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. Micah

    Hello Eisen,

    Have you contacted him again, since his sale saving offer, or was that the last correspondence? He might still be waiting for a confirmation that you want the refund. If you paid via PayPal, you can always seek a refund there as well.

  2. Micah

    Hello Harry,

    You should be able to login at:
    using the email address you signed up with.

    Please make sure cookies are enabled. If you can’t login, you can try using the password recovery. If that doesn’t work, you could sign up again with a different email address.

    You can get additional information about login and password issues at:

    Here is the direct link to lesson 41:

    LESSON #41: How to Put a Video on Your Website

  3. Dan weyler

    I have always been, it seems a persistent person
    in what ever i did and its to me like I am being driven. I have many examples to tell you
    but there is some more impressive than others. At a young age like 4 and 5 I went to work with my father in the patio business. And we did all types of concrete work. When I turned 20 I went into the contracting business (concrete work)My first check in 1970 was $800.00 in 3 days that’s like $10,000.00 now. But it got in my blood and my first year I easily made $200,00.00. Then I pushed myself more for more business and there were customers that I ask them why did you choose me to do your job, they replied you Kept calling all the time and you were persistent. This was a time before computers were never thought of. They had one in New York it was 10 city blocks square and a 30 story building with 1MB. So we came a long way. I pushed myself more and then I was making 600,000.00 a year profit with a crew of 8 men. However I got sick and it all ended. Needless to say in my mind Persistence to any thing is the key to success. Jesus said in one of his sermons to ask and knock. Some times you have to be persistence and keep on asking and knocking. Example I had a credit collection on my back for years and I read the story of the unjust judge who feared neither man or God. But there was a lady that came to his court every day and ask. please avenge me of mine adversary, and he would not. But the next day in court she came and ask again and this went on for a long time. Finally the judge lost sleep and lost his hair and said if I don’t give into this women she is going to drive me crazy. So in court the next day she was there and the judge said if you don’t bother me again about this I will avenge you of your advisory. And he did. Because of her Importunity she won. I applied this to my credit file and read on. Now getting back to the collection company had me down at all three major bureaus and other places and I was persistence, I kept denying the bill, month after month, and finally this month it came off. Persistence is what I give the credit to.

  4. Wayne Evans

    Hey Erik

    Man, what would I give to get bears come into my garden? I certainly wouldn’t have a squirrel problem!

    The points you make are absolutely bang on…so often we are conditioned to fail and give up simply because of our schooling (and parenting….gulp!)

    Failure should be considered a good thing and be taught openly as part of life. Here in the UK, it is not cool or masculine to fail…you are labelled as a loser!

    I have 3 gorgeous girls! My way of teaching is different to my up bringing, in that academic stuff is encouraged, but life skills more so.

    Keep up the good work…I am a recent convert and am loving it!

    Llwyddiant! (success to you in Welsh)


  5. Ken Somerville

    I love the pictures, and you are totally right that it is not just luck, but your being persistent in wanting the picture that you wanted.

    And yes it is the same in Internet Marketing, it is when we do the work, and place ourselves in the right place with the right knowledge, we will see the results.

    Thank you for the article, and the pictures, it is rare to see what you have seen, and a great thing for you to share.

    Your Friend In Marketing
    Ken Somerville

  6. John Brumby

    I only studied SEO to find a way of getting some progress with being noticed, which had some effect. The various Google changes seemed only in the main to reduce the numbers of entries under a particular set of keywords for a period of time only, then Google would strike again, followed by the same thing happening. It is rather what you might write that may suddenly cause even a site without any SEO done on it to rise to the top, if it is relevant to the suject, and I have noticed sites circulating up and down as each one is given preference for a while. The website I have given is not about money, the one that is I have not quoted here. I have noted in many cases that it is the U Tube ones that get to the top if it is about music. Reaqally it is true that content is king, but certain types such as music, U Tube is king. So I expect with other ones someother system might be king such as Linkin or Ning etc.

  7. adhy

    HI erick, This is my first time come accross your blog and I want to give you some point here:
    1. You right, persistence is important but your phare was not complete. It is persistence in positive attitude that make a result. So let say in online business. Every honest succeed online entrepreneur tell the newbies that there are not a push buttons software available to make you money over night. But what they do, they persist to keep buying and searching this CRAP. I am right?

    2.Second, you bring a short phare from the bible. My questions is are you really believe that Jesust is God? As i think that the preacher always say. If you want, I more than interest to discuss this section deeply with you with a logical mind as you us it in online business side. Contact me.



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