Russ Ramsey
Investment manager

Russ Ramsey

Founder, chairman and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management; also chairman of the George Washington University board of trustees.


Breaks and staying power

Q: How much does achieving success rely on luck vs. skill? This week a Western Maryland lumberjack named Darvin Moon won $5 million in the World Series of Poker. He insists he is no more skilled at cards than any recreational player. What do you think?

You make your luck in life. We all need breaks, and timing is a big part of that. But we all need to be in a position to win, to be successful -- and that requires determination and skill. Practice doesn't make perfect -- perfect practice makes perfect.

Create a system for success, evaluate it, put in the time, and adjust as time goes on. Get to work/school early, stay late, do whatever it takes to be your best, and if you are maximizing your ability level, let the chips fall where they will fall.

I do believe luck plays a big role in life, but one needs staying power to "hang around the hoop long enough" to be in a position to win more than lose. Know the odds and don't expect a 100 percent hit rate. Depending on the sport or industry, a 5 percent success rate may be outstanding.

Having said that, few people or organizations are "overnight successes." What the outside ends up seeing is tremendous amounts of hard work, skill building, mini-failures, testing, what ifs, and perseverance before a "success" shows up.

I also believe for the most part life is a meritocracy and that good things flow to those who set a goal and grit their teeth with determination to get there. Last time I checked, there was no one in the Beijing Olympics who made the team because a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle handed it down to them.

By Russ Ramsey  |  November 12, 2009; 8:16 AM ET  | Category:  Skill versus Luck Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: One step at a time | Next: Lotteries, Lou Gehrig and life

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company