“Luck” is one of the most interesting topics to me, and I always find myself paying extra attention to anyone talking about what “luck” is and how it can be somehow controlled. Morgen makes a useful distinction between “lucky” and “repeatable” traits:

… a better way to frame luck is by asking: what isn’t repeatable? Did Jeff Bezos get lucky creating Amazon? Not in the same way a lottery winner is lucky, of course. He was visionary and ambitious and savvy to a degree you only see a few times per century.

But could he, starting today, without any money or name recognition, create a new multi-trillion dollar business from scratch? Maybe, but probably not. There are so many things that helped Amazon become what it is that can’t be replicated – growth of the internet, market conditions, old competitors, politics, regulations, etc. Bezos is enormously skilled in a way that is not luck. But a lot of what he did was not repeatable. Those points are not contradictory.

It’s so important to know the difference between the two when attempting to learn from someone. You want to try to emulate skills that are repeatable. The great thing when you ask, “is this repeatable?” is that you start to focus on things that you and I – ordinary lay people – have a chance of repeating ourselves. You can learn a lot from Warren Buffett’s patience. But you can’t replicate the market environment he had in the 1950s, so be careful copying the specific strategies he used back then.


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