get when it deserts you and chums up with your hated rival. Luck is not controlled by a trust and can’t be bought in sealed paper packages. Luck has made as many millionaires as industry has—though it doesn’t get the credit. And it has made ten times as many paupers. Luck is a fine thing to have in prosperity when you don’t need it. It will snuggle up to a rich man like a cat to a saucer of cream, but when a man has learned to think of luck as an old college chum and to depend on it to pull through a big business deal, it is generally somewhere else admiring the scenery. The world is full of men who are trying to persuade luck to earn their living, and you can detect most of them by the way they fail to pay back what they borrow of you.

---George H. Fitch, Youngstown Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio, May 25, 1912.

Luck is a foolish doctrine of fate; it is the silliness of superstition; it is the cynicism of fools, incompetents and failures. You never hear a real sensible man talking about luck; he knows the philosophy of success too well; he knows the meaning of patience and painstaking care, of energy and economy.

---J.G. Ruse, Houston Daily Post, Houston, Texas, Jan. 26, 1896.

Luck has much to do with life, but whether one has bad or good luck is the important thing. And I shall always believe that a man may avoid bad luck somewhat, and successfully seek good luck somewhat. It will not do to stumble along, and trust to luck.

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

We should not substitute chance and luck for reason and purpose. Life is not a gamble.

---H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, June 27, 1927.

Luck is pluck. A man usually makes his own luck. Adverse things may happen, but the man of pluck meets them with a will to overcome them and usually does it. The man who believes in luck and waits for it, generally finds it against him. The lucky man is alert to see opportunities, quick to act and persevering to work till he gains what he desires. He is not one to have his porridge bowl bottom side up with it rains gruel. He is ready for things to happen. The leaves of the four-leaved clover are “patience, skill, courage and will,” and he who possesses these qualities has no need to hunt for lucky clovers or any other of the good luck charms. He will not stop to pick up a pin if his time is worth more than the pin or if he has on a new pair of gloves. Nor is the lucky man down in the mouth about every little failure. When something goes wrong, he braces up and tries to see how matters can be bettered. Do not blame failure to “bad luck.” Look at things fairly and see whether the trouble is not your own fault. If good luck comes, still depend on yourself to make the best use of it. Franklin said, “Diligence is the mother of Good Luck.”

---Lucius W. Nieman, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 15, 1912.

It’s just some people’s luck that when their ship come in, they run into a dock strike.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Nov. 20, 1956.

Good luck has a habit of always butting in while a man is working.

---Lew B. Brown, Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 3, 1921.

Pluck will win every time where luck fails you.

---J. Marvin Nichols, Gainesville Daily Sun, Gainesville, Fla., July 22, 1907.

Pluck is bound to end with luck. If you don’t believe it, just spell the word out. It’s there.

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

Never blame luck for your failures until you’ve first proven yourself guitless.

---Hazen Conklin, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Jan. 5, 1915.

They go broke who wait for their luck to break.

---John Wesley Holland, Perry Herald, Perry, N.Y., Aug. 7, 1935.

Good luck has always been an early riser.

---John Wesley Holland, The Recorder, Catskill, N.Y., Nov. 14, 1930.

The difference between good luck and hard luck often is just a few drops of perspiration and a few ounces of energy.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., July 9, 1941.

Waiting for your luck to turn up is no way to get places. Luck’s too obstinate, and time’s too precious.

—Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Nov. 2, 1944.

A successful man is not one who has good luck, but one who intelligently fought bad luck and won.

---Eugene Alexander “Gene” Howe, Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Jan. 3, 1919.

The people who trust to luck are lucky to get trust.

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

It is better to be plucky than to be plucked.

---Bennett Wilson “B.W.” Peck, Fulton County News, McConnelsburg, Pa., Aug. 19, 1903.

Reason some folks don't get anywhere is because they depend on Good Luck to wake 'em up when the world turns to the brighter side.

‑‑‑Frank L. Stanton, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 12, 1916.

Laziness always lays the blame on luck.

---Elijah Powell Brown, The Commoner, Lincoln, Neb., Sept. 23, 1904.

