Share Your Luck!

By radek

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Share Your Luck

You’re probably doing it already anyway. But this time, do it consciously.

  1. I was Lucky!
  2. Definition of Luck
  3. Examples of Luck
  4. Chaos organised
  5. Shared economy of Luck
  6. How to be Lucky
  7. Trust no one

1. I was Lucky!

Have you ever seen any of the “Road Rage” videos on YouTube? One of those where some mad driver is either misbehaving on the road, or, in more extreme cases, gets physically violent towards other drivers? I’m sure you have, they are both fun to watch and terrifying.

Fun, because it’s like a short action movie: there is some drama, violence and action. Terrifying, because that could have happened to every one of us.

So I though I better download one of the ride-recording apps to my smartphone, so that if similar situation happens to me, or I am a victim of a road accident, I have an evidence to back me up. And I did.

Last summer I had to drive to Linz, small town in northern Austria. I didn’t use the ride-recording app I downloaded though. Why? Because recording your ride is illegal in Austria and, when caught, can cost you around 10.000 euro.

How did I learn about that?

Just like the legendary example of a chewing gum in the “fine-city” of Singapore, you might arrive in a place where things you took for granted in your home country are not welcomed, or even illegal. What’s even more disturbing, there’s probably no way you could know that.

Singapore - The Fine City

In the places like that you really feel that only sky it the limit. Sky, and a very strict local law

We have google, true, but what exactly will you type in search bar? "What shall I avoid doing in X", or "what’s illegal in B"? You are basically asking for the entire legal code. I believe that’s not what you had in mind.

You might come across websites that did the work for you and listed down most of the things that are illegal in the place you’re heading to. Most, but not all of them.

You can alternatively take a wild guess and try to google every possible scenario of what could violate the local law. But realistically, doesn’t matter how creative you are, you just won’t come up with all the ideas what can be potentially illegal out there.

Let’s be honest — would you ever imagine there is a country where chewing gum is illegal? Or where recording your ride can cost you a round sum of money? Probably not.

If you learned that before you traveled, you might consider yourself lucky, because what are the odds that you will come across that kind of information without specifically looking for it? That you will be able to dig it out from the terabytes of information created daily on the internet?

While the odds are somewhere around zero, probably we allasi experienced that phenomenon several times in life. That moment, where that tiny scrap of knowledge we’ve found in the article, heard on TV news or been told by a friend happened to be incredibly useful at some point, usually sooner than later. We could have missed it, we could have chosen different article, different TV channel or talk to a fiend about different topic. But somehow that one grain of knowledge got planted in our unconsciousness, where it grew ready to be harvested in the perfect time, preventing us from danger and unpleasant situations.

I was reading a short Facebook post written by a group of people, who traveled the Europe by car. They posted two, three times a day, in order to keep their readers up to date. In one of those short posts, they mentioned “we don’t have the video of what happened because our lawyer friend told us recording the ride is illegal in Austria”.

That’s how I learned about it.

Spooky part: I liked their Facebook page only few days earlier, and I visit Facebook once every two, three days. What are the odds?

2. Definition of Luck

Article like that just begs to have a boring, scientific definition of the key word. Excerpt from Wikipedia that quotes Noah Webster:

Luck is "a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favourably or unfavourably for an individual, group or cause".

And Max Gunther:

"events that influence one’s life and are seemingly beyond one’s control"

But then we get Wiki’s own interpretation of Luck. 4 of them in fact:

  • lack of control
  • a fallacy
  • an essence
  • a self-fulfilling prophecy

In other words, we, human, invented the concept of Luck, while not being able to clearly define what it really is. Could that be a problem? Yes and no, because if your definition is the negative one, and you only can spot the luck when you’re not having it, then yes, that could be slowing you down a bit. On the other hand, since the Luck does not have clear boundaries, you can switch your thinking and notice that everything bad that didn’t happen to you, was already a Luck.

