Hello, loyal readers.  How are you today?

Today, among many other interesting posts (inclusing one about Australia.  Oh yeah!), Ezra posted about luck.

To be exact, he said:

“If my metric is “large media institutions making outlandish claims abut my virtues,” then it’s been a pretty good day or two. But as Matt Yglesias says, it’s a bit unnerving to realize just how much of my career is the product of starting a blog during a very narrow window that spanned from 2001 to early-2003. I always say that if I had done the same work on my school paper, no one would have noticed, but it’s actually worse than that: A week after starting my first blog, I was rejected from City on a Hill press, Santa Cruz’s student newspaper. And it’s entirely possible that if I hadn’t been rejected from City on a Hill, I would have put a lot of effort into that, and let my little vanity blog expire. Now, of course, it’s harder to break into blogging, even as the talent and sophistication of the contenders has rocketed. Dylan Matthews, for instance, is smarter and more informed than I am now, and he’s 18. And not 18 in the sense that 18 stands in to dramatize some low number. He’s just actually 18. It’s terrifying.

All of which is to say, luck is important, and more people should be Rawlsians.”

Now, I actually commented (I know, a remarkable achievement), and got into a little disagreement with this girl who was so determined to push her far-left agenda that she didn’t actually listen to what I said, which was:

The simple fact is that luck does have something to do with it.

You can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re not fortunate enough to have a few things go your way, it just might never happen for you.

I think a lot of people are a bit precious about acknowledging the role of luck, because they want to believe they have absolutely earned their success. In realizing one has been at least somewhat lucky, one must at the same time acknowledge there might be other, equally talented, equally worthy individuals who just haven’t had the chance.

And goodness knows that might lead us toward something that vaguely resembles what some might consider socialism…

What I really wanted to do, though, was tell my story.  About how my professional success is based largely on a single chance experience.

Sure, I worked hard to get a start in Sports Journalism.  I introduced myself to anyone who’d listen.  I’d email and beg for advice.  I did everything I could to get a start.  But it all came to nothing.

Then, one day, the guy who sat behind me at the footy was especially angry at some bad umpiring.  He yelled, and he accidentally spat on me.  I reflexively turned around, he apologised, we started talking, and I soon had made very dear friends… the Spehr family.

I began to chat with the Spehr family about lots of things, including my professional aspirations.  It turned out Tim, their then 10-year-old son, played football on the same team as the son of Jenny McAsey, the Australian’s chief AFL writer.  They invited me to come to one of Tim’s games.  At the match, I met Jenny, who remembered me six months later when Sportal were looking for someone to cover the Swans.  Everything followed from there.

And now I’m a professional web geek, after getting the web job at the Swans based on my skills as a writer, rather than as a technical guru.  I discovered something I never knew I cared about:  digital communications.

The rest, they say, is history.

So, Mr Klein, you are right, as usual.  Luck has a lot to do with it.  Had I not been spat on that day, who knows where I’d be now…

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On Luck, again « All Good Naysayers, Speak Up!
December 2, 2008 7:42 pm

[…] December 2, 2008 So Ezra posted again about Luck (original post here, my take on it here), and the role of luck in deciding one’s future, and he, as usual, articulates the idea I was […]

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