Choices and Luck

Success is a combination of luck and good choices.

Hard work and long hours don’t automatically result in success. A lot of people work hard. I’ve gotten off a train in Delhi, and seen taxi drivers sleeping in their cars at 5 am waiting for a fare. After I have knocked on their car window and woken them up, they wiped their face with a damp cloth and started the car. The back seat was still warm from where they were sleeping. People around the world work freaking hard. The Americans and the Chinese think they have a monopoly on long hours, my advice to them would be to travel a little and see the world. Travel will humble anyone.

I’ve seen people born on third base blow everything away including money, friends, and reputation because of poor choices. They had the luck of being born to the right parents but screwed up anyway. Being born lucky with a security blanket makes it way less likely thst someone will blow up their life, but a few bad choices will get the ball rolling. That’s why the mega-wealthy people set up trust funds with rules and conditions. The wealthy have learned to build safety valves that protect their offspring from dumb and ego driven decisions.

But it’s not just about luck. Opportunity favors the prepared mind. We are faced with choices every day. Where do you spend your time? Who do you associate with? When someone takes a chance on you, do you accept or do you demure? Who do you marry? Do you marry?

Saying it’s all about luck is a story we tell ourselves to justify our own situation. It’s hard to admit that the right decisions at the right time were involved as well. The trick is to acknowledge the luck, stay humble and choose wisely when they the big decisions are on deck.

I’m a lucky man

The most important two steps to a successful career is to make sure you choose the right parents and country of birth!

I love working with people who acknowledge timing and luck as part of their story. They are the first people to pull others up and take a chance on someone who doesn’t have the pedigree or connections.

Opportunity favors the prepared mind

Another way to describe opportunity is luck, chance, or the right set of circumstances. In other words luck favors the prepared mind. To be prepared you’ve got to execute and you’ve got to be persistent.

Have you noticed a pattern with lucky people?

1. They are doers. There’s less talk and more action. They probably get it wrong more than right and the arm chair critics always have something to say. But the critics don’t stop them. I’m sure it’s discouraging to hear the sniping or read the comments – but it’s not paralyzing.

This was theme of the recent Nike “They talk. We Play” campaign. I love it.

2. Lucky people are resilient and don’t take no for an answer. They are persistent

Luck doesn’t come to your house and knock on the door or politely ring the doorbell. Luck is out in wild being discovered by so called “lucky people”. Get out there and stay out there where the luck is.