ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

January 24, 2012

Be lucky.

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 luckylike 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 factoryI’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.

Yes, 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.

January 12, 2012

Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY! #Harbaughisms

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 12:49 am
Joyce reminds me that 1/11 PandaWhale turned one year old.

Right now we’re working on awesomizing PandaWhale, building on what we’ve learned from our alpha.

We draw on inspiration from Jim Harbaugh:

Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY! 

I repeatedly watch 0:55 into this clip…

The 49ers reached the NFC title game because of three things: The Team. The Team. The Team.

What transformed The Team from 6-10 last year to the NFC Championship this yearJim Harbaugh!

I’m sad that Harbaugh hasn’t tweeted his philosophy recently.

That philosophy was imbued in Jim and his brother John “early on, an approach, a way of looking at things in terms of football, or life… That comes from our parents.”

Their dad Jack Harbaugh would chauffeur the boys to school each day and utter the same 20 words:

Ok, men, grab your lunchboxes and attack this day with an enthusiasm UNKNOWN TO MANKIND.

And don’t take any wooden nickels.

They turned out to be words to live by.

“In this world, you can choose to be positive or you can choose to be negative,” Jack Harbaugh says. “You can choose to see things through a set of eyes that sees good or you can choose to see things in life that aren’t so good.

“At least every day, they were reminded to look at it through a positive set of eyes. Let the lens of your eyes be positive.

We try to stay positive as PandaWhale navigates our creative process to create a masterpiece.

Like Alex Smith after a 27-yard QB sweep!


So in honor of PandaWhale’s anniversary, here are 11 of my favorite #Harbaughisms:

11. “I don’t like that kind of football where you try and talk and intimidate. It’s not real. You play with your feet, your legs, you play with your hands. Just play football. Shut up and play football.

10. “I just like being the guy who throws the rocks at the beehive every now and then.”

9. “I didn’t want to be in any kind of comfort zone. I didn’t want to be in any kind of guaranteed situation. The fact that it was uncharted waters, try to figure out ways to do things, gave me energy.

8. “I don’t take vacations. I don’t get sick. I don’t observe major holidays. I’m a jackhammer.”

7. “As long as everything that’s said is said against us, we feel a certain assurance of success. It’s when they go the other way, when flowery words of praise start to be heaped upon us — that’s when we start to feel exposed before our enemies.”

6. “ALL OBSTACLES CAN AND MUST BE OVERCOME. That’ll be our approach without excuse.

5. “We’re not sustaining a gosh darn thing. We despise the word sustaining. We despise the word satisfaction.

4. “What’s YOUR deal?” (“I’m great.”)

3. “We want to win with numbing repetition.

2. “Attack this endeavor with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.” (“EUTM” comes from Jack Harbaugh.)

1. “Who’s got it better than us? NOOOO-BODY!

It’s worth reading Jack Harbaugh’s story of “Who’s got it better than us? Noooo-body.”

To this day, it gets Jim Harbaugh all fired up.

Bay Area rapper Bailey even turned it into a rap.

Been there, done that, got the tee shirt.

Nobody has it better than us. NOOOO-BODY!!!

And on that note, it’s back to the creative process we go, to create a better “masterpiece”…

Go Niners! Go Niners! Go Niners!


Meanwhile, special props to the 49ers Special Teams for being DELIGHTFULLY QUIRKY!

The 49ers Special Teams Unit can be seen dancing before every kickoff to a song by Future called “Tony Montana”

There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.

Who dances better than us? NOBODY!

Who’s got a more colorful coach than us? Nobody!


Hail to Harbaughisms… 🙂

January 1, 2012

Between being and becoming is an #AttitudeOfGratitude

In 2011 I resolved to own an attitude of gratitude.

In 2012 I resolve, again, to adopt an attitude of gratitude.

But first, let’s review 2011.

In 2011 I felt a lot of pain. That was hell.

In 2011 I played outside. That was excellent.

And, I consumed many bootie mashups.

In 2011 I continued my obsession with pandas.

2012 is Year of the Dragon. The Water Dragon.

That’s right, 2012 will be Panda vs Dragon. 


Don’t underestimate the things that I will do.

Forty-Two means living in the exhilarating tension between being and becoming.

People have asked me where the phrase Between Being and Becoming came from.

SNL season 15, episode 17, Dana Carvey as George F. Will’s Sports Machine:

George F. Will: All right, hands on buzzers. [ he hits several buttons on the machine, which spits out a quiz card that George reads ] “The precarious balance between infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $50, identify the effect of that symmetry.”

[ the contestants stare cluelessly, as the buzzer sounds ]

George F. Will: Sorry. The answer is: “The exhilarating tension between being and becoming.” Being and becoming. Next question…

That phrase has been spinning infinity in my head since I first heard it.

I believe that life is a precarious balance, a perfect symmetry.

We have to be who we are, while becoming who we want to be.

We don’t just want to be hard-working, awake, and accepting of ourselves.

We want to be a better version of ourselves. To continually improve.

In 2012 I resolve to…

1. Be grateful. Wake up every morning with a deep breath and an #AttitudeOfGratitude.

2. Be here now. Don’t try to live your life in one day.

3. Be excellent. Excellence is a habit.

4. Be lucky. Practice openness, intuition, optimism, and resilience to make luck.

5. Be bold. Fortune favors the bold. TDs only; play to win.

6. Be creative. Creativity is just connecting the dots.

7. Be optimistic. Optimism creates luck.

8. Be who you are, as hard as you can. It’s not about what happens to you; it’s about how you respond to wha
t happens to you.

9. Be punctual. On time is 15 minutes late. Early is on time.

10. Be healthy. Spirituallyemotionally, physically, just dance.

11. Be happy. Happiness is the way.

12. Be kind. Only kindness matters in the end.

Tom Landry said, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

That said, these twelve goals are qualitative, not quantitative. Each day as I wake up I can resolve to be grateful, excellent, lucky, bold, optimistic, creative, punctual, healthy, happy, and kind, but I’m not going to count each act of demonstrating that quality. It doesn’t feel right to count random acts of kindness (#raok).

Instead I’m going to include these values in my thoughts whenever I can.

Thoughts become words become actions become habits become character.

And character is destiny.

I know how this works. The creative process is tough.

To summarize: Touchdowns only; no Field Goals. Play to win.

Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY!

Now excuse me while I pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space…

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