Is success attributable to luck or skill?


When we think of our careers or even our lives overall we often attribute the success we have had or not had to luck or skill. In reality it is probably due to a combination of both.

Michael Mauboussin in his book The Success Equation believes our experiences are due to a combination of both and that we often have challenges distinguishing between the two. He further describes his ‘paradox skill’ whereby for any activity as skill increases luck becomes more a factor in determining success. For example this can been seen in investing where as an investor’s skill increases luck is often the determinant of success. I am not sure whether George Soros or Warren Buffet would agree?
However hopefully as we gain a greater understanding of these two factors we can learn to focus our efforts and activities on where we can have a higher chance of success (in our careers and lives) and less on where luck plays a larger part in the outcome. However even when we can understand the difference between luck and skill, human bias often leads us to think the success was due to our individual skill. May be this is something to think about the next time you have a successful job interview.