13th Annual Founders’ Day Dinner: Remarks from President Steve Irwin

 In Company News

Welcome to our annual celebration of Avascent’s founding on February 1, 2007.

We are coming to the end of another very busy and successful year. We have made significant progress in evolving and advancing the firm, and everyone in this room should be incredibly proud of the outstanding work we’ve done over the past year.

It has been, without question, highly demanding at times, and I am deeply grateful for your tremendous efforts throughout.

A Matter of Luck

This is our 13th Founders’ Day Celebration, and as such, the “13” has prompted me to think about the role of luck in our lives.

I have been a student of the academic literature that suggests that luck plays a far larger role than many of us may be willing to admit.

Everyone is comfortable with the notion of the occasional lucky break, but we like to think that we are substantially the authors of our own destinies. It is uncomfortable to suggest that random events may have played an outsized role in our fortunes.

And yet, the literature suggests that luck can have a dramatic influence on who ends up on top. By some studies, 50% or more of individual or business success can only be explained by random chance.

Talent, hard work, and inspiration play a vital role, but there is ample evidence to suggest that the most talented are not always the most successful, and that the most successful are not necessarily the most gifted.

Lessons of Luck

All this may be a bit disheartening, but, in fact, I think it offers several useful lessons. At the very least, it suggests a certain humility is in order.

While self-confidence is important and often well-deserved, as anyone who has gone through Monte Carlo calibration training has learned, too much confidence in your own estimations can lead one seriously astray.

At the same time, recognizing the role of luck should encourage a degree of resiliency in the face of adversity. Not all setbacks are of our own doing and we should be compassionate enough to ourselves to recognize that.

Likewise, we should be a bit more empathetic in our encounters with others when we appreciate the role of chance in our lives.

Finally, recognizing the role of luck should engender even greater gratitude for the hands we have been dealt. Gratitude often tops the list of the keys to happiness.

And so, recognizing and appreciating what we have, and, especially, those around us, is profoundly important to our sense of satisfaction.

My Own Gratitude

I am proud of the success we’ve enjoyed over the years. I am also deeply grateful for the good fortune I have enjoyed.

I am especially grateful for my luck 13 years ago to be able to start this company with a group of immensely talented and fundamentally decent people.

And I consider myself profoundly lucky to share this evening with this extraordinary group of intelligent, hard-working, and inspiring people.

What We Do With Luck

Luck may be a crucial factor in putting opportunities in front of us, but what we do with those opportunities is up to us.

We shouldn’t worry too much about bad luck. But a missed opportunity is a true misfortune.

We should work hard to put ourselves in positions where serendipity can happen, then seize opportunities as they arise and invest the energy, creativity, and diligence to capitalize fully on their possibilities. That has been the real key to our success over the years.

And so, as we look ahead to another great year, I want to thank you once again for being part of this organization. I also wish us all the best of luck for the coming year.

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