Did you notice these people that say “I am lucky!” or “I had so much luck in my life!” all the time? The opposite is true, others always whisper that they are not lucky, almost like a mantra.
When I was in college I got my first PC. After a couple of months, a friend tried to help me rewiring it and made a mistake. My new PC was dead and I had no money. I headed to a shop with the computer under my arm. It was heavy and the summer sun was burning. At the shop, I asked for cheaper repair options. They told me about a guy who worked from home who might help me. I called the guy from a phone booth and he was available.
I went to his house in a trolley bus (an electrical bus). He had mountains of PCs, screens, and keyboards filling his living room to the ceiling. He had a big and frightening German Shepherd dog who licked my legs (it was hot) and breathe in my face. I was not at ease.
I told my problem to the dog’s owner, smiled and jumped feet-first:
– Look, I have no money to pay for the repair, but I’m a computer science student. What can I develop for you in exchange for fixing my PC?
In the end, he asked me to develop a small program and fixed my computer for free.
Was I lucky?
The reality is that luck is a result of a strategy, whether we are aware of it or not. People are not luckier than others, but because they think for some reason that they’re lucky, whenever a happy event occurs in their life or business, they are ready. They take advantage of the lucky strike. They take the opportunity. They put the unexpected event to profit. So they are lucky.
People that are not thinking about themselves as being lucky tend to hesitate and doubt:
- Is this for real?
- Is there a trick?
- This is too good to be true!
They question the reason why, the origin of the event, the cause of the encounter, and the possible effects of using the opportunity. This is why they are not lucky, in great part because they don’t feel lucky.
Fixed vs Growth mindsets
This black and white view (lucky/not-lucky) reflects a static model where people don’t change. In this model, people are born with their talents and capacities. They can get better at what they have and gain more experience, but they cannot gain more skills and “talents”.
Another model is thinking about people as always being able to change and learn. You learn in school and university, or in your work, and become a professional. Then you continue learning and change your role or profession altogether. You’re a software developer but later you learn to design and write and present in front of an audience. This is the growth mindset.
In this second model, the lucky strategy can be learned. Being open to new challenges and learning allows you to take new opportunities as they come.
Welcome new opportunities to become lucky(er)
You can start with these three points:
– Start with a smile (even on the phone)
– Be the first to give
– Listen intently and patiently
These steps will help you learn to be a lucky person.
After repairing my PC, this guy sent me later to my first real-life customer. I got lucky for the second time.
I first heard about the luck strategy at a software development conference. Thank you Lisa Crispin!