Help luck find us
Chance favours the prepared mind
I am lucky. Lucky in the sense that I had the good fortune to be born into a loving family in a prosperous and safe country. Now, by many standards, I’m wealthy, healthy and happy. So has my life been all plain sailing? Not exactly. As a child, I was not the brightest. I had a head on car crash which almost blinded me. My best friend died of cancer. I have been made redundant twice. I could go on. However, I believe in looking forward and focusing on what I can do, not what I can’t. I also think, much of the luck we have is created by ourselves.
Types of luck
Marc Andreessen suggests there are four kinds of luck (or chance) that matter: 1. Blind luck, 2. Motion, 3. Recognised good fortune and 4. Directed motion.
1. Blind luck
Blind luck occurs completely by accident. It comes with no effort on our part and is out of our control. Our unfair advantages come in various categories, including money, intelligence, location, education and status.
Keep on going and chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down. - Charles Kettering
Motion based luck comes about through persistent hard work. A certain level of action stirs the pot and brings in random ideas, some of which will collide and stick together in fresh combinations. Motion lets luck operate.
3. Recognise good fortune
I will prepare and someday my chance will come. - Abraham Lincoln
The third type of luck comes from preparation, getting good at spotting luck. If you are very skilled in a field then you will notice when a lucky break happens in that field. Others who are not attuned to it will not notice. Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin due to an insight based on a combination of factors and his own unique experience.
4. Directed motion
We make our fortunes and we call them fate. - Benjamin Disraeli
Directed motion luck is the weirdest and hardest, but most rewarding. Here we build a unique character, brand or mindset. Luck finds us. We discover good fortune because of our directed motion.
Let’s say we are the best deep sea diver in the world, known for taking on dives no one else will attempt. Someone discovers a sunken treasure ship which they can’t get at. Their luck has just become your luck. They will come to you to recover the treasure and you share the proceeds. This somewhat extreme example illustrates the point that you have created your own luck.
Increasing our luck surface area
By recognising the four kinds of luck, we can take steps to improve our chances of getting lucky:
Have a bias to action as explored further in 5 Ways to Boost Your Power.
Be curious and willing to try new things. Have a growth mindset. Look at every challenge as an opportunity to learn. Here’s My 5 Step Learning Process.
Use critical thinking and synthesis skills. Develop a unique perspective by being open to ideas, including via reading, reflecting and writing. Synthesise what we observe with what you have thought, experienced or learned before. Here’s a subset of my bookshelf.
Strive to have deep, well-rounded interests. The depth will give us more insights, knowledge and pattern-matching skills. Uniqueness is Our Power.
Luck and the Entrepreneur post by Marc Andreessen
Pick Ourselves post by Phil Martin
Show Me Your Bad Ideas post by Phil Martin
Golfer Tony Jacklin said, The more I practice, the luckier I get.