ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Maximizing Your Return On Luck

Updated on December 9, 2013
Source

Maximizing Your Return On Luck

December 9, 2013

Winston Wayne Wilson

@wwaynewilson

Best-selling author Jim Collins contends that luck plays a critical role in success and that we can in fact increase our “return on luck”. One key assumption Jim makes is that, while many of us are subjected to the same conditions (good or bad), it is those of us who are able to decipher and exploit “lucky moments” who will ultimately achieve success. Here are my thoughts on a few things to consider in maximizing your return on luck:

  1. Leverage your network. Your odds for success are contingent on your network. Hence, the greater and more diversified your network, the greater your odds for achieving success. If you are not on LinkedIn or social media; you don’t attend conferences; you are not part of a professional organization; you are not on a board; and you are not involved in community activities or engaged in any social, cultural or religious events, then you are reducing your chances of running into someone who can give you a lucky break. I was at a conference a few days ago and I overheard a middle-aged gentleman telling another attendee about how he had lost his job and was essentially shut out of the workforce. He described how tough it was at his age to get back into the workforce, even with significant experience. He tried to do a few entrepreneurial things on his own but the opportunities dried up. In the end, it was a chance encounter with a longtime friend that he leveraged and turned into an opportunity to get back into the workplace. He exclaimed how lucky he felt to have a buddy he could leverage to get what he referred to as one of the most stable jobs he has ever had. He could have just exchanged pleasantries with his friend and, out of shame, hide the fact that he was unemployed and desperately seeking a job to help his family. Because he recognized the chance encounter as a “lucky moment” he was able to capitalize on it and achieve success in a lackluster economy. If you want to maximize your return on luck you have to start leveraging the people in your network.
  2. Be open-minded. One of the challenges in maximizing your return on luck is being aware of what a “lucky moment” looks and feels like. We tend to think of a lucky moment as a bells and whistle, confetti raining, lottery winning moment. This is typically not the case. As such, we have to be open-minded about what luck looks like. I have come across a number of successful people who attribute their success to turning a crisis, conflict or disappointing experience into a positive, profitable one. I was at a social-media conference recently and the presenter told a story about a vendor in Louisiana who makes most of her sales selling Jazz related nick-nacks at an annual jazz festival. One year, on the day of the event, it rained the whole day, which adversely impacted the attendance level. Rather than being disappointed, she sent out emails and used social media to let people know that she had raincoats, boots and umbrellas for sale. She sold out her entire inventory. Now, these were not the items she had planned on selling; however, she saw a lucky moment in what other vendors might have seen as a disappointment and was able to make record sales. Other successful people attribute their lucky breaks to serendipity, particularly as it relates to taking on undesirable assignments and then stumbling into a life-changing opportunity. The trajectory of my own career quickly shifted northward because I said “yes” to doing a training that no one else really wanted to do. It was my success in that training that gave me the recognition and confidence to take my career to the next level. I always felt that I would rise to the top solely on the premise of excelling at what I went to college to do. I was wrong. You cannot be too regimented about the activities that are compatible with your career aspirations. Uncorrelated work and community initiatives can give you access to new people who might inspire you or even become advocates for your career. Therefore, be careful about saying “no” to something because you don’t think it will help your career. You might just be passing up the luckiest moment of your life.
  3. Work hard. There is a saying that, “The harder you work the luckier you get.” There is truth to this statement. Malcolm Gladwell alludes to the correlation between hard work and luck in his book, “Outliers” where he describes the “10,000-Hour Rule” for success. The 10,000-Hour Rule essentially echoes the related expression that says, “Overnight success is ten to fifteen years.” Many successful people consistently ascribe much of their success to their long-term, heavy investment of passion, energy and time into their work. They also describe how once their investment peaks, there is a feeling of luck because success becomes more understood and more easily navigated. This makes sense because success breeds success. If you are already successful then more people will want to do business with you. Even a bank will lend you money when you already have money. After a while, with so much success in your life, it will appear as if you are simply lucky. Nevertheless, it is your consistent hard work that is driving the seemingly fortuitous occurrences of success in your life. If you think your odds of success are low right now, then find something that you are passionate about and that you believe you can invest 10,000 hours of energy and time into. That committed journey will increase your odds of winning.
  4. Be aware and connected. Sometimes people say that they are not successful because they did not get the right opportunity. Maybe so. That said, I believe that opportunity knocks on your door far more often than you think. The problem is that you were not aware that opportunity was knocking on your door because you were sleeping, playing your music on full blast, talking on the phone, or just daydreaming. In other words you were not aware and connected to your environment. As a young man, I would doze off quite a bit at church. One day a woman quoted Proverbs 20:13 to me: “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.” In others words, poverty does not mean that you are unlucky. It means that you might be asleep, which renders you unaware and disconnected. In my young mind I started to associate slumber with poverty so I became an early riser and tried to be awake as much as possible so that I did not miss out on the “bread” of success. Being aware and connected requires that you always keep your eyes and ears open. With the lottery, “You have to be in it to win it.” The same is true with success in life. If you are going to be a lucky winner of anything in life (great career, lasting relationship, enjoyable lifestyle, good health or self-actualization), you have to be aware and connected. Awareness helps you to identify the steps that are critical to your success. Being connected allows you to execute those critical things by leveraging the right people. In essence, when you are aware and connected to your environment your luck will increase because you will find yourself at the right place at the right time more often. In those lucky moments the goal is to capitalize on all the opportunities to advance your success agenda.

In summary, remember that you are your network. Whenever you are feeling unlucky, you should start building your network because making the right connections increases your odds for success. Also, be open minded. Don’t be tunneled vision about what luck looks like. Always be aware and connected to your environment and don’t forget that the harder you work the luckier you get. Best of luck!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • wwaynewilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Winston Wayne Wilson 

      4 years ago from Newark, New Jersey

      Thank you annupriya151. Glad you enjoyed the article.

    • annupriya151 profile image

      Annu Priyadarshini 

      4 years ago from India

      Exceptional article..the real meaning of luck defined..

    • wwaynewilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Winston Wayne Wilson 

      4 years ago from Newark, New Jersey

      Audrey, glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for the suggestions as well.

      W

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Very organized material with excellent examples. Voted interesting and useful. Sometimes we don't think luck happens, but you have proven it can happen. HubPages says articles are more successful with at least three photos. It breaks up the text, and will get you more traffic. Just a suggestion to help you. Thanks for sharing your information. Blessings. Audrey

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)