Is Success Luck or Hard Work?

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Huge thanks to Gene and Sam from Potato Jet for filming with me:
This video was inspired by and draws examples from the book "Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy" by Robert H. Frank
Special thanks to Patreon supporters (and to everyone who commented on an earlier version of this video):
Marc Forand, Robert Dickerson, Christian Stauffer, LoadTooSlow, Vincent, Lyvann Ferrusca, DALE HORNE, Alfred Wallace, Kevin Beavers, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Ron Neal, Donal Botkin
Animations by Iván Tello


  • Eduard Varvara
    Eduard VarvaraOrë më parë

    I think I was lucky to see this video 🙏 it changed a bit of my perception of how I see the world! In the end it is a combination of luck and hard work but in the same time it gives you the courage to try new things without the doubt and fear if you don’t succeed it’s entirely your fault! So everyone we should fearlessly do the things we want and love the most who knows maybe we will have some luck in the end! 🙏

  • Marios Karakatsanis
    Marios Karakatsanis2 orë më parë

    From one comment on his post to him having 3 kids that should be the whole video hahahah for me its like this....if you hustle and chase you have a way higher chance of things happening and In these things happening something lucky can happen if you are lazy the opposite

  • Mange Chanagement
    Mange Chanagement2 orë më parë

    This is the single most important video on ALthe

  • Joe Norsworthy
    Joe Norsworthy3 orë më parë

    I enjoyed this. I would have been explicit that "lucky" in this context probably includes avoiding bad luck. The inference in the video is outcomes are determined by a random, unearned gift. I am sure there are examples of this being true, but it's also possible, probably even likely, that those among a highly and equally talented group who achieved the most success avoided setbacks more than won a lottery. Avoiding setbacks is also a skill in many cases, even though it can be quantified as "luck." A focus on situations in which 1 per 1000 are deemed "winners" and everyone else isn't can be very misleading. Yes, fortune/luck -- either having good luck or avoiding bad luck -- will play a role in any extremely selective situation when even tiny random factors are present. That doesn't mean typical outcomes are essentially random, even in games with undeniable random elements. Think about professional poker tournaments -- why do the top players consistently win? It's a competition that's repeated, not once but again and again, with each player having a "restart" on luck at the beginning of each new competition. The same, small group of people consistently win over the long haul due to talent, skill, superior knowledge, fortitude, competitiveness, AND the experience/insight to understand when to avoid a risky situation. Is that "luck?" I would say no, but the answer really depends on the definition of luck in the first place.

  • EphyDude613
    EphyDude6136 orë më parë

    You are awesome! Great vid as usual. Glad you got lucky and became a youtube sensation, but personally, I think the substance you provide is more why you have had your success. VSauce doesn't account for return viewers. That was a result of your efforts, which I commend and thank you for!

  • No Bo
    No Bo9 orë më parë

    goes to show, a head start compounds over time but thanks to luck unlikely circumstances can occur, and those ahead can fall but it changes nothing as their will always be people ahead and people behind.

  • Malachai Oder-Kies
    Malachai Oder-Kies9 orë më parë

    I definitely believe that success is lent to by luck. That being said, I still think that anyone (born into a first world country) can become successful. Other people just have to try all that much harder.

  • Matt Bell
    Matt Bell9 orë më parë

    Love the video. I was wondering if there was any science behind people who aren't enjoying themselves looking down on people who are. Maybe if there is I'd love to see a video on it. Personally in my own experiences I've noticed that whenever I'm enjoying myself doing something there sometimes is someone who isn't having fun and they might laugh or pass judgement. Might be another circumstance that causes people to feel like an outcast and separated for doing things they enjoy.

  • Ace Smith
    Ace Smith10 orë më parë

    You cannot control luck. You can only work hard. Forget about luck. Work hard and define the meaning of success. Your success rate is 100% guarantee.

  • Jonas Hee
    Jonas Hee12 orë më parë

    I hope he makes a podcast of his videos

  • 7o cloudyyzx
    7o cloudyyzx12 orë më parë

    Now I understand why people say if you fail don't give up keep trying

  • Walter tireminnanzi
    Walter tireminnanzi13 orë më parë

    well, the world needs more people like you.

  • Midas Valo
    Midas Valo15 orë më parë

    @Veritasium - Thank you for producing such excellent content! Next video idea - The power of gratitude.

