Is Success just Dumb Luck?

This topic is something that I have always questioned in my writing and was quite pleasantly surprised to see this as a daily post. For the past few weeks, I had been writing about Avatar: The Last Airbender and will bring this up as well in regards to it’s initial success.

When looking at any successful product, people often question if something comes into popularity through it’s own work or through dumb luck. This is a question for a multitude of creative mediums. This is seen in art, books and movies. Why did the Mona Lisa become so culturally significant? How did the Harry Potter series rise to success? Why is L.A Confidential considered a classic? Can all of these be boiled down to luck? The answer, I would say, is quite clearly, no.

For all three of these examples, there is a clear level of skill from the creators of each of these things. The Mona Lisa didn’t happen to be come a cultural piece in regards to art. It was modeled after the wife of an influential man as well as created by an already established artist. There were also the culturally historical nuances that have to be put into consideration as well. This came about during the beginnings of the art renaissance. The Harry Potter series is another case that shows that success is not just dumb luck. It must be noted that Harry Potter did not rise to the powerhouse level of relevancy that it has today immediately upon its publishing. For starters, it was rejected eight times. There was also a clear level of skill on J. K Rowling’s writing and crafting of characters and worlds. If you haven’t seen L. A Confidential I highly suggest you give it a look. This movie showed an astounding level of skill in pretty much all aspects of film making. Though, seeing that I’m not as well versed in film making, this is the best I can give.

This can be seen in Avatar as well. The majority of the first episodes hit well over a million on their day of airing. It has even gained an extremely loyal following that still praise it over a decade later. Was it all luck? Of course not. My bias aside, there is an abundantly clear amount of skill behind the show. Everything from the writing to the animation was done beautifully. Granted, there were some things that were on it’s side. The year 2005 was an interesting one for cartoons in the West. For one, around the early 2000s was the same time that the first “Cartoon Renissance” happened in which shows like Power Puff girls became highly popular. There was also a rise in the powerhouses of cartoons had a multitude of successful series studios. This was also the time that western cartoons were also being introduced to eastern influence. Avatar had all of this in its favor.

So is success just luck? A little yes and a little no. There is a level of skill that is necessary and apparent in a lot of popular products. But they also benefit from things like historical/ cultural nuances and coincidences.


3 Replies to “Is Success just Dumb Luck?”

  1. Great post! I’ve often wondered that myself. Part of it is luck, part of it has to be knowing the right people, which will definitely boost your success, and part of it is talent. It all depends on the subject and who made/wrote/did it. 🙂


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