“Someone’s got to be the luckiest guy in the world .. .And I’m just glad it’s me.” -Mark Cuban
To be the luckiest person on Earth, the first thing you must do is understand what it means to be lucky.
If you’re young, you may want to wish to have the talent of a child prodigy. But, if you study Michael Jackson’s or Mozart’s life, you’ll find out their fathers worked them like dogs and they manifested bizarre, extreme childlike tendencies as adults possibly to compensate for their lack of childhood. And despite making a lot of money, Mozart spent too much and was always in debt because no one taught him personal finance.
Or consider the tragic story of profiled in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers of Chris Langan, a boy born with god-like IQ to poor parents that were absent or alcoholic. Chris lost his scholarship Because his mother filled out a form wrong and he got kicked out of school because His car broke down and the school refused to transfer him. Since then, he’s worked for decades doing odd jobs, including everything from a bouncer to a farmhand, while doing complex physics for fun in his free time. While he’s published papers, he claims no one takes him seriously because he doesn’t have a degree.
Many people assume that being lucky means getting rich quickly and easily.
But there are many miserable rich people. There are rich people who have to work 80 hours a week, neglect their family, and hate their job. There are rich people who have free time but fill that time with everything money can buy yet remain depressed and confused why their money isn’t making them happier. And there are rich people who like their job but get cancer or some other accident at an early age that kills them.
So then, you may revise your idea of being lucky to being someone who has:
- good parents
- is happy
- gets rich quickly and easily
- knows personal finance
- has free time
- spends time with their family
- loves their career
- lives a long life
You’re on the right track, but, yes, I still have some other life situations that may make you revise your idea of luck once again.
Ray Dalio tell the tragic story of his friend, the richest man in Australia, in his book Principles. The man bet all of his money on an upcoming economic trends that didn’t manifest and lost it all.
Is luck really that useful when it causes you to have a inflated sense of how right you are, which ultimately gets corrected as time progresses and you have to face reality? Frankly, luck matters but there’s much more to living the good life sustainably. You must value persistence, perseverance, learning from your and others’ mistakes, and acknowledging that you could be wrong more than luck.
Or consider getting rich quickly. There are plenty of people who come on to podcasts and tell the story about how they made all the money they would ever want before half their life was over. At first, they were delighted about this achievement. But after a few months of vacation, they became bored to death and returned to work on something they’re passionate about or gave them meaning, whether it’s a charitable cause or another career.
I have another set of people to tell you about, and they’re my favorite to research: lottery winners. I study dozens of these people for fun, and the aftermath of winning the lottery is usually unpleasant. Many spend all of their winnings in a short period of time and return to their life before the winnings. The harassment and fights from family, friends, and acquaintances that hits the people up for money cause more stress and issues. Some people were afflicted by addictions or other issues that prevented them from being wholesome, healthy people, so the money they obtained amplify their issues, causing them to buy more drugs and sex, and hurt themselves even more. One factory worker blew tens of millions and ended up working at the same factory for minimum wage that he was working when before he won, and he said he was happier than he ever was returning to that job.
My point is not to overwhelm you or make you cross eyed from confusion. My point is simply that you probably have most of what you want already. I always get shaken to my core when I see a young child or old person who is still working minimum wage having so much fun and emanating so much happiness. They’re reminders that we have what we need to be happy now. Happiness doesn’t take massive piles of paper. It takes quality relationships, something we can all build right now.
Luck may be more complex than any of us first imagined and may even be beyond our understanding. Perhaps, all we really need is to be extremely lucky is to born to decent parents with a working body and brain in a location and era where we can achieve our dreams, and be introduced to the right knowledge to make the rest of our lives a good lives. Once we know that personal finance is important, we have the ability and resources to learn about it. Once we know that money alone won’t make us happy, we can work on what truly will, which may include making a good amount of money doing something meaningful, and fun or forging strong relationships. Once we know that living a long life is important, we can take precautions to make sure we don’t get hit by a car for ruin our house with fast food.
What that means is that most of you reading this are already pretty darn lucky.
