[Reading time: 2 minutes]

“All you can do is everything you can do”

I don’t know where I read this quote recently*, but it stuck with me.

It reminds us that we don’t have control over everything in our personal or professional lives.

Every success involves a bit of good luck

We can do everything within our control to achieve the outcome we want.

But we don’t have control over the outside world:

  • The state of the economy
  • The actions of competitors
  • The changing tastes of our target customers
  • The whims of legislators

To achieve some outcomes, perhaps it’s 95% within our control and 5% outside of our control. For many others, the split may be closer to 50/50.

Work the odds

So, if luck plays a role in every success, why don’t we just drift and let forces outside of our control decide the outcome?

Because we know our actions are a significant contributor to our success.

In some cases, our actions could be 95% of the reason for our success. In others, perhaps 50%.

Do everything you can do

We should look at it from two perspectives:

1. Without our actions, we need a lot of luck to achieve the outcome we desire.

2. Even with our actions, we may not get the outcome we desire. Luck just isn’t on our side this time around.

But, to paraphrase Samuel Goldwyn and Thomas Jefferson, the harder we try, the luckier we get.

All you can do is everything you can do.

Are you doing everything you can do to achieve the outcome you desire?


* When I looked this up online today, it pointed me to a book by Art Williams. It sounds like a book I should read but this is not where I read the quote. Nonetheless, I’ll credit the man.