An age old question asks, is it better to be lucky or good? The easiest answer is that it’s better to be lucky short term and being good will pay off in in the long run. Doing something poorly and having it result positively only takes you so far. This post is going to look into my golf game because it’s where my idea for this post spawned from.
I’ve been playing a good amount of golf lately and I feel like I’ve been improving with every round. What’s started to happen is that things that I consider “lucky”, might actually be happening because I’m getting “good”. My hole in one is something that is probably as lucky as you can get because you are trying to put a ball that is 1.680 inches wide into a hole that is 4.25 inches across from 150+ yards away. The odds of a Tour player making an ace: 3,000 to 1, Low-handicapper making an ace: 5,000 to 1, Average player making an ace: 12,000 to 1. This also brings me back to the 65 ft basketball shot that I attempted a few more times the other day and wasn’t even close to putting it in. The shot that I made was pure luck, no skill behind it. So these two events were what I would consider mostly luck but what happened today on the golf course was something different.
Today I made 5 putts that were between 10-15 feet. This is pretty surprising because I just as easily could have missed every one of them, shot 5 strokes higher, and wouldn’t think I was becoming a better player. To give you an idea of this effort, a study found that nearly everybody makes almost every putt from inside two feet. Go a little farther away, to three feet, and golfers begin to miss (even Tour pros make only 85% to 95% of their three-footers). Step back to five feet and pros hole about 65%, while amateurs, if they’re lucky, are making about 50%. And at six feet, the best in the world, the PGA Tour Professionals, sink about 50%, plus or minus 5%. From 10 feet, no one consistently holes better than 25%. And from over 15 feet? One in 10, best case, even for the pros. So what I did today was a pretty impressive display for me. This got me thinking that was what was happening on the course today was pure luck like the aforementioned scenarios or was it possible I was actually making them because I’m improving. The answer is pretty commonplace in that it’s a combination of both. I’m probably improving as well as getting a little lucky.
The idea of luck is a wild concept. What would it take for this blog to be more popular? I’ve read my work from years ago and I know that this blog is getting better in both content and presentation. If someone or something stumbles across this website and changes up what I’ve been doing and helps me take it to the next level am I getting lucky? I can’t control anything other than what I post but it would require some sort of lucky break that I have no control over. I feel like lucky breaks are part of our culture and that not everyone knows when they are going to happen. You can stumble into them sometimes. Being lucky is a great quality to have but it’s not something you can rely on. You need to be have the total package and luck will find you. The idea of luck is amazing though because some people will attribute luck to acts of god. I for one, do not.