Today’s Fast Summary:
Luck refers to your ability to succeed through chance.
To many people, luck feels intangible. However, it can be engineered and steered in your favor.
There are 4 types of luck, and each can be leveraged to succeed in life and business.
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The Four Types of Luck
Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Luck refers to your ability to succeed through chance or fortune.
So is luck chance? Or can you make your own? The answer to both questions is yes.
To many, luck feels intangible. It’s transient and immaterial, like a gust of wind.
The results of luck are clearly visible: How is it that some people can live to age 80 and others can’t? Or, how come entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates are successful while many are not?
It’s easy to boil down these successes—longevity and business viability—to luck alone. However, neither of these ideas depends solely on luck.
As Naval Ravikant says, “A lot of people think making money is about luck. It’s not. It’s about becoming the kind of person that makes money.”
Luck can be engineered and steered in your favor.
Here is a breakdown of the four types of luck, and how you can optimize each to increase your odds.
A Discussion: The Four Types of Luck
Dr. James Austin, neurologist and philosopher, wrote his book, Chase, Chance, & Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty, proposing the notion of four types of luck.
1. Blind Luck
Also referred to as ‘dumb luck,’ blind luck is out of your control. It’s a matter of being at the right place at the right time.
Blind luck dictates your early events and experiences. As a child, you can’t control where you’re born.
You cannot predict nor repeat the outcome of blind luck. It’s out of your hands.
Examples of blind luck include:
Who your parents are
Winning the lottery
The outcome of a dice roll
Finding cash on the sidewalk
Your socioeconomic background growing up
To leverage blind luck, look for opportunities with a high probability of success. Then, take advantage of those opportunities.
Milk them for all they’re worth.
2. Luck From Motion
“When you’re running around creating lots of opportunities…things will get stirred up in the dust”-Naval Ravikant
This luck comes from persistence—it’s the hustle, so to speak.
The more surface area you touch, the luckier you get. In other words, the more opportunities, experiences, connections, and skills you pursue and acquire, the luckier you’ll be.
If you take enough shots at the goal, you’re bound to hit it. This form of luck rewards risk-takers. Keep kicking up dust and take chances.
To leverage luck from motion, try the following:
If you’re looking to make connections, cold email 1 person per day.
Say ‘yes’ to all opportunities that present themselves
If you’re looking to start a business, but don’t know where to start, read every article you can on the business climate in your geography.
These are just a few examples. Don’t be afraid of failure. Luck will come.
4. Luck From Awareness
“Chance favors the prepared mind.” - Louis Pasteur
This form of luck is also referred to as luck from preparation.
Luck from awareness is an opportunity that only you, as a result of your knowledge, skills, and experiences, are able to see. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would be great examples of this.
Luck from awareness is the “aha moment that you get because you were able to put things together,” and quickly recognize the opportunity in front of you.
When we’re on the frontier of knowledge in a given area, we have a natural advantage in seeing new opportunities as they become possible.
Example: You’re a computer programmer at the dawn of the internet.
Others may be presented with this particular kind of luck or opportunity, but they don’t have the knowledge to comprehend its magnitude. You do—seize it.
To enhance your sensitivity to this type of luck, focus on cultivating and improving your skill set. You can:
Cultivate your hedgehog concept
Seek another degree or certification
4. Luck From Uniqueness
Also referred to as luck from directed motion, this type of luck relies on who you are. In other words, your hobbies, traits, or reputation bring you luck.
This type of luck unfolds elliptically and often works indirectly.
For example, Mark Cuban doesn’t receive investment opportunities on a daily basis because of luck. He receives these because he’s Mark Cuban.
Each opportunity, and its success or failure, bolsters your reputation, bringing more (or less) your way.
Here’s another example: You’re the only deep sea diver able to reach a depth of 1,000 ft underwater. What happens when a pot of gold drops off a ship to 1,000 ft and they need someone to recover it?
You must put yourself in a position to receive and benefit from luck from uniqueness. In other words, you made this luck yesterday.
Luck from uniqueness is a little like karma: The more good you give to the world, the more it will give you in return.
To leverage your luck from uniqueness, cultivate a well-rounded collection of interests. Search for insights in patterns and information. Ensure you’re the best—and most unique—option available.
Be the only one so there’s no one else to go to.
Increase Your Odds
Blind luck largely affects your childhood. Luck from awareness and luck from motion develop during your teens and twenties. Both of these serve luck from uniqueness, which you’ll reap the benefits from lifelong.
Blind luck is the only type that happens by chance alone. The rest is up to you.
Luck from awareness and luck from uniqueness take time, so be patient.
Eventually, luck will come.
This week, consider the ways you can boost your own luck. Grab a pen and paper, and reflect on your relationship with the fundamentals of luck-building.
Curiosity (Enhances Type 3 and 4 luck)
a. Do you consider yourself to be curious? Describe your relationship with curiosity.
b. What are you curious about?
c. How can you continue pursuing those curiosities? Consider only practical ways you can engage with the topic.
Perseverance (Enhances Type 2 and 4 luck)
a. What do you do when things get hard? Do you persevere? Think critically—don’t be afraid to judge yourself.
b. Think about a situation, context, or topic in which you persevered. What happened? What was the outcome?
c. How can you persevere more? In what contexts will you need to work harder, longer, or deeper? Think practically.
Uniqueness (Enhances Type 4 luck)
a. Are you unique? Be honest with yourself.
b. What habits, hobbies, or skills do you have that are unique?
c. How can you leverage and cultivate these?
Energy (Enhances Type 2, 3, and 4 luck)
a. Energy is needed to cultivate vision, drive, and skills. Do you consider yourself to be energetic?
How can you boost your energy? Check out the energy audit to help you answer this question.
How can you cultivate energy and momentum?
As Seneca said, “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.”
I’d love to hear from you:
What did you learn about luck?
Do you consider yourself to be particularly lucky?
What type of luck do you feel would most benefit you?
Tweet at me (@_alexbrogan) or respond to this email — I’ll try to respond to everyone.
Have a wonderful Saturday, all.
Until next time,
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