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Is It Better to be Lucky Than Smart?

February 10, 2016


I’ve heard this saying many times and it never fails to get my attention. Who is lucky? Well, let’s take a look at an incredible example that I happened to run across last year.


When I first heard this news on TV my first reaction was that I heard wrong. Later, I came across an article by Tom Balog in the Sarasota Herald Tribune and lo and behold! I had heard everything correctly.


Gus Andreone, is a former PGA teaching pro who has lived in Palm-Aire since 1988. On Wednesday, December 17, 2014 he scored a hole-in-one (his eighth) at the Palm-Aire Country Club in Sarasota, Florida. This was 75 years after he hit his first one. But there’s more to this story.

This 103-year-old is still swinging. Go Gus!

Andreone won the Pennsylvania State Lottery in 1983, two Florida Fantasy Five lotteries, an automobile at a raffle in the sixties and a case of soda pop and bananas as a boy in the late twenties.

When interviewed he said, “Naturally I feel great about this. To have a hole-in-one at my age is pretty special because I have a difficult time keeping my balance. I wobble up to the tee, straighten up and get my balance before I hit the ball to make sure I don’t fall down when I’m swinging.”

His “junior” golf partners (sixty-plus) went ballistic when they witnessed this incredible feat. “Gus raised his hands over his head. He didn’t leave the ground – but the rest of us sure did,” said one. “We were jumping!”


A piece in Fast Company magazine How to Make Your Own Luck by Dan Pink, reviews a book by Richard Wiseman, the head of a psychology research department at the University of Hertfordshire in England. In an interview with the affable professor at a café overlooking London’s Hyde Park they discuss both the book, The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life and what makes a person lucky. Here are a few salient points from their discussion:

  • Do people make their own luck? Yes, they do. You may say, “Fifty percent of my life is due to chance events.” No, it’s not. Maybe 10% is. That other 40% that you think you’re having no influence over at all is actually defined by the way you think.
  • Do lucky people think differently from unlucky? Yes, they’re open to new experiences. Unlucky people are stuck in routines. When they see something new, they want no part of it.
  • How do lucky people’s minds differ from unlucky ones? They practice “counterfactual thinking”. Unlucky people say, “I can’t believe I’ve been in another car accident.” Lucky people go, “Yes, I had a car accident, but I wasn’t killed.”


  1. Maximize chance opportunities by building a strong network and adopting a relaxed attitude to life
  2. Listen to your lucky hunches: heed your intuition and gut feelings
  3. Expect good fortune and over time that expectation will become a self-fulfilling prophecy
  4. Turn bad luck into good and use psychological techniques to handle ill fortune that comes your way


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Time to bookmark ADEA on his computer and start hinting.  

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

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