Sorry to be a party pooper, but it's not true. The world is fanstastically more complex than one that succumbs to your desires just because you want it so. Instead, there are millions of variables at play. The only things you can control are your thoughts and your actions (this is wonderfully liberating). So thinking of strategies to take advantage of serendipity is a wonderfully sensible move to try and maximise your chances of "success" (what ever that is for you :-))
From my perspective, the strategies I've found most useful from How To Get Lucky, particulary when combined, are as follows:
FIND THE FAST FLOW (go where events flow fastest - high concentration of people) +
RISK SPOONING (considering risk/reward ratios - never play Russian Roulette no matter the reward) +
WORST CASE ANALYSIS (assess and ensure you can handle the worst case scenario before committing) +
RUN CUTTING / LUCK SELCTION (take the gains / cut your losses) +
JUGGLING ACT/ZIG-ZAG PATH (opportunites can come from any where / life is not a straight line)
Full Book Notes
1. Making The Luck/Planning Distinction
Recognise, acknowledge and make the luck/planning distinction when something happens.
Good and bad luck is prevalent in everyone’s life.
Recognise, acknowledge and make the distinction between luck and planning. (X% Planning, Y% Luck)
Ignoring the role of luck is a recipe for bad luck.
2. Finding The Fast Flow
Go where events flow fastest. Lots of people. Contact. Get involved.
Find good luck by going where events flow fastest.
Surround yourself with a churning mass of people and things happen.
The lucky personality gets to know everybody in sight: the rich and poor, the famous and humble, the sociable and even the friendless and the cranky.
People who get dead-ended are very often people who allow themselves to become isolated.
If you aren’t in a network, no one is ever going to steer anything your way.
The big breaks flow through contacts between people. (it is necessary for them to know what you would consider a lucky break)
Go where events flow fastest. It means make contact with people. Get involved. Don’t be a sideliner, watching events flow past. Plunge into the events yourself.
3. Risk Spooning
Assess the risk/reward ratio and take risks.
You must take risks - assess risk/reward ratio.
Risk is a necessary ingredient of every successful life. Risk puts you in a position to win.
4. Run Cutting
Short runs are more common than long ones. You don’t know when your run will stop. So stop early and take the gains (quit while you’re ahead).
Runs of luck always end sooner than you expect.
Cut your losses but also don’t be greedy - quit while ahead.
You can’t tell in advance when a run is going to end, so preserve your gains by jumping off early in the game. Don’t push your luck. (shorter runs are more common than long ones - think coin toss and probability decreasing re number of heads in a row).
The consistently lucky are the run cutters.
5. Luck Selection
If something isn’t working, bail out and cut losses short. Seek better luck in a different venture.
The lucky reaction is to wait a short time and see if the problems can be fixed or will go away. If the answer is no, bail out. Cut losses short.
Discard bad luck (don’t succumb to sunk cost fallacy). If a ___ isn’t working, discard it; free yourself to seek better luck in a different venture.
6. The Zigzag Path
There are opportunities everywhere - keep your eyes open to them all. Take advantage of serendipity.
The lucky, alert to the luck/planning distinction, are aware that life is going to be a turbulent sea of opportunities drifting randomly past in all directions. If you put blinders on yourself so that you can only see straight ahead, you will miss nearly everything.
“I like to take advantage of serendipity”
7. Constructive Supernaturalism
Use “something” to help you make a choice to nudge you in a direction.
“something” to nudge you into making a choice. (a lucky number, a lucky charm, something like that)
8. Worst-Case Analysis
Luck is involved - what is the worst case? How will I adapt if it happens? Worst case scenario and cut losses short if things go wrong.
“luck is involved. What are the bits not in my control? How can this go wrong? If the worst thing happens, what will I do to save myself?”
Professional gamblers win because they reject optimism. They apply the Fifth Technique: the trick of selecting luck, of abandoning any venture rapidly when it turns sour. And they apply the Eighth Technique: the trick of worst-case analysis.
9. The Closed Mouth
Unnecessary talk can become a barrier against lucky breaks.
Unnecessary talk can become a barrier against lucky breaks.
Talk can tie you up, lick you into positions that may seem right today but wrong tomorrow.
Avoid unnecessary talk about your problems, plans and feelings. When there is no good reason to say something, say nothing.
“I have often regretted my speech but never my silence.”
10. Recognizing A Non-Lesson
Don’t mistake a lesson for good/bad luck.
Don’t make generalisations when good/bad luck is a likely factor. (remember to make the distinction between luck and planning)
11. Accepting An Unfair Universe
Life can be disorderly and unfair. (fairness is a human concept) Accept it.
12. The Juggling Act
The luckier are busier - many ventures - better odds that some kind of lucky break will come your way - you never know which one it may be.
12 (The Juggling Act) + 2 (Fast Flow Orientation) + 6 (The Zigzag Path)
13. Desting Pairing
Find people you have a connection with. Maximise opportunities with them.
The Secret Of Luck
Interestingly, the illusionist, magician, psychological manipulator and all round genius Derren Brown conducted a Social Experiment on luck and filmed it for a TV show. He attempted to convince a local community that a staute of a dog in their town was "lucky". The show detailed how various people responded when convinced they had luck on their side (or not). Within the show, there is detailed an account of one man who had convinced himself that he had dreadful luck. Derren Brown places many opportunites in this mans path where he could have benefited from "luck". Instead, he was oblivious to the gifts presented before him (where as others with a less gloomy outlook benefited accordingly), establshing that our mindsets really do influence our outcomes. Remember, according to Stoicism, we only really have control over our thoughts and our actions. But when considered meaningfully, this is a very powerful set of tools.
You can watch the full Derren Brown Social Experiment On Luck here (44 mins) - it's very entertaining and worth a watch. Pair it with How To Get Lucky.