How easy it is for a lazy man to prove that luck is against him.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Phillipsburg Herald, Phillipsburg, Kan., Feb. 27, 1896.

Idleness twiddles its thumbs and curses luck.

---Henry Edward Warner, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., Dec. 25, 1917.

Pluck loses no time on account of hard luck.

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma State Capital, Guthrie, Okla., March 2, 1909.

Luck, if you really look closely enough, is really nothing more than good common sense.

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma State Capital, Guthrie, Okla., Aug. 31, 1909.

It is always easier to think one is unlucky than to believe that he is responsible for himself.

---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., May 6, 1943.

If you really believe in luck, then life is robbed of all its purpose.

‑‑‑Roy L. Smith, Tampa Sunday Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 2, 1930.

No man has ever had good luck when he has been robbed of the necessity of making an effort in his own behalf.

---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., Nov. 4, 1943.

The difference between luck and labor is a question of foresight.

---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Sept. 2, 1933.

There are many who are forever cursing their “luck” but it would be better if they spent a little of their time cursing their laziness and shiftlessness.

---George Matthew Adams, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., June 15, 1933.

Luck is not taxable.

—Thad Adams, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Nov. 1, 1944.

It’s a waste of time to advertise your hard luck, because you’re not likely to sell any of it anyway.

---Beverly Gray, The Calgary Herald, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Nov. 12, 1948.

I was trying to encourage a young man to push ahead, to advance himself to a better position. "Advance!" he said. "Why, I feel I am mighty lucky to hold my job down, to say nothing of promotion."

This feeling lucky merely to hold one's job is a pretty dangerous thing. A person is lucky only when he is growing and improving; when he is advancing in proportion to his ability and his opportunity. No man is lucky to hold down his job when he is capable of something infinitely better.

No man is really lucky until he is doing his level best. He is not lucky when he is doing his second best or his third best. No matter how poor or how hedged in by iron circumstances a youth may be, there is always hope for him if he is filled with a divine discontent, if he is consumed with a desire to develop his possibilities, if he is anxious to improve his condition and rise in the world. But what can you expect from one who is more than half satisfied to be a nobody?

I know a great, strapping, vigorous young fellow, only a few years out of college, who acknowledges that he is practically a failure and that there are no probabilities of his ever amounting to anything. ... He accepts failure as if he had no responsibility in the matter. He is perfectly willing to lean upon others, to accept help from his father and to drift along without any real, wholehearted effort to improve his position.

One of the most unfortunate things for this type of young man is the fact that he has a father to fall back on in case of need. Great generals, after having crossed a river, have sometimes burned bridges behind them largely for the moral effect upon the army, to kill all possible cowardice, all temptation to retreat. There is nothing like burning one's bridges behind one and cutting off all possible retreat; then one will fight with the desperation of self-preservation.

—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Dec. 13, 1916.

You generally find luck in company with the common virtues which everyone can cultivate. You will never find it coupled with laziness, with lack of ambition, with indolence. Those who lie abed late in the morning, who work when they feel like it, quiet when they don't feel like it, never run across luck. But luck follows the progressive, the up-to-date fellow, the fellow who is willing to do his bit like a man. Luck has an affinity for the man who is a "wonder."

The things that especially distinguish the "wonder" are his courage and optimism. He is determined to succeed, and his very attitude bespeaks victory.

This is the attitude that conquers obstacles. Your own will only come to you when you approach it like a conqueror, with victory in your very face. Luck will forever run from the man who goes about with a hang-dog, depressed, defeated air.

—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Nov. 14, 1917.

I know a number of people who complain of their fate and their hard luck, ... who are, themselves, their worst enemies. Unconsciously they poison and devitalize the atmosphere of their present surroundings by the pictures of past failures which they are constantly holding in their minds. Their melancholy, exhaling from every pore, envelopes them in a dense, but invisible atmosphere, through which no ray of light or hope can enter and yet they wonder why they do not succeed.

They expect bright pictures to come from dark ones, hope from despair, cheer from gloom. They do not seem to appreciate the fact that everywhere in the universe like produces like; that, whatever thought we sow, we must reap in kind; that the sour, gloomy, pessimistic seed sown in the garden of the mind must produce its own peculiar fruit. Grapes will not grow on thorns, or figs on thistles.

