Luck vs. Skill

Luck vs. Skill

I'd Rather be Lucky than Good

"I'd rather be lucky than good,” is a phrase that I've heard before. What it really means is that I'd rather benefit from chance than succeed through skill. In this post we'll cover the difference between luck and skill; how both are similar; and how you can use it in student affairs practice.

Luck vs. Skill

Luck and skill are usually seen on opposite ends of the spectrum. Webster’s Dictionary defines luck as a force that brings good fortune or adversity. Whereas skill is the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively to execute a task. While many look at both luck and skill as two different things, they often have more in common than you think.

Gettin’ Lucky

There are usually three different things that people seem to associate with the cosmic force known as luck:

1. It happens to a single person or a group

2. It can be good or bad

3. It plays a role when we believe “something else has happened”

Scientifically we can view luck as a study of risk: risk to take the next step with a project, reach out to a colleague, or walking past someone on campus. We may have heard of “high risk” activities and how to avoid them. But these activities are just things that increase the probability that something out of our control will happen.

Staying at home and not taking any risks is like minimizing the opportunities that something may happen to you. You probably won’t get food poisoning sitting at home watching Netflix, but you also won’t experience that new Thai restaurant.


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