Have you ever met someone who just seemed to always have things go their way? They got the girl, landed the job, and everything just seemed to work out for them.
Their success probably had you constantly thinking…how did they do it?
While it may seem like they were “one of those lucky ones”, they weren’t lucky by chance. In fact, they just knew something that everyone else didn’t. They knew that luck is a formula – not a random act of events gifted to the seemingly elite. And anyone can apply it.
This formula, developed almost two thousand years ago, came from the Stoic philosopher, Seneca.
Seneca, one of the founding fathers of Stoicism, helped develop the fundamental components of what we know as Stoicism today.
In his teachings, he gave us the formula to luck when he said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
Preparation + Opportunity = Luck
Using this formula, you can improve your luck by changing either of the two variables: your opportunities or your preparation.
And yet, we have never lived in a more abundant and accessible world, where anything is possible. Opportunity can be found everywhere you turn. Heck, at 30,000 ft in the air, we can connect with others from across the globe while flying at 500 mph and casually sipping on a cocktail.
Yes, of course, there are people who have better opportunities than others. Yes, of course, there are life circumstances that give privilege to a rare few.
There are just as many rags-to-riches stories as there are drugged out millionaires. You see, it’s not the hand you’re dealt in life, rather how you play it that matters.
So in our world today, luck doesn’t come from opportunity, it comes from your willingness to prepare for those opportunities.
Think about it, we have all had opportunities that slipped away because we weren’t ready for them:
The job interview we could have nailed, if we had just prepared for that one question.
That girl we could have picked up, if only we had practiced saying hi.
The investor we could have gotten to fund our business if only we knew how to pitch the right things.
No doubt have there been countless times where what could have been never came to be because you weren’t prepared.
Instead, you get easily distracted with daily, frivolous tasks at work and at home. Before you know it, there’s no time left in the day to prepare for that upcoming job interview or practice your sales pitch for the big customer.
We sit back and wait for life to happen to us, instead of taking control of our lives.
It’s time to drop this habit of passive living and start preparing ourselves for the future we want to live in.
Just like an athlete who spends 90% of his time watching film, practicing drills, and working out – you too must dedicate time to preparing.
In this pursuit of creating your own luck, there are three areas you need to be prepared in. I call this Preparing Like a MAN: Prepare Your Mind, Your Attitude, and Your Network.
Prepare your Mind
Did you know the average CEO reads 4-5 books every single month while the average American reads less than one?
Regardless of whether you want to pursue corporate leadership or become a positive force in your household, you must become a sponge, soaking up anything and everything you can learn. The act of learning creates new neuro-cognitive connections in your brain, helping you develop new ways of thinking and thus new opportunities.
Call it self-education, personal development, professional development or whatever else you want – the fact remains that CEOs don’t start reading this stuff the day they get hired. No, they become CEOs because of their reading habits (along with many other positive habits they’ve developed).
The aspiring CEO knows that the more information he consumes, the better chance he has at landing that top spot in his organization one day. Be mindful though of what type of information you’re consuming (watching silly YouTube videos of kittens and cucumbers won’t help). You have to consume information that is positive, educational, and relative to your goals.
Once you begin developing and preparing your mind, you will be able to see things differently, and possibly detect opportunities that seemingly didn’t exist before.
So, spend time learning interesting topics, reading bestselling books, and developing new skills. All of these things will open you up to a whole new world of possibility.
Prepare your Attitude
In one episode of Derren Brown’s show, The Experiments, Darren uncovers what makes someone lucky or unlucky. The experiment takes two groups of people: the first filled with happy and optimistic people, and the second with negative and pessimistic people.
Each person was told to walk their normal route to work, with no other instructions. The researchers strategically put a $100 bill on the ground, clearly visible for the participants to see. Overwhelmingly, the happy and optimistic group saw the opportunity and instantly became $100 richer.
On the other hand, the Negative Nancies not only didn’t pick the money up – they didn’t even see it! Their attitude and mindset were so poor that even though opportunity was right in front of them – they failed to recognize their own luck in life.
When making your own luck, your attitude makes all the difference. How you think about the world (and yourself) will determine the quality of your life.
If you expect positive things to happen to you – they will. If you think the whole world is against you, well, it will be. Change your attitude and start creating your own luck.
Prepare Your Network
You’ve probably heard the popular saying, “Your network is your net worth”. Yet, how many of us actually invest in to our networks?
Just like you invest in your business or spend time with your family, your network requires your time and money if you want to start creating more luck.
I’ve seen it work wonders in my business and it’s the primary reason I attend as many networking events and seminars every year as possible.
Upwardly Mobile, Inc., with the support of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business
Management, conducted a study that found networking to be the most effective way to secure professional positions. In fact, over 70% of respondents reported that they found their current job through networking (vs. 16% through a job posting).
That’s why building social capital and being a part of communities like The Order of Man and the Iron Council are so important. Who you spend time with is who you become. Proximity is power.
Start to prepare your network, by authentically engaging with others who lift you up and who you can help lift up as well. Soon, opportunities will start to come up that you would have never expected – all because you were around the right group of people.
One of my favorite stories on taking action is the Parable of the Flood. In this story, a man is trapped on his roof during a terrible flood. Confident that God will save him, he refuses a truck, a boat, and a helicopter coming by to save him – announcing to all that God will save him. Eventually, the man drowns. Upon arriving to Heaven, he asks God why He didn’t save him. God immediately replies, “I sent you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter. What more do you want?”
You can prepare all you want in life, but eventually, it’s up to you to take action. That’s what preparing like a MAN is about. It’s about setting yourself up for success.
So, let’s update Seneca’s equation with the missing piece:
Preparation + Opportunity + Action = Luck
If you do everything in your power to prepare your mind, your attitude, and your network but fail to take action, then all that work is for nothing. Prepare as much as you can, but know that taking action is what will give you the luck you deserve.