My friend Ben Casnocha has a fantastic blog post on luck, which I have quoted in several of my speaking engagements.
A lot of things are important (passion, connections, emotional
intelligence, etc.) but luck doesn’t seem to be talked about much.
I don’t buy into the hype around “hard work.” Hard work is
important, but not the primary ingredient for successfully starting
something (be it a business, project, whatever). In my view, luck is
the single most underrated component of success.
There are many things you can do to maximize your chances of being lucky.
First, expose yourself to as much randomness as possible. Attend
conferences no one else is attending. Read books no one else is
reading. Talk to people no one else is talking to. Think and be
different. This has happened more times than not: I start talking to
someone at a dinner party, without any specific goal in mind, and he
just happens to know someone else who just happens to know something
critical for my business. That’s luck. That’s randomness.
Second, trust in probabilities of luck. I think life works in
valleys and mountains. Every time luck doesn’t go my way I believe a
piece of good luck is right around the corner. Every time I get lucky I
prepare myself for weathering a dip. Knowing this, I can always
mitigate a rough stretch and make the most of the good times.
Third, trick yourself. Self-deception is essential to maintain high
self-esteem. It’s OK to take more credit than you deserve, in your own
mind, for successes. It’s OK to think that you can outwork and
outpassion anyone who competes with you. It’s OK to attribute soaring
victories to a tireless work ethic. It’s OK if these are slight
exaggerations. After all, how many people attribute “good luck” to
their wins? Way less than people who attribute “bad luck” to their
losses! Stay humble, especially on the outside, but consider yourself
(privately) as unstoppable.
It’s very easy to dish out advice. Ask 20 entrepreneurs for their 20
keys to success and you’ll get 20 different, passionate answers. All
So, it’s time to stop listening and take the plunge!