Whether you’re an entrepreneur, sports person, financial professional or scientist, the hidden dimension of luck is a key element to being great in your field. In some instances, luck completely blindsides you. In others, it can become influenced by your fruitful and consistent efforts in practice. Regardless of the fact that we can quite clearly break luck up into categories, you must learn to capture luck whenever it appears, IF you want to succeed in achieving your goals.
Naval Ravikant breaks down the element of luck in his podcast episode ‘Make Luck Your Destiny‘, categorising it into the four kinds of the original work of neurologist and buddhist, Dr. James H. Austin.
See below as we explain the four kinds of luck, and how you can capture it on the path to achieving your goals:
1. Blind Luck
This is the simplest and most effortless type of luck. It’s not something you can count on, it’s something that happens out of complete chance and with minimal effort. You could be ‘struck by lightning’ with an opportunity, so to speak, changing the nature of your business, your life or your career… for the better!
Although completely out of your control, it has the opportunity to greatly impact your life. Examples of this can also include in what country you’re born, which can significantly help the success of your business, for example, or if you were to win the lottery.
2. Luck That Comes to You Through Persistence
The second kind of luck that both Naval and Austin outline is the luck that comes to you through persistence. The Roman playwright Terence famously scribed the latin proverb “Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat”, translating to “Fortune favours the bold”.
Further, ‘Motion’ is another term frequently used when defining this type of luck, Naval best describing it in a blog post of his; “when you’re running around creating lots of opportunities, you’re generating a lot of energy, you’re doing a lot of things, lots of things will get stirred up in the dust. It’s almost like mixing a petri dish and seeing what combines. Or mixing a bunch of reagents and seeing what combines. You’re generating enough force and hustle and energy that luck will find you”.
Taking action, generating that motion through activities such as extra networking if you’re on the lookout for your next job, making call out programs to promote your business or training those extra few days a week to make it into the next cut of your sporting hierarchy can make all of the difference between being good, and being great.
As Charles Kettering famously said, “I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down”. The more you’re in motion, the more chance you have of being lucky.
3. Spotted Luck
When pursuing your goals, it’s always better to be thoroughly prepared; so for the time when the opportunities arise to fulfil them, you’re ready to grab them with both hands.
Austin defines spotted luck, or ‘Luck In Preparation’ as the luck that favours “those who have a sufficient background of sound knowledge plus special abilities in observing, remembering, recalling, and quickly forming significant new associations”.
Whether it be you practicing for an interview or funding pitch for your business, Tom Brady rehearsing a strategic football play in his mind or a stockbroker studying deeper into their field to help predict the next market downturn, chance always favours the prepared mind. Your years of preparation and expertise will help you, and they should not be underestimated!
Take the stockbroker as an example. Studying key economic and financial data leading up to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2007/2009, such as consumer behaviour, technical stock charting and company financial results, would flag key indicators for the broker should a similar environment begin to form. By having the ability to identify this, the broker may be more aware and may have the ability to adjust their exposures, saving the investments from a market downturn.
Naval builds on this concept further in his blog post, stating that “You become very good at spotting luck. If you are very skilled in a field, you will notice when a lucky break happens in that field. When other people who aren’t attuned to it won’t notice. So you become sensitive to luck and that’s through skill and knowledge and work”.
4. Luck That Finds You
Lastly, the fourth kind of luck is where Austin generates the idea that luck arises simply through characteristics unique to you; favouring “those with distinctive, if not eccentric hobbies, personal lifestyles, and motor behaviours”. Like minded people will seek your behaviour, outlook and general approach to problems, change and life. Naval utilises a great example to explain;
“Let’s say that you’re the best person in the world at deep-sea underwater diving. You’re known to take on deep-sea underwater dives that nobody else will even attempt to dare. Then, by sheer luck, somebody finds a sunken treasure ship off the coast. They can’t get it. Well, their luck just became your luck, because they’re going to come to you to get that treasure. You’re going to get paid for it. The person who got lucky by finding the treasure chest, that was blind luck. But them coming to you and asking you to extract it […] You created your own luck. You put yourself in a position to be able to capitalise on that luck.”
In order for this luck to find you, you have to get into a position within your chosen field where people are automatically directed to you because of your uniqueness. Building a skillset, network and reputation of being the best in your industry/field is how luck will then start finding you. Leveraging your specialist industry knowledge, product knowledge or skillset can be the key to increasing your exposure to luck.
Being able to differentiate between the four kinds of luck, as well as what behaviours possibly cause luck, suggests that we can increase the probability of luck finding us. The OGG favourites here are types 2, 3 and 4; be relentless in the pursuit of your goals and continue to be driven in every facet of your daily life!!
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