Anyone who says luck plays no part in their good fortune is a fantasist.

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How lucky are we to be living in the Lucky Country?

For many of us it wasn’t a choice because we simply had the good fortune to choose parents who had already made Australia their home. And for those of us who were born somewhere else and ended up here, think about all the people who set out to make the same journey but, for whatever reason, never arrived. Characteristics such as courage and good planning count for nothing if you’re somewhere in a leaky boat with no chance of floating to terra firma.

I was reminded of the role “luck” plays in life when I was listening to the ABC and the person being interviewed was Andrew Leigh, a politician and author who was spruiking his latest book, Battlers and Billionaires. Now, everybody has their own story of luck and bad luck visiting either themselves or someone they know, but the one Andrew used resonated with me because it focussed on an industry in which I have immersed myself – mining.

The undoubted star of this world is Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart who is reputedly worth more than $20 billion. When her father, Lang Hancock, died in 1992 he was worth $150 million and Gina, as we all know, inherited the mine. Now there’s no doubt Gina is an incredibly hard working woman, but there was one factor that worked in her favour. Since 1992 the price of iron ore has risen 10-fold. And no matter how hard working Gina is and no matter how much business acumen she has displayed, we can’t credit the rising price of iron ore to her. But rise it did and Gina’s personal fortune was not just knocked out of the ball park, but sent into the stratosphere.

Now imagine if the price had done the reverse and fallen 10-fold instead of having risen 10-fold? If that had happened, chances are Gina Rinehart would not have evolved into the mining star she became.

The lesson I took away from the story was there may be things in life over which you have no control, but when fate does throw us a break we need to grab the opportunity and make the most of it because we never know when we’ll find ourselves aboard a leaky boat, miles and miles from terra firma.

Paul Bieg

Director - BIG Property Investments

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