"Diligence is the mother of good luck." - Benjamin Franklin I've always been big on quotes, whether they're mine or someone else's, because very often they distill ideas down to their essence. What Ben Franklin said many years ago could have been said today, because it's relevant and right on. We've all heard about doing our "due diligence," which is another way of being thorough. It's also the first step to bringing yourself some good luck. What Gary Player, the great golfer, said "The harder I work, the luckier I get" (the title of this essay), remains solid nutshell advice that can apply to everyone.

I am currently building a Trump International Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas. This mixed-use concept of hotel and condominiums has been a huge success, starting with the first one I did in New York City in the late 1990's. I knew Las Vegas was a hot market, but the tower was sold out before it was even built. I could have said, "wow, that's great," and left it at that. But in looking at the situation, I decided that the indications were there to move further ahead in a good market by building another 1200-unit tower. This took some time and effort, but it was approved and we are building it. That part really isn't luck. That's due diligence. So when people ask me "How can you do so much?" I have an example to give them of how.

You can apply that to your own life, career and business as well. Look into the future a bit. Take the time to move yourself forward. If the indications are there, put in the extra effort to make something good even better, or bigger, or both. That's thinking big, and I'm no stranger to that concept and you shouldn't be either. I've had enough success to know that it works.

The past few years of my life have been busier than they've ever been. Everything has escalated, and it's been demanding, but exciting. But I've also been preparing for it for a long time. I'm used to working hard, and therefore I'm used to expecting results. Some people call it luck, but like Ben Franklin said, diligence has something to do with it.

For example, if you've been working towards something for five years, I'd say you have a goal in mind. You've probably focused on that goal. Hopefully you've been diligent in pursuing it. If your work pays off, which it most likely will, people might say you're just lucky. Maybe so, because you're lucky enough to have the brains to work hard!

When I'm writing a book, which seems to be most of the time these days, I will spend up to seven or eight months putting together notes, collecting articles, dictating stories and ideas before I even begin to actually put it all together. It's a long process, and it requires patience and perseverance to see it through to the finished product. I will admit that sometimes I wonder if it's worth it, because it's not an easy endeavor. But when the book is done, it's a great feeling. It's an accomplishment that has taken painstaking time. People won't see the work that goes into a book, but anyone who has written one will tell you that diligence is a must. They don't just materialize out of nowhere.

Recently, while working on one of my books, I spent some time thinking about the "entitlement mentality" that seems to have afflicted this country. I think we can take it back a few decades to the emergence of what was called "instant gratification," as personified by the superstars and rock stars who emerged and made tremendous amounts of money, which very much impressed young people. Suddenly, everyone thought they should have what those very few people had, or that they were overnight' stars, and that it should happen that way to them, too. In reality, it happens to very few people and rarely does it happen "overnight" to anybody. Those are the exceptions to the rule, not the norm. But they received so much media attention that people who had to struggle a bit or work for long years at something had the feeling they were being left out or that they were being treated unequally. They began to feel that the world owed them something.

Not everything works out as we might hope it will, and certain fields require a bigger dose of luck to succeed in than others, but a very good way to pave your own way to success is simply to work hard, be diligent, and to look at what you have going for you, versus what you don't have going for you - the old cup half full vs. half empty test. Here's where I bring back my tried-and-true theory that you have to think big - because if you're diminishing your own prospects, then it's not likely you will run into a lot of luck. And part of doing your due diligence is to know what you want for yourself, not what other people want for you-which in many cases turns out to be not much! Take the time to move yourself forward. In other words, think, work-and be lucky. Good luck!