Why the internet isn’t making us luckier

“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation”, said Seneca, the ancient Roman philosopher. Writing this down as a mathematical formula,

Luck = Opportunity x Preparation.

One thing that everybody talks about is how the online world has multiplied the opportunity available to each one of us. We have never had it better with avenues to learn a new craft, redefine our capabilities or reach a wider audience.

However, we don’t hear much talk about how the internet has made us a luckier species. Somehow, that increase of opportunity on the right hand side doesn’t seem to translate to luck on the left hand side.

The missing factor here is preparation. In the absence of preparation, we aren’t able to harness the best of opportunities. What’s more? Opportunity and preparation aren’t independent. The more opportunity we have, the more likely we are to spread ourselves too thin across them. Just as the internet offers several ways to creatively enrich ourselves, it offers way more alluring portals for distraction.

In a world of abundant opportunity, we are better off directing all our attention to preparation.

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