Robert X. Cringely’s first tip for would-be entrepreneurs is:
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.
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.
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?
Since then, I’ve become aware that there are traits that we can practice to increase our ability to make our own luck.
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.
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.