TIB #55: How to boost your chances of success (without buying lottery tickets)

Written by Arno Jansen

A while ago, I wrote about the influence of luck on your success. Judging by the replies I received, that rubbed some people the wrong way. The mere suggestion that after all that hard work, success was the result of luck, did not go down well with some.

It was, of course, not my intention to dismiss all the effort that goes into creating anything worthwhile in life. 

In fact, you could say that hard work is one of the ways to increase your luck. 

In this issue, I want to share with you 4 actionable ways to dramatically boost your luck. 

Keeping these “levels of luck” in mind when making business decisions, will have a positive impact on how you view your work and the actions you take.

Lets dive straight in.

Meet Dr James Austin


In 1978, American neurologist and author James H. Austin published a book called “Chase, Chance and Creativity”. It is a personal story in which he examins the role of chance in biomedical research. He shares how unpredictable events influenced the outcome of research and inspired novel results. He concludes there are 4 levels of chance that can positively influence any creative process.

In recent years, the word “chance” turned into “luck” when discussing these levels. Let’s examine them 1 by 1:

Level 1: Blind luck

Also known as dumb luck. Blind luck is when something good happens to you by chance, without you doing anything special. Imagine you’re walking down the street, and you find a very rare, shiny coin on the ground. You didn’t plan to find it, and you didn’t even look for it. It’s just luck that you happened to be in the right place at the right time, and now you have some extra money in your pocket. That’s dumb luck!

This can happen to us all, but of course, it often does not happen to us. Also, no way of telling what this “luck” looks like for you.

Level 2: Add motion

This is luck through action. By doing something, anything, you will increase your chances of stumbling onto something. You will not stumble onto anything by sitting down. Translated to business: you have to start putting stuff out there. It may work, or it may not work. But if you have not tried it, you are guaranteed to fail.

This is why any entrepreneur worth their weight, has a backpack full of failures. Or at least a few. Take calculated risks and incremental steps. You will expose yourself to more chances to strike gold.

Level 3: Learn to spot good fortune

Opportunities present themselves all the time. How come some people see it, and others don’t?

Through continual learning and action, you will create a unique blend of skills, personality and experience. That combination primes you to spot patterns and opportunities others will miss.

During an 1854 lecture at the University of Lille, French chemist Louis Pasteur said, “..chance favors only the prepared mind.”

Level 4: Directed motion

All previous levels combined, lead up to this final one.

If level 2 was about adding ‘random’ action, this level is about combining action with your ability to spot good fortune. in other words: targeted action. This is when you pursue a hunch, a gut feeling. You may not be able to articulate why you feel this directed action makes sense, but it does to you. Hunches and gut feelings may show up as fear of doing something new. Remember that fear is temporary, regret lasts forever.

British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, summed it up well when he said: “We make our fortunes and we call them fate.”

So now what?

If you’ve been reading my work for a while, you know I always want to make stuff practical. So what can you take away from this, so that you can increase the odds that luck stumbles upon you?

  • Engage with the world. You have to have a bias towards action, no way around it.
  • Be curious. Try new things, explore different avenues. Connect with many people.
  • Develop your logical thinking and reasoning. This helps you to spot patterns and opportunities as they reveal themselves.

These are approaches to take to increase your “luck surface”. We all start at level 1, you have to take the necessary steps to level-up 3 more times.

In other words:

You will miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take!

Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

Join my free Focus Finder email course to transform yourself from deeply distracted to fully focused.

    Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

    Join my free Focus Finder course and go from deeply distracted to fully focused.

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