Getting Lucky

Good luck is on my back
Chinese character, "Fu", for luck. We can carry it with us. From rickz's Flickr stream.

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Samuel Goldwyn

I just got done running the Nashville half marathon this past weekend. Over 35K people were out there pushing themselves through the heat and hills. I can’t say it was the most pleasant experience. It hurt, I was tired and I had to push hard.

However, it was much easier from all the training I was able to put in. It helped me to get lucky. I kept persevering through the miles until I could catch a rhythm and start feeling good. It happened and it felt great. I can’t control how my body will feel, but I gave it a chance by sticking it out.

I have found business and life work pretty much the same. A lot of the success we see doesn’t necessarily reveal the massive amounts of preparation and perseverance that has gone largely unseen by spectators. Don’t do the work and you reduce your luck dramatically.

I believe in luck. I like to put myself in a position to get luckier. And the Goldwyn’s quote is true. I know it from experience and from a lot of successful people that have the same story.

Here are some things I like to do to increase my luck:

  • Execute the vital few things daily. There are a few things that matter more than the rest of the work I do. It is vital. The rest is noise. I have to attend to a lot of noise in my daily work, but I make sure I identify and get the vital things done every day. Reading, writing and studying are part of my cornerstone habits. I don’t like to skip and I don’t like noise getting in the way of these things.
  • Prepare with form factors. I study my environment all the time and try to set it up so I can execute. I know how to do this for races from my early days in high school. If I want to lose weight, I put fruits out and avoid having snacks in my view. If I want to journal, I put out my favorite pen and Moleskine right on my counter for my morning routine. If it’s not convenient, it’s hard to execute.
  • Connecting. I accept the fact that I am not a self-made man. I stand on the shoulders of many people who have helped me become who I am. That will be true for my future goals as well. Looking for ways to connect and make a difference is a daily habit. Trying to serve people in a personal way is fun, fulfilling and what allows for more luck in my life.

I think you can create your own luck. It takes hard work and intentionality. We live in a world of probabilities. I don’t mind paying the price to increse those probabilities.

What about you? What can you do to increase your own luck?

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