"Oh man, if I only had my camera!" (slaps own forehead).
How many times have you said this? How many times have you heard someone else say this? Are you serious about your photography? Then you need to be prepared. You need to be ready to take the shot. You need to have a camera with you always.
I always carry my camera with me. I play poker. I have a regular Friday night game that I have been going to for years. Most of the time, on the thirty minute drive home, it's pitch black and I can't see anything that isn't illuminated by the headlights of my truck. Occasionally, the horizon will be just beginning to glow as I wind my way through the tree lined roads on my way home. For five years, that's 250 drives home after this card game, I've had my camera in the bag on the seat next to me in my truck. I never once stopped to use it, until two weeks ago.
Was it luck that enabled me to get this shot? No. It was being prepared.
Louis Pasteur wasn't known for his photography, instead, in 1862 he developed a process for treating liquids to reduce the numbers of harmful bacteria in them, making them safe to drink, Pasteurization as it is known. How is this relevant to photography? It's not, but a little extra knowledge never hurt anybody. What makes Louis Pasteur relevant to this conversation is his semi-famous quote "Chance favors the prepared mind." This is right up there with the unattributable sports quote, "Good teams make their own luck."
I don't believe in luck. I don't believe in fate. Both of these concepts require you to surrender control of your own destiny to some diaphanous idea. You are in control of what happens to you. Know your trade. Know as much as you can about what you are doing. Read, practice, read more, practice more. Learn not only how, but learn why. If you want to work in a particular specialty, learn how that business works. Find out who the important people and companies in the trade are. Learn about the hierarchy and how things are done.
Don't sit around waiting for your big break. Go find it. Put your knowledge to use. Practice. Get feedback, apply new knowledge, and be prepared to take any opportunity that comes your way. Don't assume that another chance is coming, because maybe there isn't.
Make the odds work for you instead of against you. Do you want to get a photograph published in a magazine? You are probably going to have to submit more than once. All other things being equal, the photographers that get the most images published, are the ones that submit the most images. The photographers that win the most awards are the ones that enter the most contests. The photographers whose work is seen by the most people are the photographers that send out the most work to be seen!