I often joke that I'd rather be lucky than good. The reality is that I'd rather be lucky and good!
I was listening to the Ali Abdaal podcast the other day and there was a section in there where he was talking with his guest, Bobby Seagull about two different kinds of luck.
There's the kind of luck where you enter your name in a raffle and your name gets drawn.
Then there's the kind of luck where things just seem to fall into place for you.
You meet the right person at just the right time who happens to know someone who needs the services you offer.
You meet that angel investor who happened to be looking for a company like yours to invest in.
Or you cross paths with someone who ends up being a mentor to you and shows you the ropes.
No matter how much preparation or work you do, you don't control how or when those serendipitous encounters occur.
Still, if you manage to find yourself engaged in one of these "lucky" meetings with someone who can help propel you forward on your journey, it helps to know where it is you're trying to go and be ready to act on it.
It's best to already be acting on it.
It helps to have built the skills you'll need to do whatever it is you're setting out to do!
It helps to have done the leg work to prove out your concept and validate your assumptions.
It helps to have worked with others who can vouch for your work, character, and product or service.
So what do you do when the opportunity does present itself?
I'll tell you what most of us do...
We don't seize the opportunity.
We don't walk through the open door.
We aren't ready... or at least that's what we tell ourselves.
We get scared.
I know this because half the time that person is me!
It's easy to sit back and look at someone who has arrived at some place or status you aspire to and point out how lucky they've been along their journey.
And it's true.
A lot of what moves us forward toward our destinations are the people we meet and the opportunities they create for us.
The primary difference between many of the people who succeed and those who don't is their readiness and willingness to take action when an opportunity presents itself.
For most people who enjoy this form of luck, it's not the first opportunity that came their way.
There were countless others.
But eventually, they get "lucky" and since no one talks about the bad ideas or the lousy opportunities, it looks like they just walked up and hit the jackpot!
I sometimes listen to NPR's How I Built This podcast. It's a show about entrepreneurs who often started from nothing and went on to build incredibly successful businesses or organizations.
The host, Guy Raz, likes to ask his guests how much of their success they attribute to luck and how much of it they attribute to hard work and perseverance.
The answer is almost always the same.
There's no way anyone can take full credit for their success. Only an egomaniac would do that.
It's also true that without some hard work, difficult decisions, and sacrifice, it wouldn't be possible either.
We don't control the things that happen to, or around us... but we do get to choose how we prepare for those things, and how we respond to them.
We get to decide if we'll take action, or sit on the sidelines wondering at out how lucky everyone else seems to be.