The surface area of luck.
And how to have more of it.
Luck is a curious thing.
Some people seem to have it in spades, while some people seem to always be on the wrong side of it.
I’m not talking about random luck, in the vein of buying the winning lottery ticket or being in the wrong place at the wrong time when tragedy strikes.
I’m talking about lucky breaks. The ones that alter the course of life for the better. And that kind of luck is a bit more predictable.
Oftentimes it comes down to surface area.
The greater the surface area, the more likely luck becomes.
Increasing our surface area of luck means expanding our opportunities to interact with luck when it graces us with its presence.
To use a simple example, a hermit that isolates himself from the world is going to have a very small surface area for luck. Whereas someone that’s proactively interacting with the people in her orbit, and engaging the possibilities within it, is going to have a much larger surface area of luck.
Expansive, not narrow.
Open, not closed.
Engaged, not idle.
My first job in tech, which would alter the course of my career and life for the better, came through a mentor in the TechStars program. My wee-little startup didn’t ultimately get selected into the program, but by taking a risk and seeing the opportunity in trying, I met a mentor who got me that first job.
Even in failing, I was expanding my surface area of luck by meeting new people that would set my life on a different path.
And that’s the first critical ingredient in luck.
Luck almost always comes through other people.
But there’s another ingredient that’s just as critical.
A dear friend of mine started a tea company out of his kitchen, buying bulk loose leaf tea, and brewing and packaging it for sale at farmer’s markets. To most, it would have seemed like a pipe dream.
But my friend was prepared to encounter luck. And he did.
A guy came by his booth at the farmer’s market, and not knowing anything about who this person was, the guy asked “Could your company handle supplying tea to a large quick service restaurant chain?”
With all credit due to my friend, his dreams were bigger than his company, and he was prepared for exactly this type of opportunity. He knew his supply chain, and understood what would need to be done to quickly increase his production capacity.
That random person at the farmer’s market set his company on a completely different path, and now his tea is sold in grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels across the country.
My friend had the second ingredient needed.
People and preparedness.
It’s the formula for increasing our surface area of luck.
Meeting new people. Treating people well. And being prepared to make the most of the opportunities that naturally arise from those relationships.
If I didn’t take a leap on TechStars, I wouldn’t have met the person that led to my first job in tech. Had I not been prepared to do well in the role, that career would have ended quickly.
If my friend didn’t take a leap on farmer’s markets, he wouldn’t have met the person that would change the course of his company. Had he not been prepared to execute with that luck, his company could have ended in his kitchen.
Luck lives at the intersection of people and preparedness.
We just have to meet it there.
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✌️ and ❤️,