Persistence or Luck? A Story of Three Real Bears

By | December 22, 2011

I recently had an experience that seemed to epitomize many things in life, including business.

A couple months ago, the leaves were changing. The showing of fall colors tends to be short-lived here in Colorado, because the cold air and strong winds quickly come and whisk them away.

There is a particular horse pasture less than two miles from my house, that I wanted to photograph in it’s autumnal glory. A stand of tall Cottonwood trees lines the far edge of the pasture, and I wanted to capture an image of the horses in front of those trees.

The first time I stopped by to take pictures, the horses were in the pasture, but I had missed the prime light. It was too late in the evening, and the sun had sunk below the horizon. The trees were no longer illuminated, and they cast dark shadows upon the field.

I knew I needed to arrive earlier, so I tried again. This time I got there just as the magic hour was beginning. The light was great, but the horses were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps they were in the part of the field not visible from the road, or perhaps they were in the stable. I took a few pictures, but they were dull; simply lacking the subject that my artistic vision demanded.

So I continued the quest, driving by the field several more times with no luck. Each time, either the horses were not out, or the lighting was all wrong.

I really wanted to capture the late afternoon sun filtering through the golden leaves of the Cottonwoods, creating a backlight effect, and rendering a warm glow upon the horses in the foreground.

Finally I was faced with the possibility of making a final attempt to get the picture that I was after. It was the evening before I was due to leave for a trip to Israel. I was short on time, yet I knew this would be my last chance this year.

The leaves were at their prime, and sure enough… the day after we left for Israel, our neighborhood experienced its first snow storm of the season… and the colors were gone.

I’m glad that I seized that final opportunity, as it proved to be the one that paid off.

The horses were out, the lighting was perfect, and the leaves were aglow.

I got the shots I had envisioned, including these…




I was already happy with the results, but then something “magical” happened. Three bears arrived to the scene, sauntering along the creek that runs behind the horse pasture.

At first when I took this picture, I didn’t even notice the mama bear and her two cubs in the background…


Suddenly what had already been a good photo shoot turned into something really unique!

I was in the right place at the right time, and I had the opportunity to capture images that no one else was there to capture.





(View more photos and full size here on Google+)

So was it my persistence that paid off? Or was it pure luck that I showed up at the same time as three bears… something the neighbors hadn’t seen in decades?

I propose that it was a combination of both.

Now, before I explain what I mean… it’s important to note that I don’t really believe in “luck” in the traditional sense of the word. I don’t think that everything is just random, or determined by chance.

You might be surprised to know that the words “blessed are those” in the beatitudes (from the Sermon on the Mount given by Jesus in Matthew 5-7) can be alternately translated as “lucky are those.”

In other words, luck could also be defined as an appropriation of divine blessing.

In my years of studying sales and marketing, I’ve read countless stories of highly successful entrepreneurs who considered luck to be one of the keys to their success. Hard work? Yes. Determination? Absolutely. But at some point along the way, they got lucky.

The Roman philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 BC – 65 AD) is credited with the quote: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

In the example of my photo shoot with the horses, I had prepared to take those photos. I then persisted, when the opportunity failed to present itself.

Finally, when the opportunity materialized, I was able to sieze the lucky moment, because I had prepared and positioned myself to do so.

The same principle applies to your business. In The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship, William D. Bygraves wrote:

“In entrepreneurship, it is a question of recognizing a good opportunity when you see one and having the skills to convert that opportunity into a thriving business. To do that, you must be prepared.”

Where the opportunity actually comes from, I’ll leave it up to you to decide. In the case of three bears showing up to my photo shoot, it seems like more than a coincidence.

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments below.

Have a great day!

