Lemmyc's Book Review - Good Luck - Create the Conditions for Success in Life and Business

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Create the conditions for Success in life and business

TITLE: Good Luck - Create the Conditions for Success in Life and Business

AUTHORS: Alex Rovira and Fernando Trias de Bes

PUBLISHERS: Jossy-Bass an imprint of Wiley

NUMBER OF PAGES: 143

By Ben Ugoji

The book is quite different from any book on success that I’ve read. The reason is simple.

It forgoes the usual thematic steps of characters and mind set you need to have or example of individual that were successful in their fields. Hence, if you come to the book with such expectation of do and don’t, you’ll miss the plot.

The content is well written, inspiring, imaginatively presented and educative.

The book was divided into five parts and each part was a journey of discovery to the ingredients namely – luck and good luck which are key to the whole success mix. I’ll be giving you a narrative of these parts later. But let me quickly give a brief description of the content.

The book was of the view that success is a condition and the creation of the condition for success is akin to setting the good luck “factory” into motion. The authors made it clear that luck is to be likened to opportunity and it abounds everywhere. However, luck will only work for you for a time. Their reason being that luck depends on what other will do for you; and that it revolves around chance. Success is not based on chance.

They suggested that for you to create your own vehicle for success you need to create the conditions yourself and you must work hard to making it a reality. Herein is what they called good luck. From their perspective, “luck is the sum of opportunity and preparation.”

Each part or section of the story explores a particular rule for the creation of good luck.

The story begins with Part 1 – the encounter

It begins with the meeting of Max and Jim two friends that parted their ways at the age of ten and met each other again; fifty four years on. This time they were sixty four years of age and the events of life has taken its toll on both of them. The main thing was that Max was a wealthy and successful business man but Jim had the pressures of life all written in his face and eyes. Max could see it and asked him was has happened. The antidote to alleviate his friend predicament was to share the story of which will reveal to Jim the difference between luck and good luck; and possibility change his destiny.

Part Two – The legend of the Magic Glover

First Rule of Good Luck - Luck doesn’t last long, because it does not depend on you. Good luck is created by each of us, that’s why it lasts for ever.

This is beginning of the story where Max narrates the Merlin the wizard in a very distant kingdom gathered all his knights and gave them an assignment. The assignment was to go and get a Magic Clover. The Magic Clover will only grow in the enchanted forest, beyond the twelve hills, behind the valley of Oblivion.

For all the other knights it was a very tall order. They all gave their reasons for why the mission is not possible and declined in their number. Two knights – Nott the knight who wore a black cape and Sid who wore the white cape. The knights set out for the journey into the Enchanted Forest in their black and white chariots respectively.

The next sections describe their encounters; in their seven day adventure in their bid to unlock secret to where the four-leave Magic Clover is to be found.

The Gnome, Prince of the Earth

The Second Rule of Good Luck -Many are those who want Good Luck, but few are those who are willing to pursue it

This section begins the expedition into the Enchanted Forest by the two knights in search of the Magic Clover. They both set out with great zeal and enthusiasm very ready for the challenge. They both went out inquire from The Gnome, Prince of the Earth who was deemed as custodian of the Enchanted Forest. They went through this route because they thought The Gnome had the key to the best soil condition that will support the growth of the magic clover. Their search revealed the bit of information they need to figure out the best soil condition for the cultivation of the Magic Clover. Both reacted differently to the information they received. Nott the knight with the black cape and black horse didn’t act on the information he received, rather he became more confused. On the other hand Sid the knight with the white cape and white horse figure out how to put the information he received into work.

The Lady of the Lake

Third Rule of Good Luck – If you have no Good Luck now, it might be because you’re under the usual conditions. To have Good Luck, you must create the new condition

Nott came to this lake to give his horse drink of water because his horse was thirsty, having been riding for more than five hours. The lake was very beautiful. It was full of water lilies and red and white flowers. He drank a bit and sat by the lake, while the horse drank eagerly. It at this time he met the Lady of the Lake.

She was in deed the custodian of the vegetation all around the lake. She wanted to share with Nott the way the vegetation and other forms of life within the lake are balanced ecologically. But Nott was not interested in her problems. All he wanted to know was where to find his luck the four leave Clover plant in the forest. He didn’t pay attention but rather become more fearful after remembering the experience he had talking to Gnome

Sid on the other hand woke up late because he slept late as he was preparing the fresh, new soil. He thought of things to do that day, as he shared an apple with his white horse.

