The little risks you can take to increase your luck
I’ve spent nearly two decades observing what makes people luckier than others and trying to help people increase their luck.
You see, I teach entrepreneurship, and we all know that most new ventures fails, and innovators and entrepreneurs need all the luck can get.
So what is luck?
Luck is defined as success or failure apparently caused by chance.
That’s the operative word.
It’s looks like it’s chance because we rarely see all the levers that come into play to make people lucky.
But I’ve realized, by watching so long, that luck is rarely a lightning strike, isolated and doramatic.
It’s much more like the wind, blowing constantly.
Sometimes it’s calm, and sometimes it blows in gusts, and sometimes it comes from directions that you didn’t even imagine.
So how do you catch the winds of luck?
It’s easy, but it’s not obvious.
So I’m going to share three things with you that you can do to build a sail to capture the winds of luck.
The first things you want to do is to change your relationship with yourself.
Be willing to take small risks that get you out of your comfort zone.
Npw, when we’re children, we do this all the time.
We have to do this if we’re going to learn how to walk or talk or ride a bike or even quantum mechanics. Rgiht?
We need to go from someone one week who doesn’t ride a bike to, next week, someone who does.
And this requires us to get out of our comfort zone and take some risks.
The problem is, as we get older, we rarely do this.
We sort of lock down the sense of who we are and don’t stretch anymore.
Now, with my students, I spend a lot of time giving them encouragement to get out of their comfort zone and take some risks.
How do I do this?
Well, I start out by having them fill out a risk-o-meter.
Now, it’s basically a fun thing we developed in our class where they map outwhat risks they’are willing to take.
And it becomes clear very quickly to them that risk-taking is not binary.
There are intellectual risks and physical risks and financial risks emotional risks and social risks and ethical risks and political risks.
And once they do this, they compare thier risk profiles with others, and they quickly realize that they’re all really different.
I then encourage them to strech, to take some risks that get them out of their comfort zone.
For example, I might ask them to do an intellectual risk and try to tackled a problem they haven’t tried before;
or a social risk, talking to someone sitting next to them on the train;
or an emotional risk, maybe telling someone they really care about how they feel.
I do this myself all this time.
about a dozen years ago, I was on an airplane, early, early morning flight on my way to Educador.
And normally, I would just put on my headphones and go to sleep, wake up, do some work, but I decided to take a little risk, and I started a conversation with the man sitting next to me.
I introduced myself, and I learned that he was a publisher.
We ended up having a facinating conversation.
Ilearned all about the future of the publishing industry.
So about three quarters of the way through the flight, I decided to take another risk, and I opened up my laptop and I shared with him a book proposal I put together for something I was doing in my class.
And he was very polite, he read it, and he said, “You know what, Tina, this isn’t right for us, but thank you so much for sharing.”
It’s OK. That risk didn’t work out.
I shut my laptop.
At the end of the flight, we exchanged contact information.
A couple of months later, I reached out to him, and I said, “Mark, would you like to come to my class? I’m doing a project on reinventing the book, the future of publishing.”
And he said, “Great. I’d love to come.”
So he came to my class.
We had a great experience.
A few months later, I wrote to him again.
This time, I sent him a bunch of video clips from another project my students had done.
He was so intrigued by one of the projects the students had done, he thought there might be a book in it, and he wanted to meet those students.
I have to tell you, I was a little bit hurt.
I mean, he wanted to do a book with my students and not with me, but OK, it’s all right.
So I invited him to come down, and he and his colleagues came to Stanford and met with the students, and afterwards, we had lunch together.
And one of his editors said to me, “Hey, have you ever considered writing a book?” I said, “Funny you shuld ask.”
And I pulled out the exact same proposal that I had showed his boss a year earlier.
Within two weeks, I had a contract, and within two years, the book had sold over a million copies around the world.
Now, you might say, “Oh, you’re so lucky.”
But of course I was lucky, but that luck resulted from a series of small risks I took, starting with saying hello.
And anyone can do this, no matter where you are in your life, no matter where you are in the world — even if you think you’re the most unlucky person, you can do this by taking little risks that get you out of your comfort zone.
you start bulding a sail to capture luck.