  • Sapandry
    Sapandry17 orë më parë

    Luck it's a God Will

  • Charles Rebbel
    Charles Rebbel19 orë më parë

    Thomas Sowell has discussed these concepts in the past. Simply being the first-born vs later-born in your family can have staggering outcomes in terms of performance and outcome.

  • Big Man
    Big Man19 orë më parë

    One word *talent* Some people work so hard to become good at something and others are litterally born with it.......

  • alacer
    alacer21 orë më parë

    Success can be liken to be the planning you put into today that will yield the dividends of prosperity for you tomorrow.

  • alacer


    20 orë më parë

    Consultant{.}eltonstephens{1] (a) G (m)(a)(i)(l){.](c)(0)(m)

  • alacer


    21 orë më parë

    ( via g mai; )

  • francis alzard

    francis alzard

    21 orë më parë

    The right choice of investment has always been a problem for me because I know that picking up the wrong investment will leave a big scar for me in the future. How can i reach out.

  • jeremiah micheal

    jeremiah micheal

    21 orë më parë

    @alacer The name rings a bell.. Elton Stephens I presume, he is well know here in Scotland. His strategies and technique has been good enough for me so far. Never knew you know him too.

  • Belia Fredrick

    Belia Fredrick

    21 orë më parë

    There is never any culture of wealth gathering or wealth creation to keep multiplying commodities or materials that lack any investment value. This means, if you have ti plan you must be an investor.

  • Ike
    Ike22 orë më parë

    I was five and a half minutes in before I realized he was wearing a CGP Grey shirt

  • XvCiiA
    XvCiiA22 orë më parë

    Both, boom!

  • Tyler Durdin
    Tyler Durdin23 orë më parë

    I really would like to know who are the people that thumbs downed this video! Not to berate them or tell them how wrong they are but I just want to know why they felt negatively about this very insightful look at a major fundamental problem in human nature that can be overcame by accepting the reality of the issue and making the effort to change the negative behavior. The only way to get it wrong in solving it is to act like it's not there (not true/doesn't apply to you). It's a progress trap inherent to human nature, so the responses if those who gave a thumbs down could be invaluable data concerning this progress trap and ironically maybe those who refuse to accept the truth of the matter and participate in overcoming this progress trap could provide critical insight into the fundamental issue holding us back and ultimately do more than anyone else possibly could. Wouldn't that be a cool twist of fate, twice so since the whole idea that lead up to this, and what he began the video with, is how much luck and pure chance is deterministic of our future.

  • Mike Balezine
    Mike Balezine23 orë më parë

    What a clever way to crap on the wealthy. The majority of successful people will tell you that they failed many times before they succeeded. It takes a lot of hard work to start again after having failed. Basically you’re just saying “there there” to the failures.

  • Sanjay
    Sanjay23 orë më parë

    I would say it's luck cuz if we need to be born we should be lucky , you know that

  • Dejawolfs
    Dejawolfs23 orë më parë

    i wonder how much this translates to finding a significant other.

  • Danny Arthur
    Danny ArthurDitë më parë

    It is the planning you put into today that will yield the dividends of prosperity for you tomorrow.

  • Arthur Dunn
    Arthur DunnDitë më parë

    He's just repeating what others have said/studied/reported, but he's damn good at it and sucks you in. Lucky for him!

  • Karl Burnett
    Karl BurnettDitë më parë

    Success is relative. I sit around all day watching movies and playing video games, so I consider that success. My girlfriend, however, does not.

  • Brad g
    Brad gDitë më parë

    I love your other videos but your really downplay the importance of hard work. Luck plays a very small role, if you weren't extremely dedicated to learning the things that your videos talk about VSauce would have never used your video in his. It wasn't luck that brought him to you. It was working hard towards your content which a very small fraction of the population are willing to do.

  • some dude
    some dudeDitë më parë

    Lmao I knew something was up when I just guessed on my test and got an 89 and the smartest in my class only got a 90😂

  • Chax Chat
    Chax ChatDitë më parë

    I always say that success is about being prepared for "opportunities" and being able to recognize them. In other words, be ready for lucky situations through hard work and preparation.

  • Andrei Sales
    Andrei SalesDitë më parë

    I'm in a state of bad luck my entire life

  • supernovaaust
    supernovaaustDitë më parë

    Success is laughing the instant before you die.

  • Dave Fancella
    Dave FancellaDitë më parë

    This is the video that led me to subscribe. This is an amazing video. I'd like to see a simulation of generational luck. Maybe average parental luck and skill, assign a value to the result, and then pair by the resulting values to create the next generation.