He had this line of thought:

“I already have the soil,” he said to himself. “Now I need to know how much water it needs. The chances I chose the correct spot are very low. I know that. But if I have been lucky, and is the right spot … them I must make sure that the soil gets the right amount of water.”

He knew that the option right for him was to go the source of the best water in the Enchanted Forest and this belonged to Lady of the Lake. He had some difficulty in finding his way to the lake but by the time he got there Nott had left the Lake.

Just as Nott had been met with the assault of the voice of the Lady of the Lake, unlike, Nott, Sid listened to her and was empathic to her problems. He helped her to distribute the water so that re-direct the course of the water leaving the lake. The idea here was to distribute the water out of the lake because the water in the lake doesn’t let out water. The Lake needed a stream top feed it with water all year round. This will make it possible for the Lady of the Lake to sleep whenever she wants. Prior to this time she has to be awake during the day for the lilies to sleep and to sing at night so their water will evaporate. This relationship keeps maintains the water balance in the lake so that the lake doesn’t overflow.

Sid decided to help the Lady of the Lake to channel a stream of water into her lake and the Lady of the Lake was keen to reveal to Sid the water and soil condition in which clover grows best.

He went to do his bid promising to work silently so as not to disturb the lilies. He created a stream to water the fresh new soil. Sid went to sleep by the new space he created. He thought about what happened and remembers want his mentor has always told him:

Life gives you back what you give others. Other people’s problems are often part of your solution. If you share, you always get more. And that was exactly what happened: he was willing to forget about the water so as not to wake up the lilies, and it was precisely when he tried to understand the Lady of the Lake’s problem that eh realized they both needed the same thing.

Unlike Nott, Sid slept free form anxiety but rested in the hope he could visualise the Magic Clover germinating and growing upward. That made him happy.

The Sequoia, Queen of the Trees

The Fourth Rule of Good Luck Creating – Finding new conditions for good luck does not mean looking for your own benefits only. Creating conditions, helping others, makes Good Luck more likely to appear.

Nott was the first to see the Sequoia; who is describes as the first born tree in the Enchanted Forest.

The two knights continued in their quest to discover where the Four-leave Magic Clover was to be found in the Enchanted Forest.

Nott by the time he approached the Sequoia was already tired and fed up with his experiences so far in the forest. He allowed this attitude to reflect on the way and manner he talked to Sequoia, the Queen of the Trees. This in turn affected the feedback he received from Sequoia, who was very pleased with Nott’s behaviour. He was impatient to receive the answer to his question – whether clover has ever grown in the forest.

Sequoia took her time. The reason being that she had to go through her memories two thousand years back, going through each year of her life that was stored in each of the two thousand rings that made up inside of her wide trunk. This took time. Minutes went and Nott the knight grew impatient.

Nott became very impatient after more than five minutes of waiting. He thought that Sequoia was refusing to answer. His impatient turned to desolation because the answer he received was not what he had expected. The answer was that Clover has never grown in the Enchanted Forest; and especially a four-leave Magic Clover. Never in these two thousand years. Never!

He became more depressed and miserable because all the information he had received from other two inhabitants of the enchanted forest were as grim as that from Sequoia. He did not realise that he has to do something about it.

Sid woke up that morning more satisfied than the day before. He thought about everything he had achieved: new soil and plenty of water. He reasoned that if it was the spot where the Magic Clover would grow, he needed to know what degree of sunshine and what degree of shade was required.

Since Sid was not a gardener, he figured out where to find the information he desired from the person who knew all about plants. Who was a better position than Sequoia? After all she is the wisest tree in the forest. She will know how much sunlight clover needs.

Sid rode his horse to the centre of the Enchanted Forest. He got off his horse and approached the tree, just as Nott had done by the time he came. However, Sid’s approach in speaking to Sequoia was quite different. He greeted Sequoia in a more respectful manner and was patient ti wait, listen and receive the reply from Sequoia. He asked a straight and simple question. His question was how much sunlight does a clover plant need to grow, if there’s good fresh soil and right amount of water?

Sid understood from the answer from the Queen of the Trees that clover needs sunlight as well as shade. The forest is very dense and therefore there is not enough sunlight to support the growth of Clover plant. Sid needed more clarifications as to whether he could cut down some of the trees to provide the light he needed. Sequoia said he didn’t need permission.

