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"Whether you will succeed or not lies in the use you make of chance." This sentense does not sound very idiomatic. Could you suggest a more natural expression?

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closed as off topic by nohat Apr 10 '12 at 4:17

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This might be a better fit for our sister site Writers. –  RegDwigнt Apr 10 '12 at 9:47

4 Answers 4

Edited: After realizing what OP is asking for I'll suggest:

Success is achieved by making the most of every opportunity

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The idea of dependent success is perhaps lacking or understood in this one, but how about "opportunity knocks but once"?

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"Opportunity knocks but once" is very nice, but the intended meaning is not that success depends on opportunity, but depends on how you use your opportunity. For example, your boss gives a task and wants to promote you if you perform well, but you did not finish it successfully, so you did not make a good use of the opportunity. –  IVY Apr 9 '12 at 23:00
    
@IVY: Wow, that is not how I read your question at all (as demonstrated by my answers) Now that I see what you're asking for I'll revise my answer. –  Jim Apr 10 '12 at 1:07

If rewriting the sentence to something that actually makes sense is acceptable:

"Success is a matter of taking advantage of the chances you're given."

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Yeah, this sounds much better. Could you come up with a proverb with the same meaning? –  IVY Apr 9 '12 at 23:06
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@IVY: That sentence is kinda formulated like a proverb already. If you want something well-known, I'd go with "It's not the cards you're dealt, it's how you play them". –  chaos Apr 9 '12 at 23:09
    
More vivid with this metaphor! Love this expression! –  IVY Apr 9 '12 at 23:31

Not strictly speaking "English", but the standard expression for OP's context is...

Carpe diem (literally, "seize the day"; avail yourself of opportunities as they arise).

Less explicitly, people often say "You only get one [shot at] life" to convey much the same idea of embracing chances, and there's also "It's not the hand you're dealt, its how you play your cards", which reminds you to concentrate on maximising the potential of whatever chance turns up.

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