How to Get Lucky
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Today at a Glance
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Today at a Glance:
- Much of what we come to call "luck" is actually the macro result of 1,000s of micro actions. Your daily habits put you in a position where “luck” is more likely to strike.
- In order to get lucky, you have to remove the “black holes” (anti-luck) from your existence. You have to take actions to expand your personal luck surface area.
- Today’s piece shares 20 ways to expand your luck surface area.
How to Get Lucky
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.” - Benjamin Franklin
“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.” - Serena Williams
“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Luck is an interesting concept.
There is certainly “luck” that is uncontrollable—pure and raw. Where you are born, who you are born to, and the base circumstances of your life all fall into this category of luck.
But as we push beyond this baseline, the concept of luck morphs into something more impure and fluid.
In fact, I believe that much of what we come to call "luck" is actually the macro result of 1,000s of micro actions. Your daily habits put you in a position where “luck” is more likely to strike.
Interstellar & Luck Surface Area
In the movie Interstellar (slight spoiler if you haven’t seen it!), there’s a scene in which the main characters discuss the habitability of a planet on the edge of a large black hole.
The protagonists realize that the proximity to the black hole makes life unlikely to exist on the planet—the black hole absorbed all of the “lucky” events that might have been the spark for life. The asteroids carrying the seeds of life, the chance collisions—none of them could occur because the “luck surface area” of the planet was minuscule given its proximity to the all-absorbing black hole.
I think about this scene a lot—it’s a sneakily powerful metaphor for life.
In order to get lucky, you have to remove the “black holes” from your existence. You have to take actions to expand your personal luck surface area.
In today’s piece, I’d like to get you started on this journey…
Here are 20 ways to expand your luck surface area:
Be the Dumbest in the Room
If you have a choice between entering two rooms, choose the room where you are more likely to be the dumbest one in the room.
Once you’re in the room, talk less and listen more. It’s bad for your ego, but it’s great for luck.
Good things tend to happen in these rooms.
Hang Out With Optimists
Pessimists sound smart, optimists get rich.
When choosing who to spend time with, prioritize spending time with optimists. Pessimists see the doors that are closed. Optimists see the doors that are open—and probably kick down the closed doors.
Pessimists are “black holes” in your life that need to be removed in order for you to get lucky.
Get in the Arena
There's no luck on the sidelines—the arena is where it strikes.
It's lonely and vulnerable, but it's the only path that bears real fruit. When faced with two paths, choose the path that puts you in the arena—where collisions happen, where luck can strike.
Furthermore, surround yourself with people who are also in the arena. Sideline rock slingers never get lucky.
Write in Public
When you write and publish your ideas and insights, you are casting a web of magnets out into the world.
Those ideas and insights will attract some people to you—and perhaps repel others.
As your web grows, the connections—and luck—compound accordingly.
Sahil Note: I am a testament to this fact. My luck has increased significantly since I started writing in public. There are no qualifications or requirements to get started—just energy.
Talk to Strangers
"Don't talk to strangers" is a classic we are told as children—the residue of which carries into adulthood for far too many people.
New relationships spark new ideas, insights, and opportunities—these compound just as well as any financial investment.
Broad Network = Broad Luck.
"There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met." - William Butler Yeats
Send More Cold Emails
Cold emails are responsible for some of the biggest breaks in my life—new mentors, relationships, and career opportunities.
Cold emails are a force multiplier for your efforts.
Follow the principles in my Cold Email Guide to enhance your odds of success.
Always remember: Shooters shoot.
Schedule Free Time
The idea that free time is bad is one of the greatest lies you’ve been told.
In investing, it’s often said that cash is a call option on future interesting investments. Well, in life, I believe that free time is a call option on future interesting opportunities. When you have free time, you have the headspace to pursue new ideas and go down rabbit holes.
Plan for more of it.
Ruthlessly Eliminate Negativity
Everyone has a few negative people in their circle. They tell you to be realistic. They laugh at your ambition. They argue.
