“Luck surrounds us every day; we are constantly having lucky things happen to us, whether you recognize it or not. I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.” – Richard Branson
Look around you and you will find motivated, hardworking and dedicated people in the pursuit of success. However, more than 90% of all startups fail in the first 5 years. Talk to any successful entrepreneur and you will discover that they just happened to be at the right place at the right time. What a stroke of luck! Is this what differentiates the successful entrepreneurs?
Jean-Baptiste Say, a French economist, is believed to have coined the word “entrepreneur” from the French word, entreprendre, which means “to undertake.” in the 19th century – a person who is willing to launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcome. When a person becomes an entrepreneur by deciding to start a business they are acting on an opportunity that they believe will satisfy a need both for consumers (a product or service) and themselves (independence, wealth, fame).
Successful entrepreneurs are successful because they made a lot of careful and calculated decisions, and had enough motivation to take action at a point in time. They saw opportunity, the chance to be “lucky” and decided to go for it given they had the skills to make it happen. There is a growing brand of entrepreneurs, academics and thinkers dedicated to the idea that business owners can actually create and manage luck.
Wiseman, a psychologist studied what makes some people lucky and others not and claims that he’s cracked the code. Luck isn’t due to kismet, karma, or coincidence, he says. Instead, lucky folks — without even knowing it — think and behave in ways that create good fortune in their lives. In his new book, The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles , Wiseman reveals four approaches to life that turn certain people into luck magnets.
The best explanation on luck and the mechanics of being lucky was at an entrepreneurship seminar a couple of years ago. The speaker defined luck as:
L – location: Who chooses where you place yourself every day? Are you so busy doing work that there is no time to see the opportunity? It is similar to being at a football field where good players always seem to be at the right spots to pass or score goals. Rather than waiting for the ball without even noticing that the game has moved to another location.
U- understanding: At the critical moment when we are at the right place and right time it is the understanding that differentiates success from failure. When the ball is in front of the goal, we might find ourselves at the right place, right time, but must also have the understanding of the reason we are there: to kick the ball into the goal.
C – connections: It is the network of the people we know and work with that is our greatest strength. Invest in your network and team– the players who should be kicking us the ball. A network is not a pile of cards but a growing relationship with business players to receive and give opportunities.
K – knowledge: There’s no point having opportunities come our way if we do not know what to do with them. Knowing how to kick the ball, and the rules of the game come with playing the game. On the football field, it seems that the successful players seem to know where the ball will go.
Creating luck is about noticing and taking opportunities. As an entrepreneur, your mind is trained to look for things and observing opportunities. With the right connections and being visible, you get approached by people who have ideas who want to work with you. That often means taking risks, and some opportunities don’t work out. As Louis Pasteur said “Chance favors the prepared mind.”