The Concept of Luck


Alan Taylor gave a talk on luck to fifty-one Probus Club members and wives, starting with a range of events which could be seen as lucky or unlucky. His first example was an incident in 2013 when a helicopter crashed onto a pub in Glasgow, killing three crew and seven pub patrons. From this, he posed a range of questions to illustrate how people could apply the concept of luck to people involved in the incident. Was it unlucky for the crew and dead patrons?   Could we say it was lucky for those who planned to go to the pub, but for various reasons did not attend.

He then focussed on careers and how some people appear to be very lucky at interview and in their careers.   When several people at interview have similar experience and qualifications, what is it that secured the job for the successful candidate? Was it luck? Sometimes there seems to be no obvious or logical reason why a particular person emerges as the successful candidate. To what extent is it accident of birth, attending a good school, knowing the right people or primarily good luck ?

Alan said that some people believe there is no such thing as luck regarding job appointments; people make their own luck by working hard, gaining appropriate experience and extra qualifications which can serve both to make them better prepared for interview, to do a particular job and possess the qualification which itself serves as evidence that they have successfully studied particular subjects.

He also suggested that perhaps you can make your own luck by steady attention to detail, for example making yourself more informed about how your job works.

Photograph: Alan Taylor (left) was given the vote of thanks by club member John Randall




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