212. Critical Thinking: Why ‘Being Lucky’ Is A Crutch & 5 Strategies to Improve Your Luck

07 takeaways from this video:

00:00:27 “You have to have a healthy dose of luck to become successful. That’s just the way it is. You can’t prepare for it, but you can be ready for it if does come to you.” – @BryanCranston

Sometimes the clients, roles, projects, and breaks you get are ONLY because you happen to be in the right place at the right time, and had you not been at that specific place at that specific time, the decision-makers would have simply chosen someone else. The world continues without you.

Looking back in retrospect, some of the opportunities you got by luck lead to other opportunities you never would have qualified for had you not had been lucky to have gotten the original opportunity.

“Do your work. Do the best you can, and hope for the lucky breaks here and there.”

@BryanCranston

00:01:19 “At 30 I started WineLibraryTV. Youtube then blows up, and at 31 I’m  on Conan O’Brien… all my friends from high school emailed me saying ‘You’re so lucky!’ I wrote them back EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM and said ‘let me just clarify one thing: I’m not lucky. I’ve been working every goddamn weekend and every holiday since I was 14 years old. Keep that luck shit in your pocket.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Hustle is defined as:

  1. Verb. To force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction.
  2. Verb. To obtain by forceful action or persuasion.
  3. Noun. Busy movement and activity.
  4. Noun. A fraud or swindle.

00:02:01“Luck. I’ve heard people say I’m the luckiest man on the planet; I like to think I stay ready…You create your own luck.” –Jay Z

00:02:29 (Early in my rock climbing career) T2 (a difficulty grading system for rock climbers) was a relatively difficult climb, and I went at at with a kind of arrogant lack of preparation, assuming I would figure it all out as I get there. I also didn’t really pause to double-check all my safety systems… 400 feet above the ground and in a hold my hands cannot maintain… I noticed that the knot in my security rope had come undone; I had made the mistake of not thinking about the best knot for certain types of situations, so now my hands are seconds away from losing grip and I’m now aware that I’m seconds away from falling to my death until I noticed an old piton from somebody’s earlier climb. I managed to calmly clip myself to the piton before my hands gave way, I fell, by luck the piton supported my weight, and I lived.

Be bold and disciplined. Stay alive because of your discipline; not because of your luck.

“1. When you’re in an unforgiving world, you need the discipline to always do all the right preparation so you can do bold things while staying alive.

2. Rewind the tape of your own life, and you’ll realise that there were these crucial moments where if the luck had gone the other way, you might have gotten killed.” –Jim Collins

00:07:06 Plan for good and bad luck. Good luck actually comes in opportunities you aren’t originally expecting and wouldn’t normally see. Planning for bad luck involves having a:

  1. Plan A: Your goal in a perfect world
  2. Plan B: What you will do if your plan A fails to materialize
  3. Plan Z: All of your other plans and investments didn’t work. What are you going to do now?

Despite not having a clear idea (plan A), Paypal unexpectedly saw their initial growth was through Ebay (Plan B), an avenue they neither anticipated nor originally wanted to cater to, but Paypal pivoted quickly… and the rest is history.

Originally, LinkedIn figured they could grow their company into a success through user referrals (Plan A), weeks after launch they realized that this growth simply wasn’t fast enough, so they built in a revolutionary address book utility so new users quickly could identify other users whom they already knew (Plan B) and went from 2,000/week growth to 20,000/week growth. –@ReidHoffman

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Alex Schultz also refers to Paypal’s identifying this opportunity and correctly pivoting in his Stanford University lecture How to Start A Startup: Optimizing For Growing Your Business.]

00:10:56 ‘Being’ lucky (luck defined as ‘things falling into place’) is actually easier than you’d think once you understand how luck works, and you stack the odds in your favor. The reticular activating system is the part of the brain responsible for regulating which sensory inputs your conscious and unconscious mind receive. Consciously, this system interrupts you, informing you of information which may potentially be dangerous or harmful to you (working alongside your amagdala, which is responsible for memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions), and information you consider to be relevant. For example, you are instinctively primed to hear your name, even if it is uttered on the other side of a crowded room, and you yourself are in the middle of a conversation.

Taking control and training your reticular activating system, you can effectively (re)train it to look for what you want it to look for, catching opportunities rather than missing them; avoiding danger rather than walking right into it.

Looking for a business partner? A storefront for your startup? Etc.? Tell yourself its important and your recular activating system will make finding it a priority for you amongst the millions of other pieces of data you are exposed to every day. –Peter Sage

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Cognitive biases and heuristics related to Peter Sage’s advice include:

  • The negativity bias is where humans tend to remember negative and unpleasant experiences more often than they do positive experiences.
  • The frequency illusion is where humans tend to ‘suddenly’ start seeing something everywhere once they have become aware of it.
  • The Von Restorff effect is where humans tend to better remember information that stands out than they do ordinary information.

For more on how cognitive biases and heuristics affect interpersonal communication, check out the CadrEnglish 14-hour intensive training workshop.]

00:17:50 In summary :

  1. Put yourself in position to receive luck. My (Even Carmichael’s) Youtube channel has attracted a lot of big clients, speaking engagements, book deals, etc. Is this luck? Yes, but…
  2. Work your ass off so you reduce luck and have more chance. I (Evan Carmichael) am producing 3-4 videos every day because I’m proud of what I’m doing and I enjoy it, so the chances of new clients finding me are much greater than if I weren’t producing as much.
  3. Don’t use ‘luck’ as a crutch to lean on when you don’t get your way, instead learn to recognize opportunities where you may not have orginally been looking, and then pivot and modify your energy so you don’t miss that opportunity.
  4. Keep fighting and stop blaming, no matter what happens. Adjust and keep working hard to get what you want. Regardless of whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the 2016 presidential election, or if everything goes wrong in your life, keep working and don’t give up.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on how to manage difficult situations as a startup, watch the lectures: