Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hail hail to the lucky ones

What people call lucky is rather situational.   In some cases when people say people are lucky, what they really say is that they are envious of some people situation.

But it is obvious that there is an element of luck, an element of the random, in life.  If it is impossible to determine an outcome in advance, than from your own perspective, the outcome is random.

But just as we know that their is often an element of unseen effort involved in luck, there may also be other elements at work.

What Lucky People Do Different
Eric Calonius, jonathanfields, 11 April 2012 (Hat tip: The Browser)
Wiseman surveyed a number of people and, through a series of questionnaires and interviews, determined which of them considered themselves lucky—or unlucky. He then performed an intriguing experiment: He gave both the “lucky” and the “unlucky” people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds.
How could the “lucky” people do this? Because they found a message on the second page that read, “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” So why didn’t the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message. Wiseman noted,
“Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.”

This is rather similar to Nasssim Taleb's advise in The Black Swan to go to cocktail parties to meet random people.  Don't look for specific opportunities, just interact and see what comes up.

Note that all of this is not saying that dogged single focused determination does not work.  It's just saying that that is not the way to get lucky.  And almost any close look at the extremely successful indicates a fair amount of good fortune: right time at right place, and all that sort of thing.

And the title of this post is in reference to title of this song:  the lyrics have nothing to do with the post, I just like the title of the song.

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