112 thoughts on “Persistence or Luck? A Story of Three Real Bears

  1. Rodney

    Amazing photo! The horses are scared, very unusual. Seems the animals have a history there. My Inbox is continually flooded with get rich IM stuff, but the reality is it’s not like that as you so well put it. Despite all of the new tech for IM coming out every day, it’s still the same old way; find a hungry niche with problems, find or make solution, offer the solution, tweak, and rinse and repeat. little by little. That’s where the money is; solving problems. I read some where recently that e-mails are by far the biggest traffic on the internet, bigger than google and facebook combined.
    Merry Christmas. If you look at Zeitgeist III you will learn that Christmas has been celebrated for more than 6,000 years in it’s current form. I was read a book, it was translation of the Book of John, in a Theosophical Society bookshop, it was direct translation from Aramiac, the Dead Sea Scrolls; the Lord’s Prayer. It started,”Our father who is in heaven, our mother who is on earth…” This aligns with every ancient religion. Check it out and have a very happy New Year.

  2. Anthony

    Hi Eric,

    Your points are all well taken. As for the old say: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”….yeah I heard that one a long time ago. The companion to that saying I believe would be: “…and the harder I work the luckier I get,” which I think somebody else has mentioned in slightly different words. However, having a program or strategy plays a huge part of preparation. Blind luck or pure persistence is rarely the case I think. That’s much of where your website business coaching comes in and we’re all the better for it. You can have all the persistence in the world and sometimes still not get lucky if you don’t have a good plan. Maybe you just had a good plan that day or just felt something in the air or your gut that you just went with…maybe even a dream vision.

    Those are some great pics you captured there (even Hallmark would be proud) and yes persistence definitely pays off. I’d say the first 3 or 4 are even worthy of framing, as somebody has already mentioned.

    You know you should never underestimate the intelligence of animals either. Sometimes I think they’re smarter than us only in a very different way. LOL This past year my job has taken me to a scenic site where I have been at regularly and which can almost be considered a ‘bird sanctuary’ of sorts since there are about dozen different species which I have seen. Never before have I seen so many humming birds in my life, in a flock even. I’ve even been a pretty close witness to a hawk or falcon who stalks there and twice I ‘ve seen it attempt to attack a group of sparrow only to look like a fool when the sparrows got away after a close call.

    Hey, did you consider that maybe the horses telepathically communicated with the bears and called them over for a “photo opp”. Maybe they even said: “Check this out….there’s a geeky looking white guy by the road taking photo shots of us…you guys can’t miss out on this one…hurry on down!” LOL :~)

  3. Steve

    beautiful pictures. At the right place, at the right time. It will be highly prized to learn a skill of how to be at the right place and at the right time with the right mental make up. Singapore

  4. Wendy

    Eric, thanks for sharing. Bears are foreignt to me, in Australia, but I’m sure I could get great pics if I tried!
    Have a great Christams from someone who knows how precious kids are.
    Wendy (mother of 6)

  5. Anonymous

    Opportunities keep presenting themselves, but since everybody is on the fast lane. No one see them. You can achieve whatever you want if you are focused, persistent and ready to pay the price. Nothing beatiful comes easy. The entrant of the bears some would say was coincidental, but I would say it was providence. This is the wage of patience. I wish you and the entire family Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  6. Glenn

    Excellent photos, Eric. You are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the country. I’m a bit surprised the horses weren’t scared though. At one point in your story I was thinking the horses weren’t there because they knew the bears were.

  7. Mr.Machmud

    Thanks this is very good for us all, may your words is useful for many people, thanks


  8. James Suggs

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for sharing this well written story and post. The pictures are beautiful. I have always believed that if something is worth keeping, you have to pay for it. In this case you had to pay for these pictures by waiting for the right time to capture the photos you wanted and by waiting you received a great bonus for your persistence and patience.

    Let’s all of us remember the true meaning of Christmas.
    The one way to keep Jesus Christ in our Christmas celebration is to have him present in our daily life and show it.

    I want to wish you, your wife and kids a Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year.

    God Bless
    James Suggs

  9. Jonathan Lake

    Hi Eric
    I guess that makes you Goldilocks then!!!
    Super pictures. I remember visiting Washington state and BC in the fall from the UK back in 1993. To this day the colours stay in my mind and the memories are like it was yesterday.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Love to all the family

    Jonathan Lake – UK

  10. Laurie Mills

    WOW! WOW! Magical Magic Camera Work!!!!
    If you were not into Internet Marketing and Teaching all of us, you would have made a great professional photographer, Fact!
    I remember some photos that you showed some time ago from one of your visits to Israel and I quite enjoyed them as well.

