Do you feel lucky, well do you, punk?
Luck is like the weather, lots of people talk about it but nobody does anything about it. Actually the last part is not entirely true, when it comes to luck some people actually does something about their own luck. If you stay with me I will teach you how.
I can hear a bunch of you shouting out there now: “hey you promised no BS, you said no hokus pokus, I ain’t buying no rabbit´s foot from you, no way”. Don’t worry, no secret chanting, no amulettes, no incense, no BS required. You have my word.
First let’s take a look at how most people view luck. Luck is what is used to explain why some people are more successful than other, it keeps people being Comfort Zone Zombies and it let’s people off the hook from taking a look at themsleves. To most people luck is having random events fall out in their favour, and if the random event is not in their favour they call it bad luck. To many people it feels good to blame bad luck for their own lack of success, it implies that it is out of their control and that they have not been treated fairly. This is the voice of a self proclaimed victim. Don’t go there, don’t play the role of a victim! It will come true so fast your head will spin!
As you no doubt understand by now my definition of luck is not having random events fall out in your favor, it is being prepared to take advantage of opportunities created by random events. I hope you see that there is a HUGE difference between the two definitions. However, true random events are outside your control and we are not seeking to change that.
So, story time to clarify what I mean! Quite a few years ago I was playing a lot of poker which is a game that has a lot of random events occuring all the time but still a skilled player will outplay a less skilled player in the long run. This was before the internet poker boom so I was playing mostly in home games and card clubs and occassionaly in casinos. When I started playing I did what I always do, I tried to get as much information as possible, I read a lot, played a lot and analyzed my playing constantly. At first I was lost, an easy target for the experienced players but after a while something happened. I was no longer an easy target and I was starting to have some success. Especially in tournaments my name started appearing higher and higher in the results. I also started developing a reputation for being lucky. Do you know who called me lucky? The less skilled players of course. I wasn’t winning more 50/50 shots than any else and I didn’t hit my straight and flush draws more often either but what I was doing was only drawing to flushes for example when the risk was low for me and the potential pay-off was big. Another thing I did was stay away from unnecessary 50/50 shots against less skilled players, why level the playing field with random events when I can let my skill do the work. And vice versa I was quite happy to take more 50/50 shots with very skilled players taking their skill out of the equation to some extent. I also had another benefit of being viewed as a lucky players, some players would just give up against me saying “no need to try, I cannot outdraw him”. This meant they started playing worse than they normally did, good for me. The opportunites presented themsleves and I was prepared to take advantage of them.
The great alpine skier Ingmar Stenmark was asked by a television reporter “You have so much luck on the slopes, how come you are so lucky?” Ingmar answered very calmly “It’s funny, the harder I work the luckier I get”. There is a lot profound insights to be found in that short exchange of words. It is very easy to explain great feats by luck or talent because that gives people an excuse not to apply themsleves, if all you need is luck then why work hard and if you need talent to suceed then why bother if you don’t have talent. Cruel, cruel, bad logic. However Ingmar got it right, he did get luckier the harder he worked, the more he trained the better his races were. Ingmar was prepared to take advantage of what happened during his races.
To read more about the power of practice read Bounce by Matthew Sayed.
So now I hope you understand where I am going with this, it is all in your preparation. Luck is the by-product of preparation meeting opportunity! Or as MJ DeMarco puts it “luck is the by-product of process”.
Here are your action steps:
Please share your thoughts below.
Check this very interesting experiement on luck by Derren Brown: http://derrenbrown.co.uk/derren-discusses-secret-luck/
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