In 2006, I won the National NNPC Science Quiz Competition that ended up giving me a scholarship through University but I learnt a very important lesson in the process on luck and success which humbled me and I want to share with you today.
The competition was in four stages, that is after you have been selected by your school to participate. It had the local government, state, zonal and National level which was the finals.
I had come first position in the local government level and so along with another classmate of mine who qualified we proceeded to the state level where I learnt the lesson I want to share with you now.
It was an oral quiz session with all the participants seated in a semicircle and the moderator in front of us. So you are asked a question from the various subjects and you had 20 seconds to give the answer before they move to the next person.
Considering the brevity of the time, if you set out to solve a calculation based question and discover your method was wrong along the line, you did not have much time to start again. Yeah you had to be that good.
Everything was going fine until I was asked a particular mathematics question which I tried to solve and got stuck. My time was already far spent. In a flash of the moment even without considering the options or knowing what was in them, I just said “The answer is C”.
The moderator shouted correct and that sent cold shivers down my spine. If he had asked me what is C? I would have gone blank. Till today I don’t know what was in that option C, I just know it was the right answer.
In case you don’t understand how important that point was, let me explain.
At the end of the quiz, I scored 18 out of 20, and directly below me at 16 (because each question had a 2 point weight) there was a tie which ended up screening out one person.
The only reason I was clear of the rest and the consequent traumatic tie breaking process was not my intelligence, my smartness nor was it my hard-work, it was that “C” guess that turned out right. It was purely luck.
I look back today to imagine all the other scenarios that could have played out had I been wrong, because make no mistake, those other guys were all red hot intellectually, so what stood me apart was that C guess, that luck factor and the rest is history as I had the opportunity to proceed and ultimately win the competition.
In life, our abilities and skills will not always be what will set us apart, we will have moments when we would need the forces of nature, God or whatever to just be on our side in order to get ahead.
All the knowledge we have gathered that helped us get that far would simply not be enough to push us over the edge and all that we will require to guarantee success will just be luck, grace, favour or whatever you call it.
Make no mistake, you have a great part to play before you will ever find yourself in this position where just one more lucky stroke will launch you into success. Of course my hard-work and diligence got me the other 16 points but that lucky 2 points was what made the difference.
Now you see why no matter how many people you listen to their success stories and try to apply it to your life, the results might just not be similar. It’s not that they are hiding something from you, rather there is a part they just cannot teach you and that part is the last stroke called luck. It’s non-transferable and unpredictable.
As a result, two people might do exactly the same thing and end up with diametrically opposite results just because of that final luck factor.
I believe understanding this keeps many successful people humble and more reflective, realizing that while they might have put in a lot of work, the universe chose to smile on them at a certain point without which they would never have succeeded.
So my prayer for you as you strive for excellence and breakthrough is that when you need luck, grace or favour on your side, may it be available to get you the success you truly deserve and desire.
Remember; Nobody can tell your story better than you, so tell it with or without their applause.
CREDIT: Dr. Chidiebere Nwachukwu,
Dr. Chidiebere Nwachukwu, is the Founder of Mind Clinic, a Motivational Speaker, Success Coach and a practicing Medical Doctor.