You’ve got to play to win


“There was once a man named Goldberg who wanted nothing more than to be rich. So each day he went the synagogue and prayed to God to win the lottery. This went on for days, weeks, months, and years, but Goldberg never won. Eventually, Goldberg was at his wit’s end. Praying to God, he said, “You have really let me down.” Suddenly the silence was broken and God responded in a booming voice, “Goldberg, you’ve got to help me out here. You could at least buy a ticket!”

Tina Seelig, What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

Winning a coin toss

winning a coin toss_luck.png

“There never was a man who could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street today, and another tomorrow, and so on, day after day. He may do so once in his life; but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it.” — PT Barnum

At some point in your life, you’ve probably been lucky. And while you have more luck to come, there will be pitfalls along the way. Such is the sine wave that is life.

As John Berger wrote, “You can plan events, but if they go according to your plan they are not events.”

Good photographers always seem to be in the right place at the right time. That’s because they are in a position to capture the magical shot when it happens.

With the right intentions, you can manufacture your own luck. But you want long-term serotonin over short-term dopamine.

A harsh test always follows beginner’s luck. And that is when you’ll know if the destination was meant for you.

“It’s called the principle of favorability, beginner’s luck. Because life wants you to achieve your Personal Legend.” The Alchemist 

7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I release a pack of links that inspire me to think differently about the world we live in. The road is better than the end, isn’t it?

1. Wanting To Be Normal

Normal means having a house and a relationship. These things are supposed to create a life of happiness. But normal is boring and unconscious, what psychiatrist Tania Glyde refers to as “Happily being, without mentally doing; living as an existential lily of the field.” Being normal is hard. Emotions and struggles force you to think outside the box and deepen perspective. Story short, it sucks to be normal. Be weird instead.

+ Financial Times: The secret to happiness may be low expectations. Constrict choice, create happiness.

2. Time Bias

Don’t judge a book by its cover. The old adage rings true for the online world as well where news sites are providing estimated reading times. You can’t judge content on the amount of estimated minutes it takes to read. You may miss the good stuff, like Frank Chimero’s piece on content consumption and time management.

+ Shawn Blanc: Shawn finally watches Jiro Dreams of Sushi and realizes its about creating good work just as much as it’s about consuming good work.

3. Saying “No”

Say “no” makes you makes you more creative because it frees up the time you need to do the real, primary work. As Kevin Ashton writes, “Time is the raw material of creation.”

+ Crew Blog: Restrict checking email because it inhibits work flow. Suggestion: Focus on what’s important with email breaks in between.

4. The Indies

Who would the masses have to steal cool ideas from if it weren’t for the independent creators driving innovation? The Indies, whether’s a bedroom musician or app creator, can make the things they want and love without having to appease a larger audience. Naturally, they attract the fans that fill their niche. As Brent Simmons explains, “Inventiveness, passion, and courage comes from indies, not from people who watch the bottom line.”

5. Get Lucky

Lucky people are “lucky” because they’re less anxious and more open to opportunities. They don’t look for perfect like the unlucky person does. They look to embrace the moment instead. Lucky people see the positive in their misfortunes.

6. Weird Science

Science is based on what we know now and changes based on the latest continually evolving evidence. Unlike religion, science has not truths. It can’t be Googled. As professor Amy Meyer writes, “Science is a continual challenging of common sense, and the core of science is not certainty, it’s continual uncertainty.” Science begins with asking questions and composing present solutions, only to create even more doubt.

7. Reflections on Blogging

Blogging is about owning your own canvass, shipping your opinion yet willing to be shaped by the feedback others give back to you. Dana Boyd reflects on blogging and concludes that in addition to serving as her public microphone, blogging is also learning in disguise.

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Hitting the spot…

occurs when top quality meets the perfect moment of demand. For instance, you may desire pizza for dinner. But if you eat Dominos instead of ordering from your preferred pizza joint, you’ll just be semi-satisfied in the outcome. “It was ok/good enough.”

