The luck factor, or as it is commonly referred to a lucky streak, means to succeed or prosper as a result of chance or good fortune.
"The Luck Factor" is also the title of a book published 20 years ago based on the research of Professor Richard Wiseman who for more than 10 years, examined the behaviour of 1,000 volunteers who considered themselves lucky or unlucky.
In summary, his findings show that lucky people are people who have consciously or unconsciously mastered the art of generating their own good fortune via four basic principles. Lucky people are:
1. Skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities
2. Make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition
3. Create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations
4. Adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good
The 4 kinds of luck
In his 1978 book Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty neurologist and Zen Buddhist Dr. James H. Austin introduced the concept of the 4 kinds of luck.
His work was based on his studies and experience of the role of luck - or chance as he referred to it - in medical research.
Angel investor and philosopher Naval Ravikant has re-popularised this concept more recently in a series of tweetstorms and blog posts.
They define the luck factor in the following 4 ways:
1. Blind Luck
This is where you get lucky because something completely out of your control happens and it is to your significant benefit. A lottery win would be a good example of this. But it can come in any form, the key feature of this luck is that it is totally random.
2. Luck From Action and Motion
Naval Ravikant refers to this as: “...luck that comes through persistence, hard work, hustle, motion. Which is 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.”
3. Luck From Preparation
Ravikant describes how: “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 Unique To You
This kind of luck is the hardest kind because it takes time and focused persistence. This type of unique luck occurs as you develop your expertise and build your reputation and move to expert status. It is where you build a unique character, a unique brand, a unique mindset, which causes luck to find you.
As we can see from Wiseman's 4 principles and Ravikant's 4 types of luck the human element in the luck factor is critical.
Whilst you can not control random luck, action, preparation and deep specialisation are all key factors in creating and attracting luck. These are all things that you can do.
The balanced view of the luck factor recognises the importance of what you do and how you do it, but also the importance of managing the dynamics of your inner game.
The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.
Be so good they can't ignore you.
In "So Good They Can’t Ignore You" Cal Newport cites the comedian Steve Martin, who once said his advice for aspiring entertainers was to “...be so good they can’t ignore you...”
Newport recommends adopting the craftsman mindset where you are continuously learning and honing your craft through "deliberate practice".
This builds on the 4th kind of luck described above that recognises that while you can’t control luck, you can influence it and you can attract it by committing to being the best at what you do.
The power of expectation
component of the power of any success strategy lies in the expectation
that you will achieve your goal or objective.
Whatever you expect - of yourself, your career, your relationships, your life - sets the limit of what is possible for you.
Henry Ford once said: "If you believe that you can do a thing, or if you believe you cannot, in either case, you are right."
You Are What You Think
Be aware of the internal dialogue, the self-talk, that's happening in your head.
There is a direct causal link between how we think about a situation, the words we use to articulate those thoughts, the energetic state associated with those words, and the outcomes we create.
People who practice the 4 principles of the luck factor and who are successful, in any sphere of life, develop an ability to monitor and reshape their own thoughts:
The importance of managing your energetic state
We live in an energetic world,
and how we feel inside most of the time - our dominant emotional state -
has a major bearing on our experience of life, especially over time. In
other words we live in a participatory universe.
I can recall a situation in my own life about 30 years ago when I unconsciously resisted looking inside myself to make some personal changes.
I used to wait for things to change “out there”. I was continually scouring the landscape looking for evidence of change happening "out there" so that I could feel better, until eventually I came to a realisation:
I had to feel better for things to change.
Why was this so hard? Basically it was difficult because I was seeking evidence on which to base my positive feelings because:
I was grounded in, and fixated on, circumstances.
It took me a long time to realise that feeling better was an internal state, and that my experience of life was ultimately dependent on that.
It took me even longer to realise that I needed to give myself permission to do this, and that in so doing I had to overcome a deep-seated and largely unconscious commitment to the belief that it was somehow “wrong” or ego-centric to do this.
I eventually came to understand that this resistance stemmed from my childhood upbringing and religious background and that I erroneously thought that in changing my expectation I was somehow usurping the “will of God”.
The may sound irrational, and these things often are, but when I became consciously aware of this I was able to make the desired inner changes by reframing the belief.
Next Article: The Wilderness Years
Return from "The Luck Factor" to: Walking The Talk
Or to: Renewing Your Mind
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