  • Tisha Arboleda
    Tisha ArboledaDitë më parë

    Now I know why PINOYS are likable-- they tend to be more grateful than most and gives not only luck but people around them credit for their success..

  • Cybering Catgirls
    Cybering CatgirlsDitë më parë

    Factual reasons why we need to tax wealthy people more and build a strong social safety net for the less fortunate.

  • zfuqua91
    zfuqua91Ditë më parë

    Why are his eyes so red?

  • Michael Cary
    Michael CaryDitë më parë

    3:19 slight mistake. Men's hurdles are 110 metres because it's very hard for them to do 100 as they are going so fast. So it's actually 110 in 12.8s

  • What No
    What NoDitë më parë


  • Fcktherules Orsuckmyjewels
    Fcktherules OrsuckmyjewelsDitë më parë

    I'f you call it luck people are vibin if you dare to call that obvious thing privilege people are storming the capitol.

  • Anym
    AnymDitë më parë

    answer: yes

  • Youssef Dirani
    Youssef DiraniDitë më parë

    I think success has to do with you being in your heart outside the style of this world but in your body in this world. Being successful has to do with some yes and no and this is fine. Not a shame. It all fits well. It's yes here and no there. We are creatures meant to believe and atheists don't get it.

  • kidus E
    kidus EDitë më parë

    People with impostor syndrome:* breathing heavily*

  • Friendship 7
    Friendship 7Ditë më parë

    I found Derek Muller is not only a genius, but also a vice man

  • anthony celis
    anthony celisDitë më parë

    The harder you work the luckier you get. -C. Karcher

  • Rounak Singh Buttar
    Rounak Singh ButtarDitë më parë

    Being born in the first quarter really affects the career of an ice hockey player really struck me. I would say that this is same for education wherein older students are more mentally and emotionally mature than the younger ones and this difference compounds each year.

  • wannaknowbad
    wannaknowbadDitë më parë

    This is one of the best most informative videos I've ever seen. I found my luck today. Thank you!

  • Leo DA
    Leo DADitë më parë


  • tasnimul 009
    tasnimul 009Ditë më parë

    success is like a never ending loop, but you will get happiness by suffering for solving a problem

  • grisza owniuk
    grisza owniukDitë më parë

    Hard work is like buying a lottery ticket, more tickets you have the bigger chance to win, still it's not guaranteed.

  • 13g0la5
    13g0la5Ditë më parë

    Hahahaha the HIMYM joke, im dying!! Much love from Germany, been watching you since forever. Wish me luck! ;)

  • Diego Rens
    Diego RensDitë më parë

    thats how u met your wife ? :D what the hell. amazin

  • Jatinda
    Jatinda2 ditë më parë

    I love this. I know it suits all of life but it is never more true than in the music industry. boy oh boy to we work hard and yet get nowhere near the success that some do. Musicians in the public eye seem to get everything while everyone else fights for a few crumbs which isn't even enough to pay our bills. It makes me very angry when asked they put it all down their hard work.

  • Sandip Vishwakarma
    Sandip Vishwakarma2 ditë më parë

    But to even stand a chance of being lucky you need to work hard to even get nominated for the reward, that's how cruel this world can be..

  • Jackir Erioa
    Jackir Erioa2 ditë më parë

    ahhh humans extinct within the next 500 years

  • Peter Kim
    Peter Kim2 ditë më parë

    Business success equals the value of the product or service you provide to society,.

  • xXRacer9000Xx
    xXRacer9000Xx2 ditë më parë

    luck is being prepared for the opportunity when it arises

  • Ras Rahmani
    Ras Rahmani2 ditë më parë

    You're a legend mate. Thanks for all the efforts you put into it.

  • Byron Hernandez
    Byron Hernandez2 ditë më parë


  • Jeff
    Jeff2 ditë më parë

    3.4K people have dislikemanship bias

  • Ema Shah
    Ema Shah2 ditë më parë

    I wish there is arabic subtitle

  • Ace The FireDragon
    Ace The FireDragon2 ditë më parë

    Basically, hard work gives you the right to participate. Winning is all a matter of luck. All you can do, is try to participate as much as you can. It’s like spinning a wheel. What gives you the right to spin it is hard work. Whether you hit the jackpot, is all a matter of luck. All you can do, is to try spinning it as much as you can until you hit the jackpot.

  • Ace The FireDragon
    Ace The FireDragon2 ditë më parë

    The birthday part doesn’t apply to hockey, but to school as well. Kids born January tend to have higher grades and scores than kids born around December. Because of the very same reasoning.

