Apr 17, 2011 –
Do you believe in luck? Blessed with bright sunny days or are yours filled with dark clouds and storms? Many believe that others “just have all the luck” and “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have none.” I’ll admit into falling into that second thought trap at times. Multiple job losses, health issues, money problems, etc. After reading the article by Stephen Shapiro below, I took a step back and considered other the other side.
I was quite fortunate to find a temporary job – even in difficult times – because I kept my eyes, ears, and options open. I also happened to find my own Homepreneurs opportunity with a permanent photography display in my doctor’s offices. The display came about because I had an existing inventory for craft shows and noted a fit on the blank office walls for my work. Hopefully, the product is impressive enough to bring some needed extra income. If not, I can cross off an item from my personal “bucket list”, a fulfilling event.
Good luck? Not in Shapiro’s opinion. I simply kept my eyes and options open for any opportunity to display my product. I couldn’t possibly calculate the odds, but does the statistic matter? The end result is positive. This article is certainly an eye-opener and just good common sense.
How to Create Luck in Business and in Life
By Stephen Shapiro
I know St. Patrick’s Day has passed, but it got me thinking about the concept of luck.
Have you ever met people who are consistently lucky? It is as if they are always in the right place at the right time. Meanwhile, you feel as though the cards of fate have dealt you a bum hand and you have to work extraordinarily hard to make anything happen.
The truth is, you can create your own luck.
Allow me to illustrate my point mathematically.
Imagine a room full of people. What are the odds of two people in that room having the same birthday, both the month and day?
For those of you who enjoy probability, you know that 367 people are needed to guarantee that two people in a room have the same birthday. There are 366 days in a leap year, so you need one person for each day, plus one.
But it gets more interesting if you ask the question, “How many people do you need in a room to have a 50 percent chance that two people will have the same birthday?” Some people immediately assume it is half of 367, or roughly 184. While that is a logical guess, it is actually incorrect. In fact, you would only need 23 people. Shocking? Try it some time and see what happens. With just 40 people you will have a nearly 90 percent chance that two individuals will have the same birthday.
Now I’d like you to consider how many people you would need in a room to have a 50 percent chance that two people share a particular birthday? For example, I was born on April 25. How many people would I need to have in a room to have a 50 percent chance that there is another person with my exact birthday? Surprisingly, the number now increases to over 600.
My point? If you look at these simple, yet surprising mathematics, you will discover that the likelihood of ANY event happening is quite high. The likelihood of a PARTICULAR event happening is quite low. How does this relate to luck? Well, luck, in many respects, is a game of numbers and probability.
If you are wed to things in your business, working out in a particular way, it requires a large number of things coming together in a specific way—just like looking for a particular birthday. What particular outcomes are you seeking that may be probabilistically limiting? Do you have a particular view of how your business should look? Do you believe that a particular business partner is the key to your success? Are there specific clients that you feel you must land? Are there particular milestones you must hit? Are there technologies you must develop?
The more you are focused on these specific results, mathematically speaking, the less probable the achievement. But if you are willing to think more broadly and be open to other possible outcomes, your luck will seem to magically appear.
Additionally, the lucky keep an open mind and recognize that there are multiple means for achieving goals. They do not cling to a particular result or process, but are instead open to any and many.
How do you increase your luckiness quotient in both your own business and life?
First, create a completely different relationship to your goals. Typically, when we construct goals, we become myopically focused on the attainment of that particular outcome at the exclusion of all else. This significantly limits other opportunities from emerging. Limiting opportunities diminishes luckiness. Instead of focusing on specific short-term revenue targets, build a platform for future growth and expansion. Not everything that matters can be measured. I recall hearing Oprah once say, “The best things happened in my life when I wasn’t focused on my goals.”
Secondly, just like with a specific outcome, if we cling too rigidly to a prescribed plan, we will shut off new and potentially better avenues for achievement. Former President and Five-Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Figure out the general direction you want to go, but then adapt as you gather new information. Most likely, your greatest opportunities and successes will come from unforeseen places and unexpected people. Don’t fall prey to believing that there is one right way to do things. Lucky people create strategies that fit their own style. As it is said, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Finally, take action. Visualizing what you want is not enough. Get out from behind your computer and meet people. Luck is created through connections. And although social media is making it easier than ever to connect, these online networks do not have nearly the impact as meeting face-to-face. And make every conversation count. Determine what you wish to create in your life and share that possibility with everyone you meet. You never know whom you will be speaking with. I have heard countless stories of people having a casual conversation only to find out that the individual was only one degree of separation away from someone truly influential in their space.
Luck is not a birthright. It is a created phenomenon. Look at it from a probability standpoint: When you think more broadly and are open to any and all possibilities, you just might see your own luck improve. Now this is the kind of “new math” you may really wish to consider.
Stephen Shapiro is an Innovation and Creativity Speaker, Author and InnoCentive’s Chief Innovation Evangelist