Eliminate this negativity from your life. It's a boat anchor—a major black hole—cut the damn line and run away from it as fast as you can.
Negative people are quite literally the anti-luck.
Embrace the Unexpected
You should spend your 20s saying yes to almost everything.
Saying yes puts you into uncomfortable situations that lead to new relationships, opportunities, and growth.
These unexpected moments are luck-rich. Embracing them is how you capitalize.
When you have a bias for motion, good things happen. You create more random collisions in your ecosystems—it’s like chaos theory.
A bit of hustle goes a long way.
“There’s luck through persistence, hard work, hustle, and motion. This is when you’re running around creating opportunities. You’re generating a lot of energy, you’re doing a lot to stir things up. It’s almost like mixing a petri dish or mixing a bunch of reagents and seeing what combines. You’re just generating enough force, hustle, and energy for luck to find you.” - Naval Ravikant
Trust the Weekend Test
"What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years." - Chris Dixon
Observe the weekend projects of the smartest people in your circles. These passion projects are disproportionately likely to be a looking glass into the future.
Make asymmetric bets on these areas.
Create Value Without Expectations
The best things in life come to those who create value with no expectation of a return.
I don't know how it happens, but when you put out good energy, it tends to come back to you—often multiplied.
Be genuine. Create value. Good things will happen.
Put Skin in the Game
I have a rule: Once I've heard about something from 3 smart friends, I put some skin in the game with a bit of money. I have a flat amount that I automatically put into things of this nature.
I’d encourage you to give this a shot. Establish your rule at whatever level of base investment you’re comfortable with.
The skin in the game forces me to dive deeper. Sometimes I learn more and fold; more often I learn more and double down. These are small bets with outsized returns.
Get Out & Engage
It’s hard to get lucky watching Netflix at home on the couch.
It’s (relatively) easy to get lucky when you’re engaging with people, interacting, and learning—in physical or digital worlds.
Spend more time engaging and you'll find yourself in more positions to get lucky.
Become an Expert
If you are exceptional at one specific thing, luck tends to find you.
Your expertise becomes a magnet for new and interesting opportunities you never knew existed.
Public awareness of your expertise is a plus. Share your work to widen the reach of your magnet.
We really need to normalize boredom. Some of your most creative moments come during periods of boredom.
On a walk, in the shower, at a dinner by yourself. You’re bored, your mind wanders, your thoughts mingle. Bam! Insight strikes.
Boredom creates luck. Go for more walks (sans technology), go for more drives, sit quietly and think. You’ll never regret it.
Send More Cold DMs
Twitter is an insanely valuable resource if you use it well.
You can literally reach almost anyone in the world from your couch. I've connected with many amazing people through sending them a cold DM—including when I had very few followers.
Use my simple guide to hack the process. Shoot your shot.
Spend Time in Digital Communities
The world has changed—you no longer need to live in a big city or have a fancy degree to connect and build valuable relationships.
The rise of digital communities is real. Consider the fact that one of the co-founders of the largest play-to-earn game in the world started out as a member in the community in the very early days (now he’s worth tens of millions!). The opportunity playing field is leveling out.
Join a Discord, engage in good faith. Create value, receive value.
Ask Great Cold Questions
When you meet new people, find ways to stand out. Asking great questions is a clear way.
A few of my favorites:
- What are you most excited about that you're working on right now?
- What is your favorite book that you’ve read recently?
- I know almost nothing about your field of expertise. Can you tell me more about that?
It gets the other person talking—plus they’ll remember you for future opportunities.
Follow Your Curiosity
Humans are born with astonishing curiosity. But somewhere along the way, we're told to stop asking questions.
Learn to follow your curiosity—trust it. Curiosity drives you to knock down doors and enter new rooms.
Fortune favors the curious.
There you have it: 20 ways to get lucky by expanding your luck surface area.
I’d love to hear from you. What am I missing? Comment below!
If you enjoyed this, consider sharing it with your network so I can continue to grow this amazing curiosity tribe. Thank you for joining me on the journey!
Until next time, as always, stay curious, friends!