    You talk about “opportunity, persistence, deternination and coincidence”.

    I have just had to apply all of these to get your Blog to show on my screen.

    Run out of fast load up time , being on a stupid Wireless system and down to dial up speed.

    I’m not kidding I had to reload your Blog about 15 or 16 times!

    Remembering your previous photos, I really wanted to see these. Absolutely enjoyed all.
    Thanks Eric and wishing you and your family a joyful season.
    P.S. Hope you have your camera, lol.

  11. Harry Thomson

    Great Photos Eric… well done on your persistance.

    I read all the comments and the one about Gary Player rang a bell with me. Again it was golf related. I’m not a golfer by the way but I seem to remember something another great Golfer by the name of Lee Trevino once said.

    He was playing in the Open here in Scotland quite a number of years ago (might have been Turnberry) and I was watching it on TV. He hit a chip shot from well off the green. It might have been about about twenty or thirty yards or so… and lo and behold, it went right into the hole.

    Now Lee Trevino as I can remember was quite a wag and had a great relationship with the crowds. When one of the nearby spectators hooped and hollared and said that was lucky Lee Trevino laughed and quickly quipped back with:-

    “It’s funny, but the more I practice the luckier I get”.

    The other spectators laughed and applauded like mad for a second time.

    Funny little magical moment in life, but just like your story, one with a message that’s well worth remembering.

  12. mohd ariff

    Hi Eric, people can give reasons of what they think and that doesn’t their thinking is perfect for everyone. Opportunity in life is something unique for everyone as everyone can’t be like you.
    People may have many example in life as individual felt of achievements but its’ sometime not like by everyone, that’s why life is unique.
    We don’t expect people to understand us no matter of what we had done is good, actually we don’t understand life very much as there is allot of things people need to learn, anyway your simple theory for opportunity in life is quite acceptable….Thanks, Mdarf

  13. Roy Aylmer

    Thank you Eric, you are a wonderful story teller and an inspiration to us all.
    The main thing that separates you from the ordinary guys is your vision!
    You knew exactly what you wanted and were persistent until you got it!
    Thanks again for all your inspiration
    Roy Aylmer

    p.s. I have blogged this, with backlink, I trust you will approve

  14. zsigmond veronica

    Eric, fantastic, You are so blessed,Your splendid family, and You with so much gifts,i am absolutely speachless.Have agreat end of the Year.Thanks to share with me the pictures and Your talent.Merry Christmas,and Salom

  15. Nahid

    What an inspiring and engaging story! There’s a lesson to be learned in most everything we do. It takes a great teacher to convey it eloquently and skillfully. Thanks for the narrative and the marvelous pictures.

  16. Deanna

    Thank you for the reminder that it takes work, preparation, persistence, and blessings along the way.

    Hoping that you and your family have a great Holiday season.

    Those are great photos. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    Have a great day.

  17. Riley Brodrick

    Thank you for sharing with us. The story was great and the pictures were AWSOME.The lesson on persistance… You rock man.

  18. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing.I think we create most of our own luck with persisstance as you did.

  19. Skip Piper

    Thank you Eric. Your post is a wonderful Christmas present.

    Skip Piper

  20. Nedra

    Ahhh…the beauty and peacefulness of Colorado. I remember while living in Wheat Ridge, Colorado years ago how much I enjoyed going into the mountains and smaller wilderness places as shown here. We did this, weekly, regardless of the weather. I felt, being in nature, so close to our Creator. What a special place that you are inspired,live and create.

    As far as I remember….persistence brings the luck that we seek.

    Thank you for your gifts of sharing, through these lessons, daily, Eric.

    And, have a wonderful holiday, you and your family.


  21. Cararta

    Looked at the pictures on Facebook, noticed link to here. Glad I came. Had just
    about decided today to end my unsuccessful Internet income quest…But just maybe I’ll carry on.
    At 71 and just learning it is a challenge, but if persistence

    brings luck, maybe I’ll be lucky.