Think of it this way: nearly 1.3 million of people die annually in car accidents, 3,287 a day. You didn’t. Were those killed ones unlucky? Sure they were. But you are alive, comparing to those who passed away, you can definitely consider yourself a lucky one!

Glass half empty vs glass half full.

Optimist will only see pluses

Natural born optimists will see all the “pluses” before they realize it’s a cemetery

3. Examples of Luck

Chelsea Wald wrote a great article on Luck, containing more scientific data on the approach to the concept, and I do recommend you read it. I will quote the first paragraph, because it is a great introduction to what I want to write about, and hopefully will get you hooked on Chelsea’s post too.

In 1995, a wounded 35-year-old woman named Anat Ben-Tov gave an interview from her hospital room in Tel Aviv. She had just survived her second bus bombing in less than a year. “I have no luck, or I have all the luck,” she told reporters. “I’m not sure which it is.”

I have a friend who, in her early 20’s owned 2 flats and 1 brand new car. Believe it or not, she won them all in the lotteries and some kind of contests that required nothing else but luck. It wasn’t a sport or intellectual competition, it wasn’t the result of her preparing hard for that moment since she was 5 years old. No special skills were required, just putting her ticket to the bowl and hope that the total stranger who draws the tickets, will pick hers.

This is the obvious example that each of us would describe as “Lucky”. Winning the lottery is that kind of situation, because it gives equal chances to every individual, regardless his level of IQ, body shape, religious beliefs, skills, health, skin colour, etc. Yet, because of there almost being no criteria who can participate, it attract masses, hence the chance of winning are impossibly low for everyone except… exactly, that one lucky person.

So if you narrow the definition of luck to that very rare example, you are most likely not to experience “Luck” in your entire life, not only giving yourself a permission to come up with excuses why your life is not as good as you’d like it to be. You probably won’t even try to do something about it, because “you’re not the lucky one”. How convenient!

What I’d recommend is that you start looking at luck differently. I’ll show you how I see it.

Think of the journey you make to your work. Nothing special, right? You walk to the nearest bus stop, station or to your car, you hop on, you sit down and remain bored for the next 30 minutes. You arrive at work. Nothing special, right?

Think of the journey you make to work differently. You walk to the nearest bus stop, station or to your car. You are too late, the bus closed the door right in front of your face, or you forgot to switch off the light in your car previous night, and now the motor won’t start. Even if you managed to get on the bus on time, there’s not a single empty seat, guy next to you is listening to the music really loud while eating smelly kebab. Your plan to read the book failed, because you have the new one — arrive at work without mayonnaise-covered tomato slice from the passenger's kebab on your shirt.

Here’s what happened to me once. I landed a new job in central London, my first day was Wednesday. I like to make a good impression, so I woke up early enough to be there ahead of time. Because I arrived to London a night before, I didn’t know much about planned for that day TfL (Transport for London) strike.

So I left home, I had to walk for about 10 minutes to the nearest bus stop in a typical London light shower. I waited for the bus. 5 minutes… 10 minutes… I started to worry a bit. 20 minutes passed and I knew at that time that in the best case scenario I will be at work right on time, but more likely late. The bus arrived, totally packed. The driver stopped on the bus stop only to let few people out, but didn’t even open the door for those waiting outside, because the bus was already overloaded.

It became clear that further waiting for the next bus makes no sense, and I’ll be better off walking until I reach the bus stop where more buses pass by, increasing my chances to be less late.

So in that rain I walk really fast for another 10 minutes, eventually I see another bus approaching. So I run towards the bus stop to catch it, and hey! First sign of luck that day, I made it! The driver opens the door, I managed to squeeze in. I’m inside, I’m warm, I have a roof over my head, I’m good to go.

The only problem is, we’re not much going.

Because of the strike, many people decided to take cars or cabs to work, causing incredible traffic jam. We’re basically standing, only moving few meters every minute. I see people twice older than me or mothers with buggies, walking faster than the bus I’m on. I leaned out to see how the road ahead of me looks like. It was totally jammed, so jammed I realized that there is no point staying on the bus any longer.