Large minded men and women do not spend their energies whining over past failures. They know that all their time and strength must be concentrated on the work of making a life.

If a young man should draw out of the bank, a little at a time, the money which he had been saving for years for the purpose of going into business for himself, and throw it away in dissipation, we should regard him as very foolish, and predict his failure. But many of us throw away success and happiness capital just as foolishly, for every bit of friction that comes into our lives subtracts so much from our success. We cannot do two things with our energy at the same time. If we use it up in friction, we cannot expend it in effective work.

Many of those who have failed in life could have accomplished great things if they could only have kept themselves in harmony, if they could only have cut out of their lives the friction. The worry and the anxiety frittered away their energy and wasted their life forces.

—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., March 10, 1920.

Arthur Schopenhauer, arch-apostle of pessimism, wrote:

"A man's life is like the voyage of a ship, where luck acts the part of the wind and speeds the vessel on its way or drives it far out of its course.

"All that the man can do for himself is of little avail, like the rudder, which, if worked hard and continuously, may help in the navigation of the ship, and yet all may be lost by a sudden squall. But if the wind is only in the right quarter the ship will sail on so as not to need any steering.

"The power of luck is nowhere better expressed than in a certain Spanish proverb: 'Give your son luck and throw him into the sea.'"

Thus Arthur Schopenhauer, arch-apostle of pessimism. And to this doctrine of human helplessness multitudes subscribe, to their own undoing and the troubling of the world.

Multitudes of others take a more wholesome and stimulating view of life.

With Schopenhauer they concede that luck has much to do with the shaping of a man's career. But they also hold that the man himself has much to do with determining the outcome of luck's action on him.

They recall that not every ship is wrecked when the wind assails it. They note that a great deal depends on the skill of the captain who directs the ship, the courage and fidelity of those in his command.

Likewise with life, these optimists affirm. More than this, with wiser philosophers than Schopenhauer, they insist:

"Luck helps those that help themselves."

"Luck stops at the door and inquires whether prudence is within."

"Good luck comes to those who look after it."

"Luck meets the fool, but he seizes it not."

"Luck will carry a man across the brook if he is not too lazy to leap."

Maxims such as these assuredly come far closer than Schopenhauer's to summing up the true relationship between life and luck.

Their negation, the pessimism of Schopenhauer, puts a premium on inertia. It bids every man be stoical, sitting with folded arms to meet resignedly the blows which luck chooses to inflict or indifferently accepting any favors she bestows.

Yet the whole history of human experience teaches that such an attitude guarantees from luck more blows than favors.

Reflect, then, young man on the threshold of life. What you shall be, what you shall achieve, whether life will go ill or well with you, depends far less than you may think on the whim of that mysterious entity called luck.

It depends most of all on the use you make of the faculties which God has given you for nobler purposes than the worship of luck.

—H. Addington Bruce, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., April 12, 1919.

The great part the luck plays in any game is the way men take it.

A short run of bad luck can easily break down the weaker type. But the man who takes it as part of the game and keeps on plugging along soon gathers his reward.

It is for this reason that there is a place for luck in every game. It is always a mental hazard that must be faced in the right way. We have seen skilled performers with a definite superiority above opponents sag heavily in spirit and fade out from a few wallops delivered by misfortune. Naturally they never deserved to win, as sport is not alone a matter of physical skill.

The main part of luck is knowing how to handle it. A run of good luck may carry one of ordinary calibre well up the ladder. But it won't hold him there, especially after his dome of thought becomes a trifle enlarged from the belief that it was merit and not happy fortune which did the lifting.

In the main good luck is treated in just this fashion--a break or a turn due largely to one's skill or excellence. Whereas it should be held in reserve as insurance against the more rasping fortune that is to follow. And there are times when a certain amount of bad luck is needed to restore balance and develop a keener fighting spirit.

Rough luck and trouble are not the most pleasant pals in the world. But for the right sort they're far greater trainers than too much good luck and too much prosperity. The latter combination has wrecked a greater number of souls than the former by at least two to one. And that's shading the odds.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 14, 1922.