Fulfillment is a means to an end, to curb the hunger. But ‘hitting the spot’ is an experience that one remembers. It does more than provide satisfaction; it creates happiness and enjoyment.

Still, nothing ‘hits the spot’ like an awesome surprise. Having little or no expectation sets the stage for lasting memories. It turns out that the place you always thought was a whole in the hall made a hell of a slice. The second time will still hit the spot, but not as much as the first.

Wait Too Long

Belief is the fiction that’s a stimulus for positive action. The world dies a little bit when you stop believing in yourself.

The only reason to quit is to pivot somewhere else. Maybe it didn’t turn out exactly you had dreamed. Maybe it was too easy, or you lucked out.

People generally have two choices when choosing persistence: harness what you know and exploit it or explore more and see the world a bit differently. Time is just waiting for you to decide.

Create your own luck

Luck is magic. And magic tricks take preparation.

There’s a lot of work into making it look easy. It’s no surprise that the best things happen to people that are ready to welcome and execute opportunity.

If you’ve been lucky, you know immediately or not whether you deserve it. Even the meek acknowledge the reality of a deserved break.

Luck is preparedness. Working hard creates more opportunities for success, or more chances at luck.

Keep your eyes on the prize, practice a lot, and excel when the time is right. Luck will meet you halfway.

3 Types of Luck

There are 3 types of luck:

Earned Luck – You get what you work hard for.

Unearned Luck – Unexpected events that work in your favor.

Hybrid Luck – Chance events whereby all your preparation allows you to see and seize the opportunity.

Luck is more than a combination of skill capitalizing on opportunity. Luck is also a mindset and a bit of karma.

As author Anthony Tjan puts it,

The Lucky are humble. They are intellectually curious. They are optimistic.

You were lucky to be born, especially in the United States which surrounds any opportunist willing to learn and achieve with the right tools: free schooling, free libraries, and free speech.

If you don’t inherit a rich network that just means you’ll have to work harder to build those relationships, to show people what you got. Persistence is another centerpiece of luck.

Luck is also biology. Happiness is determined by 50% genetics. If you’re not naturally happy then you’ve got 40% of volition to make it so.

Luck is what you think and make of it and what you ultimately do with it.

Intuit Opportunity

The problem with big bang change is that it brings temporary success.  Real, permanent change takes years of trial and error.

Conversely, the problem with incremental change is that work can get too routine and make you question why you’re changing in the first place.

If you know something is good for you, you’ll look for it everywhere.  But YOU MUST LEARN HOW TO CONTROL YOUR ENERGY.

Sometimes you’ll need to speed up and pounce on an opportunity; other times, you’ll need to slow down and think it through.

Expect opportunities to arise when you at least expect it.  Therefore, keep great questions in your back pocket.  If you work hard when no one is looking you’ll to be at your best when you’re best is needed.  Get ready.

Luck is preparedness.  Leave no regrets behind.

Uncertainly Certain….

If you chase certainty, you’ll certainly never be right.  Nothing is certain.  There’s only high probability. 

Still, some people seem to get it right.  They’re lucky, fortunate to have found a pathway that satisfies them.  Luck is a combination of preparadeness and carpe diem. 

You get lucky only when you make decisions and try a lot.  Unfortunately, rightness and wrongness in decision-making comes after the fact.  You either selected the right path and can breathe a sigh of relief or are enduring hell because you went the wrong way. 

The irony of the bad decision-making is that at least you cured indecision by going in a direction.  Now you know with more certainty about the things you want in your future.  At least you tried and gained some knowledge out of the experience.  Life is clearer. 

If you’re uncertain, you’ll almost certainly be right.  Uncertain people are risk-averse, and also the unhappiest people.  The happiest people make decisions and are willing to be right or wrong.  Either way, they get luck or learn a valuable lesson. 

Life is an experiment, most of which fail.  But the best part about is that you can keep going, get back up again and try something else.