The 4 Types of Luck
Today at a Glance
- The Oxford Languages English dictionary defines luck as "success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions."
- But all you need to do is perform a simple search of the phrase "quotes on luck" to reveal a great many perspectives that differ from this definition. Maybe there is more to luck than meets the eye. Perhaps it's possible, as these quotes suggest, to manufacture luck.
- The most valuable framework I've encountered for thinking about luck: The 4 Types of Luck. The 4 types of luck are (1) Blind Luck, (2) Luck from Motion, (3) Luck from Awareness, and (4) Luck from Uniqueness.
What’s a Rich Text element?
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
Static and dynamic content editing
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. !
How to customize formatting for each rich text
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
The Oxford Languages English dictionary defines luck as "success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions."
But all you need to do is perform a simple search of the phrase "quotes on luck" to reveal a great many perspectives that differ from this definition:
"Diligence is the mother of good luck." - Benjamin Franklin
"Luck is where opportunity meets preparation." - Seneca
"Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get." - Ray Kroc
“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
So maybe there is more to luck than meets the eye. Perhaps it's possible, as these quotes suggest, to manufacture luck.
In today's piece, we will walk through the most valuable framework I've encountered for thinking about luck: The 4 Types of Luck.
The 4 Types of Luck
In 1978, a neurologist named Dr. James Austin published a book entitled Chase, Chance, & Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty.
In it, Dr. Austin proposed that there are four types of luck:
- Blind Luck
- Luck from Motion
- Luck from Awareness
- Luck from Uniqueness
Here's how to think about each type:
Type I: Blind Luck
"The good luck that occurs is completely accidental. It is pure blind luck that comes with no effort on our part."
Type I Luck is completely out of your control. It includes:
- Where you are born
- Who you are born to
- Base circumstances of your life
- "Acts of God"
Type I Luck covers the truly random occurrences of the universe.
Type I Example: You win the lottery.
Type II: Luck from Motion
"Something else has been added—motion...A certain [basic] level of action 'stirs up the pot', brings in random ideas that will collide and stick together in fresh combinations, lets chance operate."
Type II luck is a result of your motion.
You’re creating motion and collisions through hustle and energy that you are inserting into an ecosystem.
Type II Luck is derived through the expansion of your luck surface area from simple movement. The increase in collisions opens you up to more lucky events.
Type II Example: You start a new job and start saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way. You're working hard, running around, meeting new people, and connecting new connections whenever possible. You connect two of the people you met through taking on these opportunities and they start a business together and make you a small advisor because you connected them. It becomes a big business and you make $1 million. Your hustle and motion created this "lucky" event.
Type III: Luck from Awareness
"[Luck] presents only a faint clue, the potential opportunity exists, but it will be overlooked except by that one person uniquely equipped to observe it, visualize it conceptually, and fully grasp its significance. [Type III Luck] involves involves a special receptivity, discernment, and intuitive grasp of significance unique to one particular recipient."
Type III Luck is a result of your awareness and depth of understanding of a specific domain.
This depth of understanding within a given arena allows you to become very good at positioning yourself for lucky breaks to benefit you.
The entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant summarized this type of luck beautifully: "You become very good at spotting luck." You can “spot luck” from a mile away because of your depth of knowledge and experience.
Type III Example: You're an entrepreneur and you see the impressive pace at which generative AI is developing for creating images and art. You had been building around the NFT profile picture craze of 2021/22 and believe that generative AI profile pictures may represent a market with similar potential. You build a generative AI profile picture app and charge people to use it, making millions. Your mind was prepared for the "lucky" opportunity given your experience set.
Type IV: Luck from Uniqueness
"[Type IV Luck] comes to you, unsought, because of who you are and how you behave...the links of [Type] IV can be drawn together and fused only by one quixotic rider cantering in on his own homemade hobby horse to intercept the problem at an odd angle...[This type] favors those with distinctive, if not eccentric hobbies, personal lifestyles, and motor behaviors."
Type IV Luck occurs when your unique set of attributes attracts specific luck to you.
It actually seeks you out.
Type IV Example: You've spent years tinkering with generative AI models (way before they were cocktail party fodder). Your unique passion and earned expertise means that you're often called on by founders and CEOs building at the forefront of AI, and you're able to earn equity in a variety of interesting projects that will likely return millions. Your unique and quirky hobby attracts luck to you.
The Art & Science of Luck
Typically, Type I, Type II, and Type III Luck will arrive in stages:
- Type I dictates the early years of your life.
- Type II comes into play as you begin to hustle in your 20s.
- Type III sets in as you develop deep experience in your 30s and beyond.
Type IV is more dislocated from age dependency.
To help remember this framework, here is a beautiful infographic you can reference in future.
As a useful rule of thumb for your journey, always consider my Luck Razor:
When choosing between two paths, always choose the path that has a larger luck surface area. Ask yourself: Which of the two paths is more likely to lead to me getting lucky? Act accordingly.