"The harder I worked, the luckier I got." Discuss."The harder I worked, the luckier I got." Discuss.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a good essay question because it is so open and it leaves you to determine the meaning of the phrase that you are supposed to discuss. So, the place to start is with this title. What do you think it means? How do you interpret it? This will then help you come up with your main thesis statement and then plan your essay.

Here is how I read it. I think of a student who is working during his studies. He finds a relationship between the amount that he works and the success he has in his exams and essays, thinking it is luck. What is interesting is that this statement draws a relationship between hard work and luck. I would actually want to disagree with this statement, arguing that there is no such thing as luck and that working harder will guarantee you better results because of the effort that you have put into it. However, this will depend on whether you believe in luck or not! So, I would base my essay around the following thesis statement:

Hard work will improve results because of extra effort and not because of luck.

This would allow me to argue my point in the body of my essay. What do you think? You need to interpret the statement yourself and then use that to come up with your own thesis statement. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy it!

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If I were writing an essay on this, I would argue that it is true, but only to a limited extent.  I would say that what really happens is that the harder I work, the more I can take advantage of good luck.

In most ways, it is luck that puts opportunities in our path, not our hard work.  But it is our hard work, or lack thereof, that determines whether we are able to make the most of these opportunities.  If we have not worked hard, we may have the same luck, but we won't realize it because we haven't put in the work to allow us to make use of that luck.

Imagine two soccer players in different games.  Both are in front of the opponents' goal and the ball takes a lucky bounce to them.  One has worked hard, honed his or her skills, and scores.  The other has not worked hard, lacks skill, and does not score.  Both were equally lucky to get a chance to score.  One had worked hard and could take advantage.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This adage is the reverse of a more familiar one: "The harder I work, the behinder I get." A variation is, "The faster I go, the behinder I get."

Both represent a contradiction, a seeming paradox. In yours, "The harder I worked, the luckier I got," luck and work are tied hand-in-hand together, whereas usually work and luck are thought of as being in opposition to each other. Thus it represents something not noted as true though by some means it--paradoxically--turns out to be true after all: hard work = luck.

This addresses the unasked question: "How did you get so lucky?!" The response is that the speaker got lucky by hard work at their employment (be it school, job, family, etc), with luck growing in direct proportion to work.

I'm all for that! I think I'll go get me some luck (if you'll forgive the momentary slip into dialect ...)!

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I find a lot of irony in your statement.  It SO reminds me of when Michael Seaver (of the iconic TV show Growing Pains) decides he's going to be so sneaky and hide the answers to test questions IN HIS MIND.  Ha!  The truth is, hard workers breed success.  In my opinion, luck isn't even part of the equation.  Read a bit of Ben Franklin's Autobiography and marvel at his industriousness, ... and of how even the appearance of such was an indicator of success.  Further, your statement implies that the person speaking once didn't know the value of hard work.  Now that hard work is part of the equation, he/she has noticed a change in quality of life.  Call it luck or call it consequence, hard work has produced a positive result.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This reminds me of another quote.  Have you ever heard someone say "I make my own luck"?  This is along the same premise.  The harder we work, the better equipped we are to take advantage of lucky breaks.  Completing an assignment before it is due might allow a student to take advantage of other opportunities with friends.  Reading an assigned passage might allow a student to look at a pop quiz as an opportunity to improve their grade rather than bad luck.  Looking for job with a concerted effort will allow a person to take better advantage of opportunities than someone who isn't working as hard.  Hard work certainly pays off.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are at least two ways to look at luck.  Some might see luck as completely blind and random, as in, you are either lucky or you are not, and you have little control over it.  Some consider a full moon good luck, or look for signs of luck or practice rituals to bring it.

Still others would think you can make your own luck.  With this quote, think of what hard work does for you in almost any situation: it gains respect and opens doors.  "Lucky" to get the job, is one way to say it, while in fact, you might not have been lucky at all in the traditional sense.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is interesting to see how varied the responses are to this quote!  I think it suggests that the speaker doesn't really want to admit that the key to success is the hard work because that would mean he/she accepts the importance of hard work.  It is easier to just float along on thoughts of luck and fate so that the sense of personal responsibility in correlation to success is lessened.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I could argue in favor of this statement. When things are going good for a person, he often considers himself lucky, as if fate is bringing good fortune and a positive response; when bad things happen, we often feel it because of bad luck. Whether it is in school or on the job, hard work usually pays off with positive results, leaving the person with a feeling of good fortune.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like the quote! Too many of us don't want to admit that we have worked very hard to achieve some goal - and conversely, many people don't like admitting that work is involved in accomplishing things. The first group can attribute their success to "luck" and sidestep the work they put in. The second group can blame their "bad luck" and rationalize away their lack of effort!

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I honestly wish it did work that way. As mentioned by kplhardison, I always tend to feel as "the harder I work, the behinder I get."

As for the way this quote is stated, I feel that many people would have a much more positive outlook on life it this quote were true and not the opposite.