Practical advice on how to become lucky
Top image via Quora
In the quest for success, many people stumble upon the presence of ‘good fortune’, or in many cases, the lack of it. What is luck? Is it simply something invited by envious people that have failed to find their success? Or is it a readymade component that we can just add to our project to make it successful?
When we look at successful people, we tend to attribute some portion of their success to their craft, and we tell ourselves that the other portion is merely luck (the ratio skill/luck we attribute to a person is many times depended on how much we respect that person). When you use the keywords ‘Steve Jobs Luck’, you’ll find 23 Million (!) results of people discussing what part of his success was luck and what part of his success was skill. Similar results come up for success stories like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
But is their success really due to the random magic of luck, or do they just understand the underlying structure of the creation of luck?
To answer that question, we first have to dissect the definition of ‘luck’, after which I will present a method of how you can put yourself in ‘lucky situations.’
Dissection of Luck
When we take a closer look at ‘luck’, we notice that luck can be described as a situation in which a golden opportunity presents its self to you. An opportunity too good to let go of. An opportunity so good, that you’ll have to be really stupid not to seize it.
The occurrence of this golden opportunity is what we often call luck. It just seems to happen, a coincidental appearance of an opportunity. This is exactly what makes ‘luck’ have its magical enigma. There is no way to predict the occurrence of these moments, nor can you analyse what the key components are that together create such a golden opportunity.
What attributes to the enigma of luck, is that there is no general way to describe all the cases of luck, because it’s highly subjective (seeing a fresh apple on the streets might not be of any interest to you, but for a hungry homeless person, it’s his lucky moment of the day).
Not having an unambiguous definition of luck, does not mean that you are not able to put yourself into lucky situations.
In the previous section, we established that luck is the occurrence of a golden opportunity. The next question is ‘how do I find those golden opportunities?’ And the answer to that question might be simpler than you think.
To create such a golden opportunity, we have to start creating opportunities themselves first.
Opportunities are situations in which two pieces of information come together that previously haven’t met. When the information streams meet each other, an opportunity arises. Thus we can say that opportunities can be found at crossroads of information streams. In the science of innovation, this piece of knowledge is often used to select optimal team compositions, hire the right people and design creativity-enhancing office spaces.
As opportunities arise at information crossroads, it’s important to ensure yourself of a position at those information intersections. Translated to the situation of an individual (can be both personal as well as professional), my advice would thus be ‘to be an active person’.
Make sure you are engaged in a lot of different activities. Be active in numerous different communities and social networks, and don’t forget to regularly change your location.
Because by being engaged in a multitude of activities, communities, and locations, you will connect yourself to a huge amount of different information streams. Once you are connected to all those different information flows, you’ll enhance your chances of finding yourself at unique intersections of those steams, thus opening your life up for opportunities.
Entrepreneurship: the exploitation of opportunities, that others didn’t know that existed yet.
Decisiveness: seize your opportunities
Once you’ve increased your amount of encounters with opportunities, the only thing that will separate you from ‘being lucky’ is your attitude towards those opportunities. Will you seize them? Will you act upon them and make the most of it?
Of course, this is all up to you, but when you want to be lucky, you’ll have to take action yourself. You have to seize the opportunity in order to be lucky.
We see that ‘a lucky person’ needs to find himself in the position where a golden opportunity is presented to him, after which he needs the decisiveness to act upon that opportunity.
When I realised this, I understood why all the examples of successful people that I gave in the first section of this article were entrepreneurs.
In all the scientific articles that I’ve been reading lately, the term ‘entrepreneurship’ is being defined as ‘the exploitation of opportunities, that others didn’t know that existed yet.’
I think the overlap of that definition, with the definition of ‘a lucky person’ that we established in this article, point us to the conclusion that in order to be lucky, we should have an entrepreneurial mindset: be active and be decisive.