Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers.

I have no idea what the quotation means. Is there any special meaning about four-leaf clovers that I may be unaware of?

  • 1
    Four-leaf clover is considered to be a good luck charm.
    – user20934
    Commented Jun 23, 2012 at 14:41
  • It means that people miss real, practical opportunities to improve their lives because they are waiting for good luck to solve their problems for them. We all need good luck but relying on it to the exclusion of practical effort is not going to get anyone anywhere.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 12:50

3 Answers 3


My guess is: success comes more from conscientiousness (seizing opportunities) than from luck (four-leaf clovers). Or: don't rely on luck, take advantage of opportunities.


The only reference I can find right now says that the ratio of three-leaf to four-leaf clovers is ~10,000 to 1. I would interpret that saying as meaning that you're likely to miss real opportunities if you spend (waste) your time looking for a rare item to bring you good luck.


It means valuable opportunities are easily squandered by spending too much time searching for things that are difficult (or impossible) to find.

For example, chasing after a scholarship from NC State with single-minded intensity may cause someone to miss the fact that they've been already been accepted by ECU.

IDK if that helped; I hope it did. :)

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