I pressed the emergency exit button and left the bus, so I could continue the walk. I knew that there’s that cursed roundabout at the end of the Old Kent Road, and that’s probably where the problem is. It’s approximately 15 minutes walk from where I was, which I wouldn’t mind, if not the fact that by now I should be already at work.

Eventually I reached the roundabout that, as I assumed, was incredibly jammed. Luckily the outbound road I was heading to was pretty empty from here on. I reached the bus stop and got on the bus. Wrote a quick message to my team leader, apologizing for the delay.

Finally I arrived at the office. 40 minutes late, wet on the inside from the sweat, and wet on the outside from he rain.

From that day on, I saw each undisturbed journey to work, where I could sit comfortably on the bus seat reading the book, as a stroke of luck.

We are London Buses, we love to stop and not tell you why

You know you’re lucky when you arrived at work on time using London public transport

If you switch your mindset a little bit and start to see luck as everything bad that didn’t happen to you, you will start to appreciate simple things. Things that other people would die to have. 

You might be having a job that you love, or business that goes well. You are healthy for your age, you have a wife / husband / partner you love and to die for, maybe a kid or bunch of them. You have few friends you can totally rely on, and they can rely on you. You have traveled to few countries, you’ve seen beautiful things, or you stayed entire life where you are, but feel more fulfilled that people doing all kind of things to fill the hole of not knowing their life purpose. You went grocery shopping yesterday and came back in one piece. You have eyes that let you watch the beauty of the morning sun drinking your first coffee in the kitchen.

Ordinary? Speak to the ones that don’t have what you have, to whom bad things happened when they least expected it. Speak to disabled ones.

4. Chaos organised

The reason why I mentioned the Austria story at the beginning of the article is that that’s really that type of luck I would like to focus on. The luck of getting just the right scrap of information. Small, but sufficient one.

The number of data available online is unmeasurable, literally every second we are flooded with terabytes of text, photos, videos, podcasts etc. And here you are, trying to accomplish something. You search it up, first 10 pages on google: “25 proven methods to do X”, “10 best was to achieve Y”, “99 bullet-proof strategies to nail down Z”…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the authors of those articles had their best intentions in mind when writing the article, and I’m sure it worked for them. But will that work equally well for you? Probably not.

That’s the moment we start to curse the great blessing of abundance. Contrary to what we might be thinking, having too many choices is not helpful. The more we have to choose from, the more we get confused, the more we want to make sure we've made the best choice, and the more we try to avoid the feeling of disappointment if not making the right one. Probably the reason why Apple is such a popular device. In most cases the only choice you have to make is between the black and white case colour.

But now you have a problem to solve, thousands of opinions, articles, perspectives, how-to guides, and only 24 hours a day.

So how to handle too much information? My suggestion is — pick one or two sources that you trust. Seriously, don’t try to open in new tab every article related to the topic you’re after. Probably you won’t be able to process it all, and probably the information there will be contradictory to the ones you read previously, leaving you more confused. Information from those selected 1 — 2 resources will still be far more than you can chew.

I'll read it later

Let’s not play games and just admit, your browsed looks similar!

But what if I one of the article I’m about to miss contains that magic formula, that ultimate advice that will spin my life around, the holy grail of every life-goal?

Well, you already missed those advice so many times in life that you should just let it go. I was lucky to read about ride recording ban in Austria, but I didn’t read many other things that maybe would make my life easier. And, once in a while, by accident, I will come across the advice that will spin my life around or at least will make me wonder how I managed to survive for so many years not knowing THAT!? But I did, and so did you. Keep it simple.

5. Shared economy of luck

There were many reasons for us to come up with and build . When I tried business for the first time, I had to learn a lot, I basically didn’t know where to start. Once I though I figured it out, it only got worse. Now I had to register to many message boards and ask the same question. I knew that all I need is that one gem, one simple, short, to-the-point answer that will help me make the next step. And that almost never happened: in the lucky case of my topic not getting totally ignored (and disappeared from the first page), answers were either discouraging (“you should study more before you post your question”, “they switched off your google?”), too long and too complex, and almost always there was someone not agreeing with that answers, so eventually my tread turned into 5 pages discussion between two guys throwing more and more scientific data at each other. And all I needed was a simple, one sentence long advice.

