Good Luck Always Brings Merit Quote By Somerset Maugham Explained

Today let’s find out the meaning of good luck always brings merit, a line taken from Somerset Maugham’s many scribbling found in his “A Writer’s Notebooks.”

“Good luck always brings merit, but merit very seldom brings good luck.” – William Somerset Maugham

Good luck is good fortune or a happy outcome, especially by chance.

Merit is something deserving or worthy of positive recognition or reward.

Demonstrated ability or achievement. An aspect of character or behavior deserving approval or disapproval.

Good luck always brings merit

Good Luck Always Brings Merit

Do you agree with this aphorism?

The first part of the line is very obvious.

When we say we are in good luck, it simply implies something positive or rewarding is upon us, right?

Just as the idiomatic expression “star are aligned“, meaning when you get lucky or several things happen which leads to something good happening.

When good things happen to us, we always rejoice by saying how lucky or fortunate we are.

We all know that even everything is in place, yet there are still possibilities things might not turn out to be as expected.

As the the popular adage goes: “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong“.

When you’ve achieved or rewarded with a positive result, we thank our so-called lucky stars for giving a helping hand.

Good luck is associated with any propitious moment or auspicious state.

But what about the other way round?

Does merit always bring you good luck?

For instance, does your intelligence, talent, kindness, virtue always bring good luck to you?

No doubt, at times, your merit does bring you good luck or fortune.

Your worthiness does rewards you with lots of goodies: money, fame, recognition or respect.

But the unfortunate thing is, with just merit alone, it does not bring good luck all the time.

I agree with what Somerset Maugham wrote: “merit very seldom brings good luck.”

The truth is in our society, nonetheless we are judged by our merit, but then you better be lucky too.

People have been discussing about the role of luck plays in one’s success.

Merit, Luck & Randomness

So what do you think? Is luck important in one’s success?

According to studies, many successful people are not willing to admit, even to themselves, that luck has got to do it.

It is true that success is due mainly to personal qualities such as talent, tenacity, optimism, intelligence, skills, efforts or risk taking.

But if we analyze it closer, we would agree that indirectly, a certain degree of luck quietly or unknowingly to us, have assisted us in achieving our successes.

Many a times, people use the term “timing” or to be more precise, “in the right place at the right time”.

I’m sure you have heard it or used the popular phrase yourself, “lucky break” or the frequently-used remark: “I’d rather be lucky than good.”

“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.” – Coleman Cox

(Listen To This By Coleman Cox, San Francisco: Colxeman Cox Publishing Co., 1922, These Little Truths May Remind You Of Some Of Your Friends Likewise, Remind Them Of You, P. VII)

(The quote is also found here.)

As I have mentioned above the axiom Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.

Note: The original source of this so-called Murphy’s Law is still debatable and not conclusively verified.

It’s easy for us to forget how much our success is owed to good luck.

In fact, luck and opportunity do play a far greater role than we ever realized.

To set out your path to success, merely depending on luck alone is a sheer folly.

Quotations On Merit

Talking about merit, check out my selection of quotes on merit with full citations:


“On their own merits modest men are dumb.” – George Colman

(The Heir At Law: A comedy In Five By George Colman, The Younger, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees And Orms, 1808, Epilogue, P. 88)


“Nature makes merit, but fortune sets it to work.” Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

“La nature fait le mérite, et la fortune le met en oeuvre.” (French)

(Reflections: Or, Sentences and Moral Maxims By François Duc De La Rochefoucauld, Edited by John William Willis Bund, James Hain Friswell, Brentano’s, 1871, 153. P. 20)


“The world oftener rewards the appearance of merit than merit itself.” – François De La Rochefoucauld

“Le monde récompense plus souvent les apparences du mérite que le mérite même.” (French)

(Reflections: Or, Sentences and Moral Maxims By François Duc De La Rochefoucauld, Edited by John William Willis Bund, James Hain Friswell, Brentano’s, 1871, 166, P. 21)


“What indeed is life, unless so far as it is enjoyed? It does not merit the name.” – William Godwin

(Thoughts On Man, His Nature, Productions, And Discoveries: Interspersed With Some Particulars Respecting The Author, By William Godwin, London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831, Ch. XIX, On Self-Conplacency, P. 355)


“The more merit, the less affection…” – Balthasar Gracian

(The Art Of Worldly Wisdom By Balthsar Gracian, Translated From The Spanish By Joseph Jacobs, London: Macmillan And Co., 1904, CXXIII Avoid Affection (Hombre Desafectado), P. 71)


“Being well-known is the bane of merit and the punishment of talent.” – Sébastien-Roch-Nicolas Chamfort

“La célébrité est le châtiment du mérite et la punition du talent.” (French)

(Chamfort Maxims: Anecdotes, Personalities, Letters, Historical Writings, Etc, By Sébastien-Roch-Nicolas Chamfort, Selected And Translated By C.G. Pearson, Walton Press, 1973, P. 55)

(The quote in French is found in: Pensées -Maximes – Anecdotes – Dialogues By Sébastien-Roch-Nicolas Chamfort, Paris: Levy, 1860, Sur La Noblesse, XI, P. 98)


“The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

(Hegel’s Philosophy Of Right By G W F Hegel, Translated By S W Dyde, London: G Bell, 1896, Third Part: Ethical Life, iii. The State, Addition, P. 244)

(The quote is also found in: The philosophy Of Right By Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Translated By Thomas Malcolm Knox, John Sibree, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1955, Addition, P. 143)


“What is merit? The opinion one man entertains of another!” – Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston

(Shooting Niagra: And After? By Thomas Carlyle, London: Chapman And Hall, 1867, VIII, By P. 43)

(The quote is also found here.)


“…there’s a proud modesty in merit…” – John Dryden

(The Works Of John Dryden, Volume XVI: Plays: King Arthur, Cleomenes, Love Triumphant, And The Secular Masque And Other Contributions To The Pilgrim, Edited By Vinton A. Dearing, University Of California Press, 1996, Cleomes, Sc. II, Song P. 105)

(The quote is also found here.)


“The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.” – Thomas Carlyle

(The Selected Works Of Thomas Carlyle, Edited By F. Randolf Ludovico, Lulu.com, 2014, Ch. IV. The Hero As Priest Luther; Reformation: Knox; Puritanism, May 15, 1840, P. 178)


“Emulation looks out for merits that she may exalt herself by a victory; envy spies out blemishes that she may lower another by a defeat.” – Charles Caleb Colton

(Lacon: Or, Many Things In Few Words: Addressed To Those Who Think By Charles Caleb Colton, London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1837, Second Volume, Reflections, CXCI, P. 134)

(The quote is also found here.)


“Contemporaries appreciate the man rather than the merit, but posterity will regard the merit rather than the man.” – Charles Caleb Colton

(Lacon: Or, Many Things In Few Words: Addressed To Those Who Think By Charles Caleb Colton, London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1822, First Volume, Reflections, LII, P. 26)

(The quote is also found here.)