In How to Get Lucky Max Gunther shows you how you get lucky. The fact is that some people really are luckier than others and not by accident. Lucky people arrange their lives in characteristic patterns. They tend to position themselves in the path of onrushing luck; they tend to go where events are moving fastest and where they can find their lucky break. Lucky people take risks but not silly ones. They stick with a cause, a job, or a partner, but not when all hope is lost. In short, they move with life, not against it.
Whatever your goals may be, have you achieved them?
Nearly all of us would have to answer no, we have not yet achieved our goals.
And why not?
Apply the question to your own life. What is it that has prevented you from getting where you want to be? Is it that you aren’t good enough? Or simply that you haven’t been lucky enough?
Most of us are ‘good’ in one way or another–good enough, as often as not, to reach whatever goals we have wished to set for ourselves. We have failed to reach those goals largerly because of a lack of luck.
Luck. Being in the right place at the right time. Knowing somebody who knew somebody. Being good simply is not enough.
Things to understand for luck-seekers
If there’s a single truth that a luck-seeker should comprehend above all others, it is that life is disorderly and cannot be lived successfully according to a plan. No matter how fine and flexible a plan one might devise, there will be times when the restless tides of life will make that plan unworkable. No matter what rules one might set up for oneself, there will be situations in which observance of those rules is difficult or just plain impossible.
3 Techniques for discovering and taking advantage of life’s good breaks
Tragedy, as taught in school and college, isn’t supposed to have any connection with bad luck. If you look for the working of luck, good and bad, in your favorite tales, you will discover that many a character does have a kind of tragic flaw.
- Dombey and Son, by Charles Dickens, fails to follow a zigzag path and then alienates his destiny partner.
Dombey runs a moderately prosperous importing business. He dreams of the day when his son will join him at the firm’s helm. When the boy falls ill and dies, Dombey is devastated. He never realizes that his daughter Florence, a loving and solidly capable young woman, could be the ‘and Son’ of the firm just as well as the boy could have–indeed, is in all respects the better qualified of the two.
Dombey allows bad luck to become worse luck. Hit by the bad luck of his son’s death, he could have zigzagged his way out of it by discarding his original plan and staying alert for new opportunities. Instead, he keeps his gaze riveted on that one dead plan–the plan of turning the firm over to his son. The firm gradually dies of neglect. Florence, the destiny partner who could have sold all Dombey’s problems, is never given the chance to try.
- Point of No Return, by John P. Marquand, fails to apply run cutting.
The hero of the novel is Charles Gray, a young man struggling up the executive ladder in a bank. Much of the story is a flashback to his memories of his father, John, whose tragic flaw was his inability or unwilligness to apply the technique ‘run cutting.’
John, an ineffectual dreamer, came into a modest inheritance in the mid-1920s and parlayed it into $350,000 in the soaring stock market of that period. His son urged him to cash at least some of his winnings out of the market before the run of luck ended, but John kept putting that off. When the run did end in the fall of 1929, John was wiped out instantly. He committed suicide.
Remembering this tragic event, Charles does a lot of thinking about luck–particularly the difficulty of abandoning runs before they have reached their peaks. He concludes that the most valuable rule in the conduct of his life will be what he calls ‘knowing when to stop’–what we call run cutting.
- Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, fails the luck selection–getting out of hard-luck ventures before they trap you
Anna Karenina can see early in her long affair with Count Vronsky that it can’t work, but she is unwilling to abandon what she has invested in it; and the longer she stays, the bigger the investment gets. She finally has to escape by throwing herself under the wheels of a train.