A friend of mine was recently promoted to the executive (“C-suite”) ranks of a nationwide food conglomerate and he is now set for life.
When I congratulated him and asked what he attributes his success to, he said it is just pure luck. That response made me laugh b/c he was decidedly unlucky in so many ways.
He had an extremely tough childhood, numerous petty and unfair bosses, and a lot of bad breaks. But – he never let anything keep him down. He was thick-skinned, highly disciplined and always friendly and engaging.
He also never played the victim role, never burned bridges and persevered no matter what happened to him. Despite all that, he still just considers himself “lucky” and that may in fact be one of the biggest factors behind his success.
I have blogged several times about “luck,” both perceived and real, b/c it comes up so often in business-related media.
The general consensus is that “luck” is real and that it can be cultivated.
In this blog, called Make Yourself Lucky, I quote a WSJ article and illuminate ways to make yourself lucky: (1) pay attention/watch for opportunities; (2) get off the standard path/don’t follow the herd; (3) take small risks; and (4) think yourself lucky.
In this short blog, called Hire Lucky People, I discuss Zappos’ policy of only hiring people who consider themselves lucky b/c they make far more effective team members. The blog gives an example of the type of exercise hiring candidates go through so Zappos can see if they actually consider themselves lucky.
More recently, I watched this short (11 minute) TED Talk about luck. The speaker is a Stanford Engineering School Professor, Tina Seelig, who says that luck is rarely a lightning strike or an isolated event, but that it is much more like the wind, blowing constantly.
She says that catching more luck is easy but not obvious.
And she highlights three ways to do so:
- Take small risks and get out of your comfort zone (a repeat of what the WSJ article referenced above says).
- Constantly show appreciation to everyone (Ms. Seelig sends handwritten thank you cards out every night).
- Embrace ALL ideas and know there are no bad ideas. B/c every opportunity starts out as an idea, all ideas must be encouraged and embraced; there is always a morsel of value in every idea. Successful (and “lucky”) organizations encourage the constant flow of ideas.
Luck is real. Go forth and be lucky.
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