Forget Hard Work and Talent Sometimes the Key to Success is Luck - Spear's Magazine

Forget Hard Work and Talent Sometimes the Key to Success is Luck

One unlucky incident and a chance meeting has convinced Sebastian Gibson that the key ingredient to success is luck

Oh lady luck, she plays her hand sometimes in our favour, and sometimes not. I spoke to a titan of industry some months ago, and being in interrogative journalistic mode, asked what the key to his success was. ‘Luck,’ he responded simply. When pushed him to elaborate I learnt hard work, ability and tenacity played their part but ultimately it came down to opportunity favouring him.

It surprised me — for I always believed that ‘success’ (however one defines that) came from an inner drive and a linear approach. I spent my twenties ambling about, not quite sure what I could possibly be good at. Could it be the film world, as an agent or producer, could it be writing, could it as a pop star (though that was wildly aspirational as I’m tone deaf) or could it be property? I flirted with most of the above.

I landed in the world of property, and fortunately for me at the high end. When I made my first deal, small as it was, I couldn’t quite believe everything had worked out — now I’m a bit more sanguine a few deals along the line.

I’m incredibly, nay stratospherically, lucky that I was born where I was, to the parents I was, who gave me the education and security I have. I am one of the fortunate. That is, and remains, the biggest element of chance I’ve had in life. But that’s the bigger picture, that’s the life portrait rather than the day to day running of a business.

I’ve been looking for a client (one that didn’t want to remain exclusive which is fair enough) and found them something this last week. I decided when I learnt of it to go and look at it to confirm it was all that it promised to be. It was. I called immediately and reported. I learnt then that another party had heard of it and decided to take our mutual client directly to it rather than previewing it. So as I called to report, they were in the flat. They loved it, as I thought they would, and are now about to put in an offer. I lose out while the other agent gets a fee. It’s fairly random as it could have been either of us, but there you go.

I thought of those I’ve met in my life — those who I’ve either shared my life with or play a major part in it. For the most part, it’s pure chance that threw us together. A couple I know met — he Italian, she South African — at a party. He found himself in London unexpectedly (he lives in Milan) and a work colleague dragged him to the event. She’d had a row with her father who she’d been planning to stay with in Hampshire that weekend. As a result of their fight she accepted the invitation from a friend of a friend, reluctantly.  

That was fifteen years ago and now they have two children and a happy life together but without Lady Luck having presided that evening they’d have never have met. We can do our best to create opportunities but sometimes we need the sunbeam of fate to smile upon us.

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