Sid went to work straight away. He rode on his white horse to the place he had applied new soil and had made the water available. It was getting late. He had different opinion as to whether to leave the task of clearing the forest to another day. But he remembered Sequoia’s words ; that people always leave things for tomorrow. He also remembered some advice that had always worked for him. “Act now and don’t postpone things.”

He took action; climbed each of the tree tops in the chosen area. He cleared more than twelve of the giant tree one by one so as to make sure that the area was well illuminated. On the whole the result of the activity was excellent. He performed the task as if it was the only thing that mattered in that moment. Even though he didn’t use the right tool, he managed to use his sword to get rid of the dead branches and leaves. He climbed the tree which was very tall enabled by the little rope he had with him.

He slept very late, but was rest assured in the fact that he has created the conditions that will support the growth of the four-leave Magic Clove. He visualized his Magic Clover. And this made him happy.

Ston, the Mother of all Rocks

The Fifth Rule of Good Luck – If you postpone the creation of new conditions, Good Luck never arrives. Creating new conditions is sometimes hard work, but … do it today!

This is the sixth day of the adventure. It brought different emotional twists and turns to Nott and Sid from the loads of information they already had, which didn’t provide any definite clue as to where the Magic Clover was to be found.

Nott was very sad and bored of his whole experience so far in the forest. The reason was clear, he was lucking for someone to make him lucky – furnish him with the information as to where to find the Magic Clover. There was nothing remarkable for him except the fact that he has come across some unique plants he had never seen before. He has become very doubtful in his mind with one negative thought giving way to another. He became more confused. He felt that luck was not on his side but was very eager to find someone to confirm what this line of thought.

In his depravity, he decided to consult on other occupant of the Enchanted Forest – Ston, the Mother of all Rocks. Nott wanted someone to confirm to him how he felt – a man without luck. He had to climb on top of the Boulder of Boulders, an inhospitable mountain made only of rock. Climbing for Nott was a tough job. From the top he could see some of the most Enchanted Forest. He was desirous to see Sid and may be talk to him, and find out if he wanted to go home.

When he reached the top, he met Ston, The Mother of all Rocks, who was talking to a twelve winged bird. As soon as Nott was visible, the bird flew away and Ston said to him:

· That here come the knight that roams around looking for clove. She reminded Nott that for the past four days that he has been the main topic in the forest. He mockingly asked him if he had found the Magic Clover.

This taunting infuriated Nott the more – his was visibly angry. His self fulfuling prophecy became evident based on the questions he asked.

“Tell me, Ston, isn’t it true that there isn’t and had never been a four –leaf magic Clover in the forest? Or is there one around here, among those stone? I doubt it, right?”

The Mother of all Rocks couldn’t stop laughing.

She reminded Nott that he is starting to loss his mind. If he had to spend more time in the forest he will go crazy as is the case of people who wandered around the forest with no set goal. In a nutshell, he told him that: four – leave Magic Clover cannot grow where there are stones.

As Nott descended the Boulder of all Boulders slowly, he could hear Ston roar with laughter.

His fear of him not being lucky has been finally confirmed. He pictured Sid not succeeding as well as he could not find luck. He sought for a place to sleep as it was getting dark.

Sid in as usual woke up and reflected on the work he has done the previous days. He evaluated them and gave thought on the things that he needed to accomplish. On like Nott he felt good about the things he had done and was confident to face the day’s tasks. Since this was the sixth day it was important for him to decide how to spend the day. He checked through to see if there’s anything that he needed to do so as to make his plans a success.

So he spent the sixth day asking all the creatures he met in the forest if there was anything required for a four-leave Clover to grow, besides soil, water, shade and sunshine. But nobody was able to tell him if something else was needed.

It was already noon, and he could not think of anyone to ask. He needed inspiration, so he decided to visit the highest point in the forest, to see if from there, he could find something else that might be needed.

Even though the Boulder of Boulders was the highest point in the forest; and despite he the fact that he had little time – since the day was half spent prior to Merlin’s deadline, Sid was determined to climb to the highest point to seek for inspiration.

He climbed the mountain and enjoyed a gentle breeze. On reaching the top he sat down and observed, scanning the horizon in search for inspiration. But nothing happened.

