Luck has nothing to do with lasting success

Today’s the day for the luck ‘o the Irish. All things green. Tiny leprechauns in cereal boxes. All that good stuff.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As far as I know, I have little to no Irish blood. English. Norwegian. Croatian. And only the tiniest drop of Cherokee. As I am so fond of the color green, I always make sure I’m wearing it on St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s about the extent of my celebration. A green sweater. In college, it was green beer and even green eggs and ham. When I worked in the U.S. Senate, the Senators from New York always sent us a green bagel or two on the 17th (yuk!).

Carol Steinberg, Anthurium on Porch
Image ©Carol Steinberg, Anthurium on Porch.

Even with all of this green around me, I never have the Irish spirit. It just isn’t in me.

Nor do I feel particularly lucky. I might say “I’m so lucky” from time to time, but what I really mean is that I’m grateful for the things in my life. I’ve worked hard for them. The only thing I can feel lucky about is that I was born to two parents who were loving and nurtured my individuality. That, I  had nothing to do with.

Luck has little to do with your art career. You might think you’re lucky to be in the right place at the right time or to meet the right person, but you put yourself in that position. Don’t belittle your accomplishments by saying you’re lucky.

Don’t wait for luck to rain down on you. Instead, practice the following.

Know what you want. Don’t let anyone else tell you what they think is best for you.

Work hard. Many pursue an art career because of their passion for art. But maintaining a career–being self-employed–is incredibly hard work. Make sure you are prepared for this.

Take yourself seriously. No one else will treat you as a professional artist until you do.

Challenge yourself. If it’s easy, it’s probably not worth pursuing.

Be grateful for all you have. You won’t get more until you appreciate your current abundance.

Be persistent. Fall down, get back up, and know that the universe wants you to succeed. I do, too.

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19 thoughts on “Luck has nothing to do with lasting success”

  1. Leigh Seddon-Slingluff

    Great Advice! It’s true, the more you get up from falling, the more chances for success. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

  2. Art is a business of perception. It’s about imagination and accountability. It’s about tenacity and perseverance. And it involves common sense. A very small percentage of artists reach a place where they have the financial resources to live off of the work they create.
    The good news is that the art world in many ways is a level playing field. And the success of the artist will be determined by their work and work ethic.
    Bob Hogge
    Director Monkdogz Urban Art
    New York N.Y.

  3. Happy St Paddy’s day!

    Green bagels ?! oy – that’s too way out there

    may the charm of the leprachauns give you visions to paint and paint to embody your visions with

    green bagels from NY … blue cheese that is emerald green -ok ,but oy, green bagels ?

  4. Happy St. Patrick’s Day too!
    How true what Alyson’s saying. Hard work and determination are the key’s to making anything of this life. Luck is just that, a chance and if there is anything to it, that would only come after the former qualities.

  5. Wise words once again…work is the key word…
    I am finding that the more I take myself seriously the more stuff happens…and it is often good stuff…for instance getting a painting commission from a neighbor who finally realized that I am a real ( whatever that means) artist.

  6. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Leigh: Love that quote! Thanks for sharing it.

    Bob: I couldn’t agree more. Like so many people, there are a number of artists who want everything to be easy. Those are the artists who should just make art and not worry about selling it. I’m sure it’s no one who reads this blog!

    Gam: YEP! Very bright green. Very wrong.

    Eric, Chris, Zach: We just need to keep reminding ourselves.

    Amélie: Wow! Thanks for bringing the Luck o’ the Irish to the blog today!

    Amy: Funny how that happens, huh? You just have to give it the energy.

    Kristin: I think your feet might get all tangled up.

    Audrey: Thanks for visiting. Come back!

  7. Great post. After 11 years of marriage my husband and I are starting to get ahead financially. When appreciating our success as a couple I will often say we are so lucky, then I quickly correct myself and say we have both made great choices and we have both worked our butts off. I agree you should not give luck credit for your success, or blame it for your failures.

    Luck is about making good choices and learning quickly from your bad choices.

  8. I always say I am lucky and others have said the same thing about me, but the truth is I do work hard, thanks for reminding me to remind myself. When I lived in SF they passed out green carnations.

  9. Great advice! And stay away from those green bagels…ugh… Even green beer is discomforting (just give me a Guinness 😉

    To be successful in this day in age requires embracing technology available. Not only does it make you more efficient but helps greatly with networking and getting your work in front of viewers.

    Online galleries are great resources. I’ve been utilizing Masterpiece Online (recently moved to The reason I’ve decided to go this direction was that they only charge me when I sell my work with no upload limit! Big difference to the standard (I’m here to make money not sell your art approach). Plus I get to place my work right next to some renown artists.

    The Masterpiece Online gallery account was included in my Masterpiece Artist software which has been a huge timesaver (I think I paid $90?).

    Hope this helps!

  10. I paid $190 for the artist version just to get my stuff on Masterpiece Online ( It hasn’t been too bad so far. I have sold 3 of my pieces for a total of $850. One of the paintings was of my sister who was born on St. Patty’s day.

  11. Green bagels…never had them. Green beer…a long time ago…

    Thank you Alyson for always reminding us about being grateful.

    The way I look at things is very different when I am able to appreciate and feel Grateful for all I have and for my life.

    Happy Sunday and Happy St. Patty’s Day

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Dora: You have such a good attitude. And you can definitely skip the green bagels. They really look disgusting. Especially the ones we saw: BRIGHT green.

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