There is no luck
I don’t believe in luck or bad luck but in conscious choice, replicating success and avoiding mistakes. It is all about ownership. Here is my logic.
Statistics and preparation
I like to see luck – or bad luck – as statistical probabilities of any given event and the degree to which you expose yourself to it.
You cannot change probabilities but you choose to which degree you expose yourself to them. Choice is the keyword here.
- The likelihood that it rains is given but whether you inform yourself every morning or wear rain proof every day just to be safe is your own decision.
- Finding money on the street is a composition of money lying on the street with a given probability but you decide how much time you spend scanning the floor like an eagle all day.
- Getting a promotion is a job opening somewhere but your active search for it or superior performance and asking for referrals is what increases the odds to your favor.
- Revenue figures dropping when the sun is shining is a composition of the probability of sunshine and the degree to which you have a solid back-up campaign in the drawer to counter it.
The list here goes on and on as everything, re-read everything, can be deconstructed into any event’s given probability and your chosen degree of exposure.
Now that we have come to grips with the definitions, lets look at the practical implications.
“I got lucky”
Now there are two underlying options with this statement.
1 You are nimble
You know it wasn’t luck but your doing and you won’t openly admit it. The reasons for that may be manifold and vary from fear of publicity, values that dictate to not brag and so on.
The problem here, however, is that the truth that you’re causing “luck” may be overlooked too easily and you are perceived as less impactful as you actually are. Of course, people notice that things may end up better with you on their team or as their leader but a clear causality or righteous claim is missing. You will simply be noticed less for your successes. The promotion may go another way and you’ll end up saying: “I had bad luck!” And I think that is absolutely unnecessary.
2 You don’t know it
Worse than knowing but being nimble is not knowing at all. This is the safest way around success: You are successful but you don’t get why. You turn to luck. Hence, you neither know how to replicate your success yourself nor do you know how to grow it nor do you know how to teach it. You will be stuck and your career is left to probabilities reoccurring in your favor. Be cautious when you want to attribute something to being lucky and instead immediately start analyzing what you did right to increase the odds in your favor.
“I had bad luck”
When things go south and you blame it on bad luck, that is higher powers, you shy away from ownership. The probability of any given event not going as anticipated is given. It may be a fairly small chance but it is your conscious choice to which degree you prepare yourself for it. So actually “I had bad luck” means you gambled, you lost but neither will you admit it nor take ownership for it.
This, I guarantee you, is a safe way for a career in mediocrity at best. A) Others will realize and no one likes to work with or for someone who takes ownership lightly. B) You fail to ask the tough questions necessary. You limit your sphere of influence artificially and hence your own perception of it.
The correct response would be “I took the risk and I lost. Now, am I fine with it or will I alter my exposure next time?”
As you see, the impact of the cpncept of “luck” really is large so be extra careful when using the words and rather reflect.
Luck to me does not exist. It’s probabilities and conscious choice. And that boils down to ownership.
End of the story.