I was attending a relatively uneventful Department of Homeland Security meeting several years ago, and the keynote speakers’ topic was success. I can no longer remember the speaker’s name, but I do recall that the gist of his message was that three things were essential for success: (1) get good at something, (2) be smart enough to respond when something you are good at comes along, and (3) hope for good luck. I pursued a Ph.D. with the aspiration of learning how to become a respectable social scientist. I have tried to remain open to new theories, methods, and opportunities throughout my career. And of course I have always hoped for good luck.
LaFree, Gary. 2015. "Criminology, Terrorism, and Serendipity." In Envisioning Criminology: Researchers on Research as a Process of Discovery, eds. Michael D. Maltz and Stephen K. Rice. New York: Springer, 119-126. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15868-6_12#