  • Joe Solo
    Joe Solo2 ditë më parë

    I am lucky for stumbling on to this video. Thank you!

  • Osamuyimen Igbinoba
    Osamuyimen Igbinoba2 ditë më parë

    These are the kind of videos people needs. Pride, stupidity and ignorance is becoming too much in today's society.

  • Susan Hosmer
    Susan Hosmer2 ditë më parë

    You are awesome! You were a regular guest in my classroom when I was teaching chemistry.

  • John Lessar
    John Lessar2 ditë më parë

    Way back in the stone age a fellow jr. high classmate of mine was an outstanding basketball player. I kid you not. This guy was the real deal. He was that good. By the 9th grade he was out of sports and un-coachable. The kid sadly lacked discipline. Good luck gave him athletic talent. Bad luck gave him an arrogant attitude no coach or parent could break. Meanwhile across town a budding 5th grader also had strong basketball talent. This kid had the same or better luck with athletic talent. He was also lucky his attitude was ripe for being coached to the upper limits. He earned Pac 10 college basketball scholarship. There you are. Two people with very different results from good luck.

  • Vasilis Papanikolaou
    Vasilis Papanikolaou2 ditë më parë

    I think that success is 90% measured in the ability to amplify yourself by saying LESSSS GOOOOOO before doing anything and also pulling a SHEEEEEEEESH to diminish all your failures.

  • Amogh kavlekar
    Amogh kavlekar2 ditë më parë

    Butterfly effect

  • Frank
    Frank2 ditë më parë

    The thing is that it is basically impossible to know what percentage is your actual contribution. And the hockey players cannot be thankful to something he doesn't know. I'm sure if you tell them many more will start to feel at least a little bit lucky to be born the beginning of the year. It all comes down to how much you really know about something it is not that surprising

  • Jacob Taylor
    Jacob Taylor2 ditë më parë

    Its 100% luck, there are 100’s of millions of people trying their absolute hardest right now, for a measly $30 an hour MAX. Just enough to keep you working, just enough to force a person to pay off a decent home for the span of 30 years... it’s a game, it’s rigged.

  • Kurt D Nelson
    Kurt D Nelson2 ditë më parë

    Oh I forgot if u have a great mentor in your life. Your success could be a lot easier with a little luck.

  • Serge Storms
    Serge Storms2 ditë më parë

    You probably bugged popular channels and hored yourself out, but you don't have to work or make content because you can rant non sense to a camera and make a living day trading, while marking off expenses to your llc

  • Kurt D Nelson
    Kurt D Nelson2 ditë më parë

    We were on our own from a early age parents allways fighting, physical, emosiona & mental abuse. We walked on egg shells, basicly waiting for the hammer to drop. People didn't know how things were we hid it well nice clothes, polite treated people well. I need to say two uve us worked really hard one uve us had a stroke at 50 I'm 62 I have too retire early cuz of my body osteoarthritis and mental health, PTSD & a bunch of other problems the other sibling she is 60 & well she'll die of serous of the liver. All 3 of us have made a lot of bad decisions & I have a black cloud above me. All 3 of us have bad relationship skills, I'm still hoping for that happy Walt Disney ending but I will have too forget about that & come to the realization that I'm better off creating my own ending I'm TIRED REALLY TIRED BYE. Hope u'll have a happy life

  • Beev Meister
    Beev Meister2 ditë më parë

    Thank you veratisium, there is a reason I found you

  • SACC
    SACC2 ditë më parë

    Its a mix of both

  • Daniel Holtzman
    Daniel Holtzman2 ditë më parë

    This is a very strong argument for conservatism

  • Sil Mov
    Sil Mov3 ditë më parë

    Spot on

  • Stephan van der Hulst
    Stephan van der Hulst3 ditë më parë

    Being born in a certain country is 100% deterministic and 0% luck.

  • Hari Kumar
    Hari Kumar3 ditë më parë

    So You are basically saying "Fake it till you make it, but when you make it, don't forget you faked it".

  • Jhonn Carlo
    Jhonn Carlo3 ditë më parë

    One of the best channels for science,facts, real life situations. And of course HIMYM reference is so funny.

  • crowna byruss
    crowna byruss3 ditë më parë

    base on what i see in this vids, luck doesnt come your way you have to find it, but i guess you can cheat hahaha.