When we think of luck, we usually think of good luck. This is luck thanks to random chance that helps you out. This can be anything finding money on the floor to meeting the right people that furthers your career or being born with a passion and talent for programming and managing businesses. Frankly, you must focus on the big splashes of luck. Finding $20 on the ground or being the most desired man in high school doesn’t translate into major success for the vast majority of your life.
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” -Samuel Goldwyn
I want to share with you one exercise to turn your dreams and wishes into the good life by maximizing the chances you’ll get those big splashes of luck.
In the book Flow, the author details the story of a wealthy artist who admitted that a lot of his success was due to luck. He argued that there were over a thousand artists out there who were just as creative as him. What made him succeed was that he bumped into and made friends with someone who later ended up becoming a good art dealer. This friend ended up introducing him to many rich buyers and promoting his art. He built up momentum from one sale to another until the entire industry discovered him.
Look closely at this story. The morale isn’t that it’s all down to luck. He bumped into someone. That’s controllable.
You have a 0.0001% — effectively zero 00 chance of meeting someone who will change your life sitting at home watching TV — unless the mailman or some reality TV show shows up at your door. That chance consists of someone coming to your house like a mailman or cable guy.
However, if you’re out meeting new people, your chances are higher. Even if you’re just meeting 5 new people a week and putting yourself out there, you have around a 5 to 20% chance (based on other factors like how good your social skills are).
The man hustling to make it as an actor in Hollywood has a better chance if he goes to twice the auditions and acting practices as the average man. But that’s assuming he’s doing everything else on an equal level, such as the enthusiasm he puts into each audition, the focus he has, and so on.
Open yourself up to more chances of meeting people by going to places that do this. And/or increase the frequency of which you do things. This only works if you keep constant the quality that you do things in every way.
I have a challenge for you. Pick one thing you could do more of that will open you up to more serendipity and double how often you do it. Don’t just pick anything. Pick what will most move you forward to your result given the chances of it occurring and how often you do it.
Put yourself in more situations that open yourself up to getting lucky and have tremendous upside. The best-selling author Ramit Sethi calls it “opening yourself up to serendipity.” Serendipity is the random occurrence of a pleasant or favorable thing.
Ramit brings up an example for career development. If you sit at home, your chances of furthering your career are 0.00001%. However, if you’re going to two social events a week, you never know what may happen. Someone may become your mentor. Someone may know someone that tips the tables.
But frankly, you can do this for many areas of life. Releasing one piece of content online can change your life. One executive can see one video you made and reach out to you — and it can change your income, your enjoyment of your work, and the amount of free time you have. So, the more quality content you put out, the more chances you throw out to the world.
Maybe it’s not networking events because you’ve done over 50 and they’ve been useless. And you’ve made sure it’s not you by being engaging, social, and value-giving. In that case, try something you haven’t tried. Maybe it’s a less professional event like a kickball club. Maybe it’s your Instagram account which has been taking off but you’ve been neglecting.
Do more of what you like
One common concept I’ve heard from successful people is to intentionally identify the small moments of your life that bring you joy and flow and set up systems to do and experience more of those moments in your daily life. It sounds so obvious but how many of us wander through life complaining about how bad it is and not actively looking to change it? A lot.
First, draw out a few of the key moments you enjoy and dislike. For example…
- the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a solid exercise routine the right way to prevent injury, make muscular gains, and improve flexibility & mobility
- getting a solid piece of art (by art, I mean a video, article, or other content) out the door that I know is complete and valuable to the world
- posting threads on Reddit because I usually get toxic, opinionated, non-facts based feedback
- washing dishes and other monotonous chores, like laundry and cooking
You can improve this situation without being rich. Sure, it’s easy to outsource what you don’t like if you’re rich. But you can also make it more fun by adding music or making it a game. Or you can find other ways of getting the same goal (e.g. getting constructive feedback from my content in more positive communities like Facebook groups).
You can also schedule in more time for what you do like. In this case, it’d be more exercise days in a week (but maybe shorter duration so it’s sustainable) and more content creation and editing days.
To become more lucky, you put yourself in more situations to get lucky. If you’re doing nothing, your chances of improving your life are low. If you’re meeting new people, building a skill, or broadcasting your art, you never know what can happen — stumbling across one person can change your life.
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