There was lucky Luke, a loathsome lone outlaw, he gained fame for his six shootin game. He was feared in the west and anyone knew best, don’t mess with Luke, let him ride.
For luck was on his side.
With a six shooter pistol before the rooster crows, he would knock of ten. A lucky bullet shot one, two, three in a row, and then,
the crowds would erupt at his display, with luck on his side Luke saved another day.
“Leave luke alone, leave luck on his side. Live long live well, let lucky luke ride.” they would cheer.
How much of success depends on luck? Is there a way to make more luck? What is luck and where can it be found? Do you need luck to answer that last question?
Many failed startups will argue that the one thing they were missing was luck.
Many bronze medalists will argue they weren’t lucky enough to have the right genes.
Many B-students will proclaim the lack of luck of not having good parents therefore good teachers therefore a good education.
We speak of luck helping many successful startups like twitter, paypal, uber and airbnb.
Is this true? Can it really be that Michael Jordan simply had the luck of exceptional genes, specifically aligned with the times and the Bulls to produce the greatest basketball player known to man?
It may be so, but this type of thinking may kill motivation. If success depends on what genes you are born with, and you think you didn’t get those genes, then why try to become successful? If all you need is luck, then what is the point of working towards a goal? If you don’t strike it lucky you might as well give up right now. Wouldn’t it be better to just sit and wait patiently for luck to find you?
I’ve mentioned before that we may be different from animals in that we are capable of abstract thought as well as capable of creating new ideas. We can create tools and objects with our hands. So, can we create luck?
Luck is an abstract idea, therefore is possible to imagine in our minds. It would be hard to prove outside of our thoughts. It may not be very easy to create with our hands, create in a chemistry lab or in a workshop, so maybe we will try a different approach.
Maybe it is possible to find luck. A famous historical figure would argue “I am a strong believer in luck and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Maybe not “create” luck, but instead search for it. The fun is in the search. You won’t know what luck you are searching for until it finds you. The luck game is based on odds. What are your odds of striking it lucky? Of landing in that right spot at the right time to hit the jackpot? If you are sitting on your couch all day, chances are you might not find that perfect moment where everything is aligned. Your chances are low, the odds are against you.
Now what if you deny yourself the pleasure of sitting on a soft sofa with soft soothing tunes coming through a network of speakers? What if instead, you get up, search, find an opportunity and get after it. In which scenario would you increase your odds of striking it lucky, of finding that golden opportunity?
That’s what is meant by the “goldmine is between your ears.” The amount of luck you gain depends on what you set your mind to.
Let me put it this way. You may be able to increase your chances of getting lucky if you expend more energy in seeking your goal. The harder you work and the more time you put in, the greater your odds of striking it lucky.
We don’t know how much luck played a role in every famous success story but they do share one thing in common. One thing that invariable plays an integral part in the equation of success.
Every underdog movie shows this sequence,
“Cue the montage music!”
The hero of the story gets defeated on their path. It leads them to start working harder than ever. Rocky would wake up every morning before sunrise and get out and start running. A montage of training clips flash by to the beat of an inspiring minor chord progression. The film director zooms in on the straining face of Stallone. A macro lens spies a bead of sweat emerging from his anger and rolls down his forehead in a slowmotion bliss. The third Act begins with the hero facing his opponent with confidence, built on endless practice.
The moment of glory, the moment of joy, that second been forged, by work and work, work employed.
Michael Jordan even admits that his luck came from endless practice. He said that early in his career, after every game he played, he would remember several mistakes he made. Then, instead of going out to celebrate, he would head to the gym, practice those moves or free throws over and over and over. The next morning he would come in early and do the same before practice. That was putting his heart and soul into what he loved. That was him ensuring he would find “luck” in the future of becoming the greatest ballplayer of his day. Watch the video below and tell me this. Were each of those points he scored due to luck?
“To air is not human” – go to 13:49
Back to Lucky Luke.
The bandits loathed his luck. They envied his hand. There was only one way they could make a stand. They once heard a rumor that luck sits in the soul. They had to strike there in order to gain full control. In a devious plan to give reprimand. Held him down, they sliced off his hand. In a foul swoop a dried clover, his six shooting days were over.
You see, the misconception lies in the perception of where luck comes from. Are some people just favored by the gods? Are some just born lucky, to strike it at every turn? We tend to jump to conclusions without the background story. We invoke magical thinking to answer questions about where success comes from. We fail to see the progression that lead up to that grand success.
Every success story shares the same thing, the hero started somewhere, had a dream, then started working diligently towards it, practicing endless hours.
There was a time when Usain Bolt was just learning to walk.
That is the hard part though. How do you get yourself to work ten thousand hours toward achieving that ultimate level?
The trick is to focus on the journey, to focus on the habits you have to form to ensure you have no choice but to reach your goal. Let me give you an example.
If you are trying to lose weight, stop trying to set a huge goal. Don’t say “I want to lose fifty pounds.” Instead, ask yourself, how will I lose one pound? Make it a small goal. Chances are, if you can lose one pound, you may be able to lose two. If you can lose two, you can lose three and before you know it, fifty! Ah, but wait a minute, not so easy.
How do you lose just one pound? Start with just an ounce.
Try this. It is better to try and fail, than try at all. So try the first thing that comes to mind, just one thing, thought of it yet? Now, execute. Do that one thing with all your effort. Give up drinking soda for example. Completely give up soda and see what will happen. Weigh yourself Monday, no sodas through Sunday and weigh yourself again. See if you’ve lost an ounce, maybe a pound?
Studies have shown that by drinking just water for one week straight will result in weight loss. I can positively tell you that extra weight will be history, evaporated into thin air.
Keep it going my friend.
Finding the method to loose weight does not depend on being lucky, it simply means you searched until you found it.
Luke secretly knew that the key to success
was not in luck or those who are blessed
forged in steel he made a new hand
trigger and all ready to take a stand
Knocked off 10,000 cans
Practiced like a man possessed
with his new hand by his side
Diligence as a guide
Revenge like a wild fire
Lucky Luke shall ride
Rare moments occur around us all the time. I consider these lucky moments, to witness that perfect mix of luck and chance.
You have to look for these moments. We dream of the last second three pointer to fall through the hoop and save the entire season, but we have to be realistic. Think of it this way, you are lucky to be alive, what are the odds that your exact DNA makeup has ever existed before, almost zero right. You have never existed before. You are the only you. How lucky is that? So every moment you encounter is unique to you. By searching you will find more of these moments.
When I garden and I dig up some earth worms I would call the kids over to come look. There’s that magical moment when they realize they are holding an earthworm in their hand. You can see the joy in their eyes, the curiosity overflowing. I feel lucky to be alive to witness such a perfect moment.
The other day I happen to discover a birds nest with little babies inside, I was able to get some video of it, what a moment.
So in the famous words of a legend gone old, “do you feel lucky punk?”