Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Nature of Luck

imageThis article was written by Jim Roberts, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor

All our lives, most of us have heard many stories about Luck. Business mentors, clergy people, high school and college counselors, Moms and Dads and motivational speakers traditionally teach us that luck really doesn’t exist. They tell us that what we think of as “good luck” is really just the product of good preparation, hard work, experience, strength of will and many other factors.

I have a different view – I think luck is very real in our business lives as well as our personal lives. What’s more luck is not random. It can be created and replicated, in other words, if you know what luck is made of you can create it. Here are the components of luck:

Luck Favors the Prepared Mind

Whatever your task is, whether you’re opening a business, trying to increase sales, or striving to increase the strength of a relationship, you must prepare yourself to the best of your ability. Learn everything you can, talk to other people who have been successful (lucky) at what you’re trying to do. Read books and prepare yourself just as a champion athlete prepares for competition.

You Will Fail at 100% of the Tasks You Never Undertake

We all know someone whose life and business philosophy is summarized by the mantra, “Play it Safe.” Those folks will never by lucky. The most they will attain is mediocrity. The fact is that there can be no reward without a risk. But risk can and should be managed. There is a huge difference between a well thought-out calculated risk, and a man who is merely reckless.

Assumption is the Mother of all Screw-ups

It’s a fact that the more data you can accumulate to support a plan, the more likely it is to succeed. Don’t ever do guesswork and call it planning. People who guess are rarely lucky.

All Glory is Fleeting

The roadside of business journey is littered with the corpses of companies who were caught reveling in their past accomplishments – so much so that they failed to plan for the future, failed to react (or in some cases even recognize) market changes. You’ve heard the stories about legendary companies like Montgomery Ward, F.W. Woolworth, IBM, and many others who got into trouble because they felt that the past would always be a harbinger of the future. Remember, the past is history, the future is opportunity.

Energy Cannot be Destroyed

When you allow your positive energy to be changed to negative energy, you diminish who you are. When you exert positive energy on another, you change who they are. Your employees, partners and co-workers will look to you for leadership and courage. It is your choice whether they will absorb positive or negative energy from you.

Success is What Happens when Preparation Meets Opportunity

After you learn the principles of luck, you must find the courage to seize the opportunities when they come along. If you are properly prepared, if you exude positive energy, if you learn everything you can about what you have chosen to undertake, and if you manage the risks appropriately, you will be successful most of the time. You will become “Lucky.”

Good Luck!