Cornell economist Robert Frank studies the role luck plays in the outcomes of successful people, and the hostility that comes from suggesting luck plays a role in success.
Behavioral economist on why Americans freak out when you attribute their success to luck -Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing:
Frank’s argument: being born to a rich, privileged family is sometimes sufficient to guarantee success, even for people who aren’t very good at their jobs and don’t work very hard; meanwhile, being born into a family that lacks wealth and privilege can sometimes prevent people from rising in society, even if they are very good and work very hard.
In my observation most successful people are lucky and work hard. I’ve known many unsuccessful people who work hard, and a few successful people who were lazy and lucky.
From my life experience I conclude that good luck is essential to success, and hard work is helpful.