He has a voice suddenly – which startled him. It came from under his rear end! It was Ston, the Mother of All Rocks.

“You are squashing me!”

Sid jumped so fast that he almost fell down the slope of the rocks.

He was surprised that a stone could talk.

Well, The Mother of All Rocks was quick to remind him that she was not a stone but Ston, the Mother of all Rocks.

With this clarification, Sid went straight to find out if she knew the some information about clover – the growth conditions. One thing Ston was apt to point out was that she doesn’t know a lot about clover, But she knew at least that the four –leaf Clover cannot grow where there is stone, He had already pointed this out to Nott.

Sid want a bit of confirmation. “You said four –leaf Clover?”

“Yes, four-leave Clover,”

Sid further wanted to know the difference between the three- leave clover and four-leave clover – in terms of their growth requirements.

“What about the clover with three leaves?” he asked.

The Ston, told him that the three-leaved clover can grow on a soil that has stones. But the four-leaf Clover grows weaker on a stony soil and that is why it requires a soil completely free of stones so it won’t prevent the plants from growing.

Sid was pleased with this information. He realised that what is important is to know what other people don’t. He knew that this key element can only be found in small details. He was appreciative of the revelation and realised it could hold key to his progress in creating the good luck he desired.

He descended from the Boulder of Boulders as far as he could. He raced to the chosen spot. He had to quickly remove all the stones one by one. Had he not removed the stones the clover would not have been able to grow because of the stones?

Apart from the positive actions he took, he learned the following lessons:

· Sid realized the importance of thinking of the glass as being almost full, in order to help him concentrate on filling it. This had helped him to look ahead.

· He realized that there is vital information in small details. Also that even whan things seemed to be all done, if one has the right attitude, willing to know if there’s something else that can be done, one can always find a hint that will let him know.

· Pruning the branches earlier on has helped him to realize the need for the stones to be removed in his patch.

He was then happy in the hope that the things he has accomplished will create the opportunity for the four-leaf Clover plant to grow. He could picture it, he could feel it with extraordinary detail. This made him feel good. At least he had something to hope for the nest day – that gave him a bit of certainty.

Nott Finds Sid’s Secret Place

Sixth Rule of Good Luck – Sometimes, even under the seemingly right conditions, Good luck doesn’t arrive. Look for the seemingly unnecessary conditions in the small details.

This is the first time Nott and Sid met in the forest to sort compare notes as per their experiences in the pursuit. It was Nott who stumbled into Sid’s secret place – the Good luck he was creating – fresh soil, just watered, free of overhead branches and no stones.

On the whole, Nott was not impressed in the fact that Sid had gone the extra mile to create a space for the Clover leave to sprout. Nott left Sid to look for where to spend the night. As Nott disappeared into the forest, Sid followed him with his eyes. He was shocked to hear Nott’s words. He found solace as he reminiscent the words of Merlin – “we might find the Magic Clover but he did not say that nothing had to be done to find it.”

The Witch and the Owl Visit Nott

Seventh Rule of Good Luck – To those who only believe in chance, creating conditions seems absurd. Those who create conditions are not worried about chance.

Nott all this while had done nothing but has been in a confused state itching for information as to where to find the four-leave Magic Clover. He accepted the lie of the witch to go and kill Merlin so as to have the key to where the Magic Clove will be found.

The Witch and the Owl visit Sid

Eight Rule of Good Luck – Nobody can sell Good Luck. Good Luck cannot be sold. Do not trust those who sell luck.

Sid refused to buy into the lie of the Witch and the Owl but rather choose to focus on the conditions he had created for good luck

The Wind, Lord of Destiny and Luck

Ninth Rule of Good Luck – After creating all the conditions, don’t quit. For Good luck to arrive, have faith.

This was the all-important day – the seventh day when the Four- leaf Clover was to be revealed.

Sid woke up very restless. He sat close to the spot he had prepared and waited. Hours went by, but nothing happened. He had nothing else to do but to wait. He had imagined that he had done the things he needed to do – to create a the condition where the four-leave Magic Clover of unlimited luck would grow.

But all of a sudden, something he couldn’t even imagine took place

The Wind, Lord of Destiny and Luck, who apparently controls fate, began to stir the leaves of the trees. And soon after that, small seeds that looked like tiny grains of green gold started to fall. Thyet were four-leaf Clover seeds, each seed being … a good luck Clover in the making!

