November 3rd, 2011
Are You a Lucky Devil?
Some people seem more lucky than others: getting the breaks and wangling those amazing opportunities that allow them to prosper in life. Most rags-to-riches business people will tell you that their success came from a lot of hard work and a little bit of good luck.
Whilst hard work can be created with time and effort, luck seems a bit more elusive. In this video, I wanted to see how simple it would be to manufacture luck. After all, it seems to be a tipping point in most stories of success; and in my opinion, too crucial to chance to divine intervention.
Human Networks Are Powerful
Reaching out to people is a great way to harness your ever-developing social skills and transform your life by building genuine relationships with them. After all, it never ever hurts to know somebody who can pull the odd string or two to help you out; whether thats a business contact who can kick-start your career, or a colleague who’ll play matchmaker and refresh your dwindling dating life.
The Formula for Luck
The Roman philosopher Seneca strongly believed that: ‘Luck was what happened when preparation met with opportunity’. With this insight he highlighted two huge factors that fortunate people benefit from:
Step 1: Preparation
Who is that person sitting next to you in the hotel lobby? Or in front of you in the line for the toilet? When the random opportunity to meet a great person lands on your plate you’ll want to be sure you have the skills to take ACTION and speak to them. Some conversationalists are more skilled than others, so if you’re yet to master the gift of the gab you’ll probably just need a little practice to tighten up your skill set. Refine your conversation skills by talking to people everywhere. Start small and strike up conversations with people in shops: they’re usually very receptive.
Step 2: Opportunity
When you talk to people you’ll find that favourable circumstances present themselves to us more than you realise. For example, last week I was invited to a party. Feeling tired, I initially decided to pass on the opportunity. Remembering that more opportunity would be created if I went, I dragged myself to the venue and met my friends. The club was very loud and noisy (the type that make your head hurt) so I headed to a quiet area. Whilst there, I met a guy who also escaping from the noise. He turned out to be a movie director from Toronto! The secret to luck is siezing opportunity.
Say ‘YES’ More
In 2005, Danny Wallace wrote the book ‘Yes Man’, a diary that detailed his commitment to constantly welcome opportunity into his life. Wallace’s premise was simple: say ‘yes’ where once you would have said ‘no’. Making this decision positively transformed his life (to the point where Hollywood was impressed enough to put Jim Carrey in a movie about it!) Inspired, I decided to say YES more and document the result on video.
The First Yes…
I was contacted through my website by a student who asked me to give a business lecture at his university. I said Yes and agreed to the request. When the day came it took effort, hard work and a long night of planning to prepare for the talk.
The Second Yes…
After the lecture, several of the students invited me to the local bar for a drink. I was very tired as I had stayed awake the previous night planning my speech. I said Yes and agreed to the request. In doing so, I met and made many new friends and sunk a lot of beer.
The Third Yes…
A few months later, several of my friends at the university invited me to an event they were holding. They had arranged for Charles Dunstone, the co-founder of the UK telecommunications company Carphone Warehouse to give a speech. (According to Forbes, his net worth is about $1.6 Billion). I said Yes and agreed to the request. I turned up to the event and was lead to the front row of a huge auditorium. My friends promptly sat me next to the principal of the unviersity. Whils he was on stage I was able to ask Charles Dunstone a question I was curious about.
The Fourth Yes…
After Charles Dunstone left the stage, one of my friends asked me to join them for a drink again. I said Yes and agreed to the request. We chatted in the bar and enjoyed a beer. Woo should walk in but Charles Dunstone! I seized the opportunity and struck up a conversation with him: I was able to pick his billionaire brains about a few ideas and got to know him better. Most people would call that kind of networking opportunity good luck…really it was a product of saying yes.
Build a ‘Yes’ Chain!
Saying the odd yes here and there won’t do. That’s what everybody does. The power of yes truly reveals itself once you begin to build a chain of yeses. My story truly began in the middle of one such chain: it actually started back when somebody said I should build a website. If I hadn’t agreed to that suggestion then I would never have got the email that led to the opportunity to document the story you saw in the video!
Saying yes the first few times takes effort because you are relinquishing control. However, each Yes in the chain becomes easier. Agreeing to give a talk took time and effort. Joining a celebrity billionaire for a drink was a lot easier. A chain of agreements almost always leads to a profitable situation.
Say ‘Yes’ more… no matter how much that spoils your life. It’s only then you can fully appreciate the power of saying No…