Robert X. Cringely’s first tip for would-be entrepreneurs is:
“Avoid stupid and unlucky people.“
I’m taking his advice because starting a company is hard.
I want to be lucky, like the kitten that adopted me last week.
For decades my father has told me that
“It’s better to be lucky than to be good.“
I don’t just want to be good; I want to be excellent.
My dad says that to be excellent I should surround myself with people who have good luck. He tells me that people with good luck are contagious — as are people with bad luck!
My dad regularly affirms:
“Avoid the unlucky, the unethical, and the unhappy.“
To find people who are ethical, I have a strategy. My startup co-founder has a sixth sense when it comes to sniffing out ethics; Detective Troutgirl is always on the case.
As for happiness, lessons are repeated until they are learned. There is no way to happiness because happiness is the way; consequently, people reveal true colors in conversation. But what about luck?
I want to find people who are as attracted to luck as cats are attracted to heat.
To create luck, I conjure up some scientistic sleuthing.
If 80% of success is showing up, then
80-90% of luck is an excellent attitude.
Those numbers are corroborated scientistically by business shark Daymond John and psychologist Richard Wiseman:
Daymond John boldly declared on Shark Tank,
“Life is like business. It’s 20% what happens to you, and 80% how you respond.“
Richard Wiseman concurs,
“Only about 10% of life is purely random.
The remaining 90% is defined by the way we think.
Our attitudes produce our luck.“
I read those sentiments over and over, and think to myself: Still, there’s that remaining 10-20% that is pure luck, and that’s the part we need EVEN if we work hard and make wise choices and are as patient as a crouching kitten.
So… How can we MAKE more luck?
In 2010 I chuckled that with a luck factory, I’d make a fortune.
Since then, I’ve become aware that there are traits that we can practice to increase our ability to make our own luck.
On 106miles.net I summarized Bakadesuyo’s article How can you become more lucky? by noting that lucky people practice four traits: openness, intuition, optimism, and resilience.
Practice every day, as much as possible:
1. Openness to new experiences. Network. Meet new people. Re-engage with people you know.
2. Intuition. Listen to yourself. Meditate to clear your mind regularly.
3. Optimism. The mind is a feedback loop that creates self-fulfilling prophecies, so be positive.
4. Resilience. “Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill)
To that I add, don’t try to avoid pain:
Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.
(mis-attributed to Bob Marley; actual author unknown)
Be open. Be intuitive. Be optimistic. Be resilient. Good luck!
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Get Lucky: The Book.
I’m going to make it a habit to spend time with people who are lucky, and we’ll see what happens when I practice lucky traits.
I will stay interconnected and get enough sleep.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Refer to me as @ifindkarma and I’ll be happy. You can also find this work as a chapter in Eric Ries’s and Hunter Walk’s wonderful Uncensored book for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Photo credits: All four pictures in this post were taken by me using Instagram on iPhone 4s, and are hosted on Flickr. These pictures feature the cats I humbly serve: Beavis, the 18-year-old silver Tabby; Coco, the 18-month-old Tuxedo kitty; and (unnamed), the 9-month-old lucky black cat who adopted me last week at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. Not pictured is Lola, the 9-year-old Oklahoma runaway feline who is camera-shy.