It rained down in great number – uncountable to say the least.

I t fell on all parts of the Enchanted Forest, on all the strange creatures in the forest great and small, on all the inhabitants in the Kingdom – even those that had not accepted Merlin’s invitation and on the Gnome, the Sequoia, the Lady of the Lake, old Ston … They fell on Nott and Morgana. Four-leaf clover seeds poured down everywhere!

This phenomenon was not new to the inhabitants of the enchanted forest. They knew that once a year during that season, this strange green gold rain, so useless and annoying, poured on them. The aspect that bothered them was the sticky mess it left in its trail.

This experience of the four-leaf Clover seed rain lasted for five minutes. The tiny gold seeds dissolved like snowflakes as they hit the ground. The just died out as seeds sown in the dessert.

Not all the seeds were going to sprout. Some of them became sterile because the condition of the soil in which they fell was not conducive for them to germinate. Sid had created the condition necessary for the four-leaf Clover plant to sprout in his patch of soil. He was really pleased for the Good Luck he had created; he knelt as a sign of gratitude and tears poured from his eyes.

When the wind was dying down, he wished to say farewell and offer thanks for bringing the seeds. So he said:

“Oh Wind, Lord of Destiny and Luck, where are you? I want to thank you!”

The seed answered:

“You don’t need to thank me. Every yea, on this same day, I distribute four-leaf Clover seeds throughout the Enchanted Forest and over the corners of the inhabited Kingdom. I am the Lord of Destiny and Luck. Contrary to what many believe, I don’t give out luck; I just make sure it is distributed equally. The Magic Clover germinated because you created the right conditions. Anybody who had done the same would have created Good Luck too. I just did what I always do. The Good Luck that I carry with me is always there. The problem is that almost everybody thinks that they don’t need to do anything.”

The Lord of Destiny and Luck continued:

“In fact the spot you choose made no difference. The important thing was to prepare it the way you did. Luck is the sum of opportunity and preparation. But the opportunity … is always there.”

And this is what happened indeed.

Sid did something and that was why the four-leave clover grew in his patch. This was possible because he created the conditions for the seeds to survive and grow.

And the wind left, as Sod departed the Enchanted forest.

Meeting Merlin Again

Tenth Rule of Good Luck – Creating Good Luck consists in preparing conditions for opportunity. But opportunity has nothing to do with luck or chance it is always there.

The adventure to uncover the four-leaf Magic Clover did change the character of the two knights – Nott and Sid.

Nott believed the lie of The Witch and the Owl and came back to kill Merlin so as to have access to the mystery surrounding the four –leaf Magic Clover. He ended up losing his estate and became very miserable.

Sid came back joyful and elated with enthusiasm to see his Master Merlin and to share with him the mastery he had acquired during the adventure – creating the condition to grow the four –leaf Magic Clover. He received the blessing of Merlin and went on to share the good luck story with others.

Part Three - Finding Good Luck Again

The Good Luck story … never comes to you by chance

Max and Jim share the moral behind the story as old friends and concluded that their meeting was not just luck but good luck. Jim had wanted to see his childhood friend but meeting him inn this extraordinary circumstance – Max sharing the story with him following the difficult time was for him magical.

Part Four – Some People who agree with us

In this section the book had a list of quotes from writers that bore testimony to the ideas they propagated in the book. The first in the list was this from Woody Allen:

“Ninety percent of success is based simply on insisting.”

In conclusion, the main idea of the story is that Good Luck doesn’t happen by chance; chance could lead to lucky circumstances but is not good luck. Good Luck is a condition that has been created for common good. You have to create your own good luck through the luck – “opportunity” that is all around us.

The moral of the story is: Creating good luck consists only in … creating the conditions.

However, there the new origin of Good Luck according to the book; and that is:

Since creating Good Luck involves creating conditions … Good Luck depends only on you. Starting tomorrow, you can also create Good Luck.

This quote at the back of the book for me is apt to describe the spirit behind the whole idea:

“And when do plan to make your dream come true?” the Master asked the disciple. “Whenever I have the opportunity,” he replied. But the master answered: “Opportunity never arrives, opportunity is already here.”

- Anthony de Mello

A t age of sixty – four years of age Jim on hearing the good luck story from his friend Max believed he could create good luck.

What about you?

I’ll leave you with this souls searching question at the end of page 124 of the book:

How much longer are you going to wait?

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