On the Rationality of Luck Wishing

A friend asks:

What are other things you can wish someone well other than with their luck? “Best of luck” makes sense, but luck seems to refer to some specific external factors rather than just all external or internal factors, and “Hope you try hard enough” or something referring to their own actions sounds condescending and weird. What’s the best way to wish someone success?

In my opinion, if you’re wishing someone well, you’re already doing something that — taken literally — is irrational, as no amount of “wishing” will directly help them accomplish their goals.

Yet, well-wishing is rational, mainly because it’s a polite interaction to show friendship (or signal tribal alliances, if you’d rather) and because the well-wish can boost their confidence and actually indirectly increase their chances of success.

So maybe say “I hope this sentence shows my friendship to you and boosts your confidence in your own abilities!”

…or, for short, say “good luck”.