THE BOOK

The Ramblings
of a Serial
Entrepreneur

I Hacked Luck (Not What I Expected)

I hacked luck, and things got very, very interesting.

We think of “luck” (good or bad) as something happening that’s out of your control.
We assume that because there is such a thing as luck, our outcomes are by chance.

But that’s not true.

Our outcomes are a combination of:

  • things we control, and
  • things we don’t control

For the things we don’t control, we can break it down further to

  • things we can’t control at all (a “lottery” situation)
  • things where we can influence the outcome

For example, I can’t 100% control whether I hit my sales target. There could be a recession, my sales team might quit. But I sure can influence the outcome – by my inputs (activities). It’s far more likely I’ll hit the target if I work on how many calls the team is making.

So in reality, there’s a spectrum between control and luck:

  1. Things we can control (building processes so you know X happens, then Y next)
  2. Things we can influence to varying degrees (where activities influence results)
  3. Things where we have no control whatsoever (lottery)

Here’s how to hack luck:

We can totally ignore # 3, because we have no control – so we can just let go and not worry about it.

We won’t ignore # 1, but it’s easy. Those things we can control, we build operating manuals and software to make them recur reliably. We can’t think that these things are all it takes to succeed, because of the middle category.

Now # 2 is very interesting, because actions can increase the surface area for luck to strike us. Even if we can’t 100% control when good luck strikes, if we do things that increase the odds of it happening, we’re creating luck.

The straightforward way of this is “do more:” make more sales calls, ask more girls out, put out more social posts. And that’s good, but not good enough.
We can be smarter about it: don’t just do more, but each time you do, document and learn:

  • “I’m trying this, and I think it’s more likely to do well because…”
  • (try it)
  • “I tried it and this happened… which means that the next thing I should try is…”

Doing more alone could work, but it’s a shotgun strategy. Instead – if we use a feedback loop, we bend luck in our direction. We do things that are more likely to get the result we want.
With more ‘at bats,’ with attention to increasing the surface area for luck to strike, we’ve just hacked luck.

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