How “Lucky” That Wild Animals Thrive

Just a quick quote from a commenter before heading out of town for a couple of days, one day business, one day pleasure.

It has to do with the first quote on the last post, specifically:

…who […] sees your success as entirely due to your own superiority to the masses, without recognizing the huge role that luck and opportunity played in it.

Actually, I certainly do see most success in life as being at root a product of fortune and opportunity (Taleb makes this point as well in Fooled by Randomness). But that’s not the end of it. I was going to write out why, but commenter Travis Steward did such a fine job I’d love for him to take credit.

The interesting thing about “luck” and “opportunity” that I’ve noticed in my life is that EVERYONE experiences these in spades many times in their lives, even the most dejected of society. The difference between those who take responsibility in their lives and those who blame their woes on others is that the former fucking RECOGNIZES it and takes ADVANTAGE of it. […]

You want a better life? You want a better life for other people? Then help then learn how to see with clearer eyes, to understand with greater knowledge, so when the opportunities that are offered to them don’t go by in a sad hail of misguided egoism and insecurity.

I come from nothing. I am surrounded by friends I grew up with who were given more opportunity than 99% of society, and I am doing better than all of them combined. Why? Because I learned how to take advantage of opportunity and make my life better through a pursuit of knowledge.

It wasn’t some fucking bureaucrat that allocated me my “opportunity”, it was just a mind and a pair of eyes that learned how to provide for myself even in the most scarce conditions.

Get some courage and take responsibility for your failure. And for god’s sakes quit pretending you have it figured out.

Some time back I was watching one of those news magazine shows and it was about luck and seizing upon opportunity. They took a bunch of people, interviewed them to assess and score which were overall positive and which were overall pessimist. Then they got permission to film them going about their daily lives. Unbeknownst to the the subjects however, was the fact that the producers had surreptitiously placed a $20 bill on the sidewalk in front of their path.

Guess which ones on average saw the money and which ones didn’t?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Chris on July 30, 2011 at 04:46

    I just did a blog post about this myself. Life is what you make it and fortune favors the bold. Unfortunately I have had more then one family member commit suicide and more then one aquaintence. It has changed my perspective that my life is what I make it and not anyone else.

    We make our own opportunities and luck. I love Travis’ outlook on life.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 30, 2011 at 07:34

      Sorry for your losses, Chris. That sucks. Good post though, to see your way out.

  2. keithallenlaw on July 29, 2011 at 18:56

    Amen to this. It took me a long time in my life, but this is what I’ve come to learn also.
    I love your angle on it Richard. Nice piece here.

    I not big on the believe of luck but opportunity sure does knock, that is if you don’t have your head up your ass. It’s like you said Richard, it involves some responsibility. That along with constant self awareness will take you anywhere you wanna go.

    Thanks for the write up Richard. I enjoyed it.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 29, 2011 at 20:05

      Yea, Keith, not much luck in the casino sense, but that we are all visited with fortunate opportunities from time to time.

  3. lachlan on July 30, 2011 at 03:12

    Dude im loving the new posts, the paleo stuff was awesome. And lately its been just as good. Its your blog, those that don’t like it can go fuck off. Keep the posts coming. Rock on man

  4. Sean on July 30, 2011 at 05:28

    I’ve a good friend here who has been having a ton of problems over the last few years as his party/drug lifestyle has really started taking its toll. He’s been talking about all the bad luck he’s been having, but of course it’s not about luck at all. He’s been a high-functioning heroin user for many years and that shit catches up with you, like most things do (such as a crappy diet), when you get around 40.

    People who take notions of luck seriously also tend to be good at rationalizing, in my experience. I consider myself pretty lucky in my current life situation, I think I’m more content with my spouse, and my life in general than most people I know in their mid-forties, but it’s not like this all happened by lottery. I do a lot of things I shouldn’t, but I like to flatter myself that I am at least self-aware that I shouldn’t be doing them.

    • rob on July 30, 2011 at 12:44

      You might want to cut the cord with that dude.

    • Sean on July 31, 2011 at 05:10

      But then where would I score my horse?

      I don’t consider a high functioning heroin user to be any worse or different than a high functioning alcoholic or stoner. There is a huge social stigma associated with heroin, of course, and it is definitely not my cup of tea, but I’m not convinced it is inherently worse than other drug people like to ingest. I’m not going to blow off someone I’ve been good friends with for fifteen years simply because he has a substance abuse problem.

    • keithallenlaw on July 31, 2011 at 11:42

      Yup, I agree. Most of us abuse some kind of substance by definition. One kills ya faster, that’s all. Hell, pure clean water will kill you if you drink to much of it.

    • rob on August 1, 2011 at 04:12

      I think Johnny Cash has heroin down pretty good

      /yes I know it is a cover of a Trent Reznor song

  5. egmutza on July 30, 2011 at 12:40

    “Strong individuals only rely on the luck they create. They are the cause, and luck is the effect.”

    – Erwan Le Corre

    • Jeff on July 31, 2011 at 19:46

      I always liked this one.

      Chance favors the prepared mind. -Pastuer

  6. Primal Toad on July 31, 2011 at 05:11

    Amen! I love this! I personally feel that I am incredibly “lucky” myself right now. Even though my financial situation at the moment kind of sucks…

    Aside from that there is nothing else that I would change about my life. Not a damn thing! How did I get to this point? I searched and searched and searched for opportunities and when I discovered them I took advantage. I have worked my ass off but have enjoyed all the bumps along the way.

    I am here to inspire and have been “lucky” enough to be told hundreds of times that I am doing just that.

    I was not handed a damn thing. I even did almost all of it on my own. I live a healthy, fun, vibrant life because I choose too. It’s always a choice. Every time!

    A quick example is the fact that I suffered with severe acne for about 6 years of my life. During the last year I decided to take advantage of my disease. I started an acne blog. It did ok but that lead me to the discovery of MDA which led me to my Primal Toad blog which is taking off.

    People end up committing suicide because of acne. I decided to show optimism and now inspire millions around the world to take control of their life!

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