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Luck is when preparation meets opportunities

Luck is when preparation meets opportunities Ankur Bora

Some people wait for opportunities hoping that lady luck will be on their side. I have a different perspective; my motto is a quote attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunities.” Friends, there will always be opportunities for those who recognize and pursue them. The lucky people are simply those who have taken more chances than average. I have seen it and experienced it many times; today I cannot resist sharing with you an incident when opportunity knocked on my door, how I seized it and what happened afterwards.

It was the early nineties. After graduating in Computer Science and Engineering, I got an offer for a managerial position with the Central Government department. In India, this position was akin to a Federal Government job in the USA – the job was secure, you receive a beautiful home and there was prestige associated with a government posting. My parents were happy and even started looking for a suitable bride for me so that I could settle down into family life. But I knew that I would never be happy stuck in the same place. “Do I want to be a goddamn office manager all my life”? No, in the back of mind, I knew if I really wanted to make it in the world, I had to go to America.

Looking back it was kind of crazy. I made up my mind to get out of town but I was not sure where to go. It was the pre -Internet era, and there was hardly any information available. I researched and applied to several places and waited for over a year. Nothing was working for me but I never gave up because I knew luck is when preparation meets opportunities. Then, one day, I unexpectedly received an invitation from our corporate office. It was for week long training in New Delhi. Delhi during those days was a major hub of multinational companies. As it turned out, lady luck truly opened a gate for me. Before arriving in Delhi, I had contacted a classmate of mine who was working as a System Analyst at a US based multinational. He responded and invited me to spend a few days with him. I still remember the day when I visited him. The training was nearly over. While most of my colleagues were busy shopping for family, buying collectibles or souvenirs or visiting the tourist spots nearby, I was searching for my friend in the big unknown city, alone.

It was the peak of summer; a scorching heat wave was sweeping across the city. I reached my friend’s apartment building tired and famished. My friend had been preparing dinner for me, but when I entered there was a sudden power outage, the electric stove stopped and the food was left half cooked. But my friend, who was an easy going person, did not make a fuss about the situation. Instead, he took me to the rooftop of the building. From there I witnessed the splendid view of the city the International airport nearby. I watched with amazement as the International flights were taking off one after another. “Look, that one is going to Chicago.” my friend said pointing to an aircraft in the runway. Then he spotted another, “This one is going to Atlanta” – he continued as the roar of those aircrafts filled the sky with a sense of hope, optimism and, yes, excitement.

Friends, I was completely overwhelmed by that nighttime vision; those images spoke to me as no words would have done. My friend put the right question in my mind: what are you waiting for? Let’s roll!! And I did, I rolled up my sleeves, began searching for a job knocking on the door of every placement agency offering jobs abroad. It was an arduous task but I endured it because I knew luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunities. Then, as luck would have it, I received a job offer from a multinational for their office in Atlanta. In less than six months I was boarding one of those flights to the USA, and my life was never the same again.

When coming to a fork in the journey of life, some people walk the familiar path while a few take the chance; when they emerge triumphant they are called lucky. Twenty years ago, in a hot summer day, in sweltering heat, I ventured out, knocked on every door, took a chance; I became lucky. Friends, luck will surely be on your side, if you prepare diligently, if you pursue relentlessly and if you are ready to believe - luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunities.

You Tube link


Ankur Bora is a member of Thumbs Up Toastmasters and Highway to Excellence Toastmasters in Dallas, Texas and this story is part of his Toastmasters speech.

At Toastmasters, each speech is evaluated by a member of a club called evaluator. The evaluation provides feedback to the speaker in the area of improvement. This speech was delivered at Thumbs Up Toastmasters on August 9th 2020 and Phat Nguyen evaluated the speech. Based on his input, the speech was modified and delivered at Highway to Excellence on August 20th.

What you excelled in this performance:

Good variety of vocal range, you raised your voice when you needed to make a point or emphasize something. Your voice was loud and clear, which help project that you are confident and authoritative. I liked how you repeatedly inject the title of your speech at various points to create a lasting impression on the audience. Oftentimes, when you deliver a speech, it's easy to get lost of what exactly the message is about in the sea of many details. By reemphasizing your point over and over again, you are making sure that the audience will walk away from this remembering the message that you wanted to convey to them. Good usage of personal anecdotes and stories. You are a great storyteller and you did a good job painting a vivid picture of your journey to keep the audience engaged and immerse in your story.

What you can improve

I noticed you looked away from the camera several times. I think as time goes on, you will get better at this as you deliver more virtual speeches. Timing was another area where you improve upon. You did go over the time limit significantly. Training yourself to deliver your speech concisely while still getting your point across will be key to elevate you to the next level as a public speaker.

That's all - Another solid performance as always Ankur. I'm glad to see that you didn't lose your sharpness while taking a break during the pandemic.

Phat Nguyen

Full Stack Web Developer 2018-Present

AIG - Fort Worth, TX



Additional inputs

I still love your vocal variety- the power and inflection you use are beautiful to listen to, as always

Emily Murray, DTM

Toastmasters International

Where Leaders Are Made

Your vocal variety and speaking pace were engaging. Coupled with strong story telling, your speech kept me engaged and wanting to hear more.Your have a great smile and a warm, engaging demeanor. This is a strength that instantly connects the audience to you. Your speech was well written.

Shannon Hills, Highway to Excellence ( HTE) Toastmasters

I am so happy you're a part of HTE. You are a wonderful storyteller and are on your way to be an incredible speaker, work on it and you'll get there in time.

Chuck Mencke, DTM

Toastmasters International, District 25

The cover page portrait is created by Hirak Medhi , a young artist from Assam

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