Bad luck has rarely put an individual or any team out of the running. But the depression that follows has.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., June 25, 1920.

The one thing more important than good luck is the way a man absorbs his bad luck. That tells the story more times than once or twice.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 8, 1922.

The run of luck is 80 percent a matter of how you take it.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 23, 1922.

Belief in luck retards progress, dulls the intellect, deadens the wits, debases the body and keeps its votaries ever behind in the race of life. The man who believes that his luck is against him has cast over himself an insidious spell, and soon he will feel that it is useless to knock at the treasure room of fame and fortune, that a deaf ear will be turned to him, because he comes to believe that door to be opened only to its favored children. ...

Men are heard complaining that they are worthy of higher positions and long for better opportunities; they want to succeed, but scorn the opportunities successful men improve. They want to be given a lift, shot up in an elevator or carried up in an airship, so that they may avoid the arduous struggles of those who have been successful.

Many a man loses his opportunity by slighting his work. ...

Never despair! Don’t whimper! Be up and doing! And luck, in the right sense of that much perverted word, will some day be yours.

—Madison C. Peters, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 22, 1913.

A favorite alibi today is hard luck. There are thousands of young men who believe that the advance of others is nothing else but what they call a streak of good luck, and their own failure is due to tough luck.

Anything at all in this idea of chance of luck? It would be foolish to say that there is no such thing as luck, using the word in its common adaptation. incalculable things, apart from our ability and outside of the range of our will, which operate in our favor or against us.

There is nothing more easy, however, than to exaggerate the extent and importance of luck. I would assign luck about ten per cent of responsibility. The other ninety per cent belongs to the man himself. "The man who is waiting for a stroke of good luck will probably wait until he has a stroke of paralysis."

And the man who complains that he has had no opportunity would not see a chance anywhere. The men who win do not wait for chances. They make them, and often out of very ordinary material. We are the architects of our own lives.

—Henry Alford Porter, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 8, 1934.

Boasting about hard luck is one way of trying to appear important. It is also a childish means of avoiding responsibility for your mistakes or lack of ability. In the first instance, you can really convince yourself and others that you have been singled out by an evil fate, you will appear as a very important fellow. In the second fellow who boasts of his hard luck usually never learns anything from his mistakes, for he believed they were not his fault.

—Joseph Whitney, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 16, 1953.

Good luck must be met halfway–bad luck will chase up.

—Roy E. Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, Aug. 12, 1954.

Too many men who berate their luck never seem to question their judgment.

—Purser Hewitt, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Dec. 31, 1967.

A good many fellows keep cussing their luck when they ought to be cussing their laziness.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 5, 1923.

It's all right to believe in luck provided you keep it lubricated with plenty of elbow grease.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., July 16, 1927.

Sometimes when a fellow thinks he's down on his luck, it's just his job he's lying down on.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Nov. 19, 1927.

Luck may land a man in a good job, but he can't depend on luck for the ability to hold it.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., May 17, 1937.

Luck has a way of seeking men who are not seeking luck.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Dec. 30, 1943.

The reason why some folks have so much bad luck is because they are always making it.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Sept. 22, 1931.

There is no such thing as luck for the man who is not prepared for opportunity.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., June 8, 1937.

Bad luck is only our failure to see the better chance.

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

Fate is a goddess invented by man to blame with all his misfortune, and Luck is a goddess to whom he accredits all the successes of his neighbor.

—H. Curran Wilbur, Wheeling Register, Wheeling, W.Va., June 14, 1903.

The lucky man is frequently the plucky man.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 30, 1925.

There may be such a thing as luck, but if so it is the offspring of wisdom, energy and perseverance.

The Journal, Logan, Utah, July 25, 1922.

Luck walks while work rides in a carriage.

Luck pictures a dollar while work earns it.

Luck dreams of a home while work builds one.

To trust to luck is like fishing with a hookless line.

Luck is a disease for which hard work is the only remedy.

Luck goes barefooted while work never lacks for a pair of shoes.

Park Record, Park City, Utah, Dec. 21, 1912.


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