How to Be a Luckier Person

When discussing a wildly successful person, I’m sure you’ve heard this:

“He was at the right place and the right time. Sure it was a good idea but it was mostly luck.”

Some negative nabob throws a wet blanket on the idea that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. However, there is an element of truth to this statement. Success does have a large component of luck but there is more to the story.

Was Bill Gates in the right place at the right time with the right idea? Yes. Was that luck? Yes.

Were the Beatles in the right place at the right time with the right music? Yes, and that was luck too.

There are countless stories like these. But there is a missing act to this narrative; all the practice, studying, effort, and failure that led up to that lucky moment.

Writers all start with shitty first drafts, then they rewrite and revise and edit, then they submit it to other writers for criticism, then they rewrite and revise again. After all that work, their first works will face repeated rejection (even the greats like Stephen King). The ‘lucky’ ones will work and fail until they ‘just get lucky.”

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

If you step onto a golf course having never swung and club, what are the odds of hitting a hole in one – worse than 50,000,000 to 1. How about if you played 36 holes a day, had professional training, and you had achieved a low handicap? Now your odds are 5,000 to 1. Does it still take luck? Yes it does, but your hard work and training has improved you odds by 1,000,000x!

“The harder I work, the luckier I get” – Samuel Goldwyn

But there is more to it than just hard work, it takes accepting failure as the natural path toward your goal.

Accept this: Without failure – you stagnate – improvement ends. Since perfection is unachievable, improvement is all you can work toward.

If you’re feeling unlucky today, pick your head up, puff your chest out little, and take another shot.

Luck doesn’t find you, you have to seek it out.

Judgmentalism Hurts You

A friend pointed out how judgmentalism holds people back. (I know some of you are already thinking ‘judgmentalism…’is that even a word? I don’t care if it is or it isn’t, you know what I mean. So stop being so judgmental 🙂 )

Judgmentalism is just as destructive as all the other -isms.

She told a story about a coworker of hers who was smart, talented, and savvy, seemingly having everything one needed to climb to the next level. So what was holding him back? His judgmental view of others.

He would talk behind other people’s backs and purposely exclude others. When specific names were mentioned his sarcam would drip and he’d hurl snide remarks meant to insult. Nothing angry, it didn’t jump at you, and if you weren’t paying attention you would get a sick feeling and not be sure why. He was clearly trying to separate himself from ‘losers.’

So why does he do this if it isolates him and makes others feel sick? It works for him. It makes him feel safe. He’s built cliques, secret little clubs with only people who are worthy of his inflated sense of self-importance. These cliques attract people with the promise of being part of something that makes you better than others. These cliques attract judgmental people, bullies, and the insecure by definition. It is a passive aggressive social club.

How does it hold him back? It keeps him from connecting with people who are different from him which stifles growth. It blocks him from making deep social connections. It prevents him from developing alliances that he will need when he wants to accomplish his goals. It makes him look immature.

I began to recall the many times I was involved in this judgmental social behavior, either as the judge, the listener, or the judged, and I realized how destructive it was. Each time it felt like it bruised my soul and I vowed to try to never participate in it again.

Does that mean we need to hold back all judgment? No. We need to choose with whom we spend our time. We need to decide who to hire. Almost all great humor requires am element of judgment or stereotyping.

It means we would be better off if we suspend uttering judgments of others when we are speaking about specific people.

…he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her… – Jesus Christ speaking to the scribes and Pharisees who were asking him to condemn a woman accused of adultery.