So we came up with a layout that will prevent that, prevent you from being discouraged, prevent you from getting links to 100 sources that you “should” read before even getting started, prevent you from getting answers so complex that might overwhelm you.

250 characters limit. Period!

We’re making sure the answers will be short and to the point

Who will be sharing the advice. I will. You will. Everyone will. We all will be sharing what we’ve learned.

Here’s the funny part — we tend to think the advice can be only given by a mentor or someone with professional qualifications. But that’s the main point of this blog post. Since we all experienced that phenomenon of being given amazing advice randomly, instead of keeping it for ourselves, let’s share it. We all are amazing walking computers with instant-access to unique information stored in our brains, sometimes useful, sometimes life saving! Why not share it?

Are you intimidated that someone thinks your advice is no good? Or maybe you think that you’re not qualified in that particular field, so your advice sounds naive?

In one of my other blog posts "9 best productivity tips that will prevent you from failing in 2017" I elaborated bit more on that. We tend to get obsessed with “expert advice”, we assume that the advice given by the qualified professional is valuable more than the advice from someone who doesn’t have a respectful titulature before their name.

Everyone can call themselves an “expert” these days. There’s countless number of examples where the medical advice given by a “civilian” helped more than the professional one given by a doctor who made a wrong diagnosis. And with today’s fast changing technology, expert advice from yesterday can be obsolete today. Never mind great inventions made by people who just found a way to fix their problem, not by bunch of scientists locked in the lab since 1994.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean that the expert advice is useless and overrated. Quite the opposite. But my point is you should try them both, sometime the professional advice will do the miracles, but sometimes your grandmother’s tips will have even better results. If one didn’t work, try another. We are too different to have the same advice applicable to each of us.

So if you see a question that you think you can answer, please don’t let anything hold you back. Share what you know, share what you've learned, share that one great bit of wisdom you were Lucky to come across. Share your Luck!

6. How to be lucky

“The harder I work, the more luck I have” is a famous and very smart quote by… good question!

Once you start to believe luck is something you can work on, reframe or create, you can make your first steps towards more positive attitude, which, as a matter of fact, might help you become lucky.

As with everything in life, I do not believe in there being one ultimate solution for your problem. Just as in , the whole joy of achieving your goal should be trying what works best for you and reject things that don’t — even if that’s the advice you’ve been given by your ultimate role model whom you totally trust.

While collecting data and different points of views on the topic of luck, I came across Nadia’s blogpost on that very matter. She did an excellent work putting together a guide that undoubtedly will make you more lucky, assuming you are the person that believes luck can be worked on.

You will find it easier if you believe in Law of Attraction, indeed many of the steps listed by Nadia share the same principles. There’s a great scene from 1998 movie “Pi”. Here the Sol explains that once you get obsessed with (in this case) number, you start to see it everywhere. Now that we know how human brain works, let’s use that obsession to find the Luck!

"You want to find the number 216 in the world, you will be able to find it everywhere"

But hang on, doesn’t that in a way contradicts what I wrote few paragraphs above? It does, but that’s the point — there is no one way we define luck, and you should find the one that suits you most. Exposing you to more than one perspective will help you making a choice, or find your own, balanced one.

7. Trust no one

Don’t believe in everything I wrote here, but don’t reject it either. There’s no one ultimate truth, no ultimate definition of Luck, and sure not one universal way on how to find it. Trust your gut, if what you read makes sense to you, through your experienced eyes, try it out. Didn’t work? Try something else.

Because as much as I believe there is no one best way for everyone to achieve something, there is one very good way to achieve something for you. Your only job is to find it. And then share it.

What comes around, goes around. Including Luck

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