Why You Are Never Lucky
And how to actually turn this around.
John was never lucky. Or at least that’s how he tells himself. There was news of people hitting the lottery jackpot but it was never him. He was pissed at God for being unfair towards him.
One day he just couldn’t take it anymore and he confronted God when he was praying: “Why do you make my life so unlucky? If you could just let me win the lottery for once and my life will be better!”
Suddenly, there was a radiant light shining from above. What follows is a figure descending from the heavens. At that moment, John couldn’t believe what was happening — God actually came to talk to him after listening about his unlucky life:
“For my sake, can you please go and buy a lottery already?”
If you want to get lucky, you have to get into the game
John wanted to win the lottery so much but he never actually bought one. He spent his entire life being jealous of the people who got lucky without actually trying his luck.
You have to take your chances if you want to be lucky. You can’t expect to get laid if you don’t even take the first step to approach people. The same goes for business, education, and whatever else that matters to you. No one’s going to hand you what you want on a silver platter if you’re not even in the game.
This also means you should be ready to bear any losses or rejection before you finally hit the jackpot. People win because they are willing to lose. And that means handling rejection and disappointments along the way.
Here’s some good news — you usually get luckier the next time around. But you have to at least start getting your feet wet.
The longer you are in the game, the luckier you get
Have you ever wondered why casinos almost always make money?
This is because they are willing to gamble longer than anyone else. People visit casinos to gamble once in a while, but casinos themselves are always open to everyone, so they are always in the game.
A scientific word for luck is probability. And probability can mean something lucky happening X times out of Y times of encounters.
So by staying longer in the game (e.g. business, sports, career), you can actually improve your chances of hitting the home run because you’re increasing the “encounters”.
Some crude examples:
- Buy more lotteries and you have a higher chance of hitting the jackpot;
- Shoot more hoops and you tend to score more lucky shots;
- Working in a company longer means you’re more likely to encounter promotion opportunities within the company;
“Trying” to be lucky
The more effort you put in, the luckier you get. This applies to most things in life. Luck is usually represented with the following equation:
Luck = Opportunity + Preparation
This means having the perfect conditions met. Doing the right thing, at the right time, at the right place where all the planets are aligned.
With knowledge and practice, you learn how to better optimize “luck” to happen by improving the conditions. Let’s take a basketball half-court shot for example.
Hitting a half-court shot in basketball games is usually considered to be lucky even for NBA players. You can theoretically increase your chances of hitting half-court shots by doing the following:
- Frequent strength training so that your muscles are strong enough to actually shoot the basketball (Preparation);
- Optimizing your shooting form (Preparation);
- Practice half-court shots (Preparation);
- Participate in more games (Opportunity);
- Choose a position like Point Guard or Shoot Guard that’s more likely to get the ball at the half-court area (Opportunity)
There are a lot more things you can do to improve the odds of being lucky. However, as shown in the example above, you will need to have proper knowledge about the game to actually be able to prepare for luck to happen.
If you’re looking to “get lucky”, reading books or binge-watching YouTube videos about the topic is a good way to start piling on knowledge.
Luck as a villain
Humans are biased.
As much as we are trying to close the gap on inequalities, being biased is our nature. And one of the biggest biases that we have is that we tend to take credit for our achievements and blame our misfortunes on others.
When something great happens, it’s probably because of the blood, sweat, and tears we shed; also, it must be others’ fault when shit hits the fan.
It’s easy to blame luck for all the shit that’s happening in our life. On the flip side, taking accountability for your mistakes is hard. This would mean you have to admit that you fucked up which is not the most pleasant experience.
The fact is, luck does play a part in causing chaos in our lives. However, there will always be some degree of control that you have — and that’s your attitude and response.
You can start reflecting and doing something to improve your life, or keep pushing the responsibilities to luck and let it decide your fate.