February 3, 2008

Making Your Own Luck

There are studies that show that some people really are luckier than others. But, the catch is that we make our own luck. You have to put yourself in a position where you have the chance to be lucky. For example, you aren't going to meet interesting friends if you spend all your time hanging out alone; you aren't going to win a Pulitzer Prize unless you begin writing; and you aren't going to start a cool new company unless you take the risk of starting one. As my wise father always said, "the harder you work, the luckier you get."

Here is a funny story that illustrates the point: One day I was at the grocery store and a man asked me a question about making canned lemonade. He had an unusual accent that I couldn't quite place. I answered his question about the lemonade, but didn't stop there... By the time we both left the store, I had learned that he was from Chile and was in Silicon Valley for two years to learn about entrepreneurship. His family in Chile owned many businesses and he was in line to take over the helm. He wanted to gain the tools to make the company more innovative and entrepreneurial. I offered to help him as best I could.

Two years later I found myself in Santiago, Chile and looked him up. He couldn't meet me due to prior obligations, but told me to bring some friends with me and go to an office building in the center of the city. When we arrived, we were treated to a private helicopter ride from the roof of the building up to his family's private ski resort in the mountains, and back again. I was sure lucky!

All this from talking to a stranger in my local grocery store...

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