    I loved all your pictures, I like photograpy, haven’t used my camera in 6

    months..guess I’ll bring it out when the snow or spring comes unless I decide to do a “Study in Gray”.

    Thank you for sharing.

  22. Hendrik

    Will, I believe when questioned about luck being a part of the game of golf, he said “the more I practise, the luckier I get”

  23. Hendrik

    Thanks for sharing this, Eric. I live in South Africa and am currently visiting my daughter here in Grand Junctiion where we are having a wondreful vacation. Sadly we return home on 30 Dec. so our visit is almost at its end.
    This brings me to another matter. I am interested in your offer which is only available till 2 Jan. 2012, but as I will only be home by 8 Jan. I cannot download the product on my own PC till I get back. Can I purchase it now and then download it on my own PC once I get back?

  24. Wally


    One of the 30 eBooks you’re selling is infected. It is #17 “Reply Email Automator”.

    Check it out.

    W K


  25. Micah

    Hello Wally,

    Although this may be triggering your antivirus system, it is a “false positive”, as there are no viruses or trojans in the files. This file is classified incorrectly due to the way it communicates with the web.

  26. Jessica

    Even though I don’t hear what you say it seems sometimes it is directed at me. I belong to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Grand Ronde Oregon. One business id Spirit Mtn. Casino/Resort. Even though I’m a white indian. I’ve been told I can feel things. I just wish I could get to making money as a lot of our Elders need monitary help and the tribe really tries hard but they have had to cut back as well. I plan on giving a lot of my money back to the tribe. Keep talking to me Jessica

  27. dr steve smith

    I too believe that there is a blessing rather than luck that happens to those who believe and follow after the Lord with persistance. He will make the divine appointments for us , as he did for you Eric…thanks…loliJ(lotsofloveinJesus)…doc

  28. Eisen

    Hi Eric, Happy 2012, just bought your new product, every exciting. Can you please confirm that everything will work on a Mac? I am going for the Total Power and Control Upgrade package, I am not sure if it’s gonna work on my Mac, please verify, thank you and God bless.

    Warm regards,

    Eisen Yeo

  29. Meg

    This is a myth, they are just co-existing 🙂 From an educated bearkeeper

  30. Marian

    Fantastic pictures Eric, thanks for sharing. I believe you are right about luck – you can make your own by doing things that lead to the results you want. Persistence is also a trait that leads towards more luck. I could quite easily have given up trying to make money online quite a few times but I didn’t and although I am not making big bucks the income is steadily increasing.

  31. Chloe

    hi Eric, great shots and an excellent analogy with persistence in business.
    thanks for sharing these you live in a beautiful area of the world

  32. Mike

    Wow I know exactly what field that is. I havent been to Fort Collins in so many years. I grew up just around the way from that field and I actually cut my finger on that broken down storage barn when I was 11 lol. Me and my brother used to play in that field as kids. Small world. Thanx Eric! Brings back some good memories. I should call my father. 🙂

  33. Jim

    Hey Eric, Was it luck or divine intervention for Goldielocks? BTW, what were the names of the three bears?…..Nude, Naked and unclothed…LOL :o)

  34. Micah

    Hello Eisen,

    Yes, you will be able to use it with your Mac. The product is web based, so you can use it from any machine!

  35. Eisen

    Hi Eric, I recently bought a product from Michael Rasmussen, good product, but not for me, so I requested a refund, which he promised on his sales video, like “no question asked” type of promise, but that wasn’t really the case, they did reply by asking for another chance to prove that their methods work, but I just wanna get out of it. Till today, which have been 3 weeks and no answers from them…

  36. Eisen

    Hi Eric and friends here, the first thing we should do is, find out how the refund process work before paying your precious dollars to this sites that offers such services. Sales talk on video can really get you to act before you think….so be careful… not all products are suitable for everyone !

  37. Harry Bramble

    Amen! and Amen! to the joy of the opportunity and you were in the right place at the right time I call that divine appointment, please sent me how I can get your eBooks of making a website, I bought them and missing some of them, I do not have the first 4 and and missing lesson 41 that I know of. thanks Harry


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