I am bumming around alone at Starbucks, sipping my fancy-named coffee; and I am eavesdropping in, ahem, impromptu conversational analyzing, on the conversation of two guys next to me, decked out in their fancy suits. Now, let me be clear. I don’t always listen in but when I do, it’s because they are talking way too fucking loudly.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s just name them Bert and Ernie (and their mutual friend Elmo).
Ernie definitely didn’t sound very pleased with the news. Perhaps it’s his way of saying he’s covetous of Elmo’s success. Perhaps life never gave him room for a proper mise en scène to be Mr. Capable. Or maybe someone peed in his coffee.
I am often struck by the use of “just got lucky” in everyday conversation. It seems to be typically used to explain away someone’s success, as a way to make one feel better for not hitting that same echelon, or simply to justify inaction.
Make no mistake about it: everyone who has ever achieved anything significant in their life has done so through sheer grind. Sure, luck matters. It definitely does. But it ain’t nothing like some mystical gift from the gods of fate that’s bestowed upon you. You have to maximize your luck. You need to create the opportunities and conditions that bring out good luck.
Here’s my little stratagem to maximize luck. And I’m gonna serve it to you hot like chicken soup. Now you can lick it; you can sip it; you can taste it. I’m talking every drip-drop. Or you can waste it, whatever.
1. Keep Your Nose To The Grindstone
Think about this. A bunch of runners spot a huge piece of gold bar at the end of a street and make a race for it. Needless to say, the rock-ribbed lad who’s been dogged in his training will probably grab the prize, leaving the rest to blame it on their rotten luck. How well equipped would you be to clinch the golden opportunity against all when it presents itself?
Malcolm Gladwell, an acclaimed speaker, and author contended in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success” that it takes 10,000 hours of practice before you become an expert at something. That’s 20 hours a week for about 10 goddamned years of relentless hard work. While innate talent helps, what seems to separate the top performers from the rest is the amount of time they are willing to invest in themselves in order to be preeminent — that’s the grind; that’s the preparation. And as the saying goes, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Of course, you can work freakin’ hard every day, from dawn to dark, then choke on gummy bears one day and die. Shit happens. Acknowledge that not all are within your control. Manage your hard work cleverly; focus your efforts on the biggest gains; practice your craft purposefully; this will help you learn, develop and grow so that you can perform at an elevated level and shine when your lucky break comes.
Or you can sleep your day away while opportunity knocks at your door bright and early. Your choice.
2. Grow Some Whiskers, Be As Curious As A Cat
Many of us look for the obvious things in the obvious places — places where everyone else is looking. Curious people are always in fullscreen mode, they see things in a wider perspective. They are able to see beyond the surface of normal life and uncover new possibilities. Their minds are always active and constantly anticipating and recognizing new ideas.
Do the opposite of the obvious and let your curiosity lead you to new experiences. Possibilities and opportunities reveal themselves in ampleness if you are willing to look in every nook and cranny for them.
P.S. Ignorance killed the cat, curiosity was framed.
3. Know Thyself, Know Thy Worth
Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?
You have been with yourself such a long time but do you know yourself enough? Do you know your capability beyond your current set of skills? Do you have a clear sense of your core values and purpose in life?
You don’t get to know yourself simply by growing old. It’s a conscious effort: you do it with intention and motive. You have to scrutinize the way you are living and put it to question. Recognize your strengths and shortcomings. Identify your passions and fears.
Discover clues to your hidden identity; unlock your innate special powers; customize your superhero outfit and be your own hero. Just don’t friggin wear your butt-hugger on the outside.
4. Put Some Ants In Your Pants
The inner flame of motivation provides you a very powerful force to propel you through the tough times. Even if your knowledge is lacking, you can go a long way with drive and determination. Dig deep. Find that appetite, that eagerness you need for the grind. DOITJUSTDOITALREADY!!!
5. You are the captain of your own ship
Fatalists view luck as though some of us have it inserted into our DNA and some of us don’t. This blind acceptance of your fate being down to the raunchy meeting of a sperm and an egg and the consequent creation of a predetermined ‘you’ is the DEADLIEST affirmation you could have.
Don’t be a ball-less Ken Doll. Life is not a succession of events beyond your control. Choose to take your existence at the helm.
6. Harden the fuck up.
Failure is a crucial ingredient for success. You have to drink from this bitter cup at some point. It’s non-negotiable. DO NOT FEAR FAILURE, CUPCAKE.
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
— Michael Jordon
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that do not work.”
— Thomas Edison
The trick is to reframe your perspective on failure, focus on the important learnings, and study the gaps that you have missed previously. Embrace and enjoy each step of failure in this flight of stairs toward success.
Fun Fact: Fearless honey badgers bring down much larger animals by ripping off the prey’s testicles before attacking the rest of the body.
Be like the feisty honey badger, my friend.
7. Keep On Hustling
Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.
— Ray Kroc
COWARDS never start. WEAKLINGS never finish. WINNERS never quit. ‘Nuff said.
8. Someday Isle
Some people spend all their lives on a boring little island called “Someday Isle.”
Someday I’ll start my own company and be successful. Someday I’ll visit the Great Pyramids at Giza. Someday, but not yet. Not yet.
There are seven days a week and someday is definitely not one of them. Just get out there and experience life. Yes, coddiwomple out on an adventure. Skinny dip in your neighbour’s pool. Eat some disgusting fried crickets. Moments of spontaneity are of the essence. Too much rigidity and you will miss out on opportunity and fun.
9. Fist Bump It
Invite friends and co-workers out for lunch, happy hour or any activities.
Make new friends. Sign-up for workshops, join networking groups or pursue a new hobby.
Talk to strangers. A quick question might turn into an inspirational conversation. And before you know it, you’ll be tub-thumping with your newfound bestie.
Quick tip: Bring your pooch to the dog parks. Dog parks = new pals. And if you don’t have one, borrow one.
10. Don’t Be A Prick
Don’t be green of other’s success. Jealousy can be a paralyzing emotional response and be diminishing for you. Just because someone else is good doesn’t mean that you’re bad. Acknowledge excellence when you see it and use it as a spur to improve yourself: “What’s he doing or thinking that I am not?”
11. When All Else Fails
Get a lucky charm imbued with propitious mojo like a rabbit’s foot. Or a raccoon penis bone. Because that’s what successful peeps do, right?