  • Bruce Walker
    Bruce Walker3 ditë më parë

    This makes me think of the movie, The Last Samurai. Katsamoto asks Algrin, "Do you believe in destiny?" Algrin thinks a moment, then answers, "I believe a man does what he can until his destiny is revealed."

  • ProbablyAman
    ProbablyAman3 ditë më parë

    I do no agree working hard brings you luck. Working SMART on the other hand... gives you more time to catch a lucky opportunity.

  • NachoBroRyan
    NachoBroRyan3 ditë më parë

    I'd really like to hang out with this guy.

  • Satyam Priyadarshi
    Satyam Priyadarshi3 ditë më parë

    Hard work favours luck

  • Finland Journey
    Finland Journey3 ditë më parë

    It's conning people and running an illegal Monopoly, like Bill Gates. Tell me 1 billionaire who didn't do all of these things: immorality, shady, scandalous and outright illegal!? All of them are guilty, hence the court cases which they certainly didn't win.

  • Dave
    Dave3 ditë më parë

    "The article that ended talking about luck left the readers liking the person more." At end of video: "....thank you, for my good luck." Very clever, sir. You even compounded the results of the study by instructing us that we should like somebody more under particular circumstances (circumstances that you would shortly orchestrate). Very clever, indeed.

  • Atilla Ramos
    Atilla Ramos3 ditë më parë

    Could you write the references in description? I would like to read more about all this things.

  • VSL MD
    VSL MD3 ditë më parë

    This video is a kind of relief from what I have tried and failed so many times. I can understand now what was the problem. It was a lack of Luck. Good luck who tries hard.

  • Lo Ventures
    Lo Ventures3 ditë më parë

    In generally I disagree, I would define peoples’ successes similar to a population proportion. Let’s say someone has a set amount of skill. In a one off event, they may not be successful. But in the long run their chance of success approaches their population chance of success. This introduces another aspect of success into the mix: perseverance. TLDR: If you have a lot of skill, through perseverance, over the long run one will be able to realize their “average” amount of success.

  • Maxi Mooze
    Maxi Mooze3 ditë më parë

    I wish Gordon Ramsay is seeing this video. Curious what would he think.

  • Ivelina Jensen
    Ivelina Jensen3 ditë më parë

    all in this life is good or bad luck.

  • Dr. Baban Jadhav
    Dr. Baban Jadhav3 ditë më parë

    This guy renewed my brain cells🧠🧠🧠😭😂😂🙏🙏🙏🤩💪

  • Adetutu Daniel
    Adetutu Daniel3 ditë më parë

    Gather here if you're part of the 50% that works hard and gets no result for it. Because trust me, from the point you find this comment to whenever after watching this video, your life gone change for the absolute best cause you also deserve it. 🏆🏅❤️

  • DoubleOfU
    DoubleOfU3 ditë më parë

    But what if hard work is luck as well? What if no person has the ability to autonomously decide to work hard or not?

  • zen master
    zen master3 ditë më parë

    Usually insider trading or monopolisation

  • Resin Lung
    Resin Lung4 ditë më parë

    Luck may only be 10% of the reason but its surely closer to 100% of what makes the difference and therefore, what matters most. Have no doubt that you are lucky and no other possibility can exist. The trick is to get to where you truly believe in the many worlds theory, that there are infinite versions of you, each being only minutely different than the next so that every possible variation of you exists, one good and one evil, a doctor and a dummy, a president and a prisoner...... it won’t be hard to believe that there must then be one version of yourself that is the luckier than all the rest...... if you can get to where you believe that, then all thats left to do in order to achieve happiness is to ask yourself the question you won’t be able to answer..... why not me. If you have an answer to that question then happiness cannot be be attained but all is not lost..... You simply must make changes until you have no answer. Only then will you have attained perfection and no one will ever convince you otherwise.

  • bluemassgamer17
    bluemassgamer174 ditë më parë

    Luck is the universe way of the butterfly effect.

  • markd315
    markd3154 ditë më parë

    Hmm. Marx wrote about this too... Anyway, I feel quite grateful for my very comfortable station in life. Some days I have anxiety about the fact that it is so entirely undeserved, so corrupt and senseless. I shouldn't have a crust of bread more than anyone else. But most days, I am extremely grateful, happy and resourceful even when I spend 5 minutes or so reflecting on my privilege.

  • Thuong Vo
    Thuong Vo4 ditë më parë

    Wow, the CGP Grey shirt is really new to me.

  • beto villa
    beto villa4 ditë më parë

    Well I have one questión. Where i can buy the luck?

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