Is there any such thing as luck?
This question has been posed to me on more than one occasion in the last few weeks and has really got me thinking.
Recently, for example, the term was used by a CEO of a very large, successful, technology company at a talk they were giving. Their prevalent use of the term ‘luck’ certainly gave the concept of ‘luck’ some credence and sparked a furious debate.
It inspired me to seek a definition and I found many, here are just a few.
‘Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.’
‘Chance considered as a force that causes good or bad things to happen.’
‘Something regarded as signalling or portending good or bad things.’
Have you ever felt lucky?
Most of us do, from time to time, don’t we?
We have undoubtedly also felt unlucky too.
But what is luck? Is it some kind of natural law?
What happens to luck, good or bad, when nobody is around?
Why do we need luck?
…or at least to believe that there is such a thing.
The truth is, we know that everything happens by cause and effect. We know that doing nothing, achieves just that, nothing.
We also know that cause and effect can have an element of complexity that makes it challenging to predict outcomes. It does not stop us trying though, does it? We believe that if we can predict what is going to happen, then we will be able to course-correct our behaviours in ways to get our best outcomes.
That need for control, or at least a sense of control, is a double-edged blade.
Yes, it drives us to make the world around us predictable and manageable. We also know that our success at predicting and managing events at times is limited.
So do how do humans develop a coping mechanism for these ‘failures’ of control. We lie to ourselves. We explain away our failures by blaming others or simply put it down to ‘bad’ luck.
Although we actively seek methods to control the familiar things, our need for control pushes us to test the boundaries, to take risks and gamble.
Conversely, when those risks and gambles pay-off, we put that down to ‘good’ luck.
What is the reality of luck?
Luck, to me, is simply a game. A game we play with ourselves. A game where we keep a check and balance of how much ‘good’ and how much ‘bad’ luck we are receiving, to keep a score of our net ‘fortune.’
When gamblers feel lucky, they believe they have taken on and beaten random chance, that they have found some innate ability to control and overcome the nature of chaos itself.
We might feel lucky when we survive a poor decision we made or perhaps something beyond our control like a road accident. We use ‘luck’ to explain the near misses and actual harm, those things that happen to us without our intervention. We tell ourselves we were lucky, whether ‘bad’ luck for being in the situation or ‘good’ luck for getting through it in one piece.
Luck, is an explanation we need and give to the good and bad things that happen to us, the things that happen by chance. It is an attribute we use to give meaning to what we perceive to be random.
We might use ‘luck’ to appear modest. To help others feel better by attributing our good fortune to ‘luck’. Even when we know, deep down, we succeeded through skills, determination, conviction, commitment…
Luck is an attribute we use to perpetuate a lie, a false meaning, to make ourselves (and at times others) feel better about our (their) circumstance.
It is not something we have, it is not something we can buy, it is not something we can create. It is not some ethereal, intangible, force that surrounds us.
Who are you kidding?
Attributing our success and failures to ‘luck’ is a deception. A deception of ourselves and sometimes of others.
Just like other deceptions, it may be harmless, we might even use it to give us a deliberate advantage
A word of warning though.
We might harm ourselves when we feel lucky and take unnecessary risks.
We might harm others when they are included in the impact of our hopeful choices, or when we encourage them to ‘be lucky’.
Why do we kid ourselves?
- We can hide our skill by saying we were lucky.
- Conversely, we can hide our lack of skill by saying we were unlucky this time.
- We can make others feel better about us, or themselves, by attributing their failures to bad luck.
- We can avoid praising or criticising others by attributing success to good luck.
- We can encourage others to take risks by telling them they are lucky or we can sell them on the concept that we can bring them luck.
So what is luck? (IMHO)
Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.
Yes, it helps to be the right person, in the right place, at the right time. But, you also have to know what you want.
The clearer you are about what it is that you want in life, the luckier you will find yourself becoming.
You can be in the right place at the right time….and never even know it.
Want to succeed at making your own ‘Luck’?
Sandler Trainer, Tim Goering, shares his thoughts about how to succeed at making your own luck.
You will learn how to get to the top and stay there as we explore:
- Why attitude is important to long-term success
- How behavior affects your chances of success
- How to improve your Technique for greater success
- How Tim defines success and his favourite Sandler rules
You can listen to (or download and take on the road) the podcast here: How to succeed at making your own ‘luck’
As ‘Luck’ would have it?
Do you find yourself increasingly relying on ‘luck’ in your selling adventures?
Are you increasingly frustrated at the length of your sales cycles?
Are you worried about the inconsistency of your selling approach?
Are you struggling with the pressure to discount just to get a ‘win’?
Are you uncomfortable in the selling role?
Wish you had been dealt a better hand?
How committed are you to changing your sales approach and experiences on a scale of 1 to 10?
If you are above an 8 then why not join Sandler Training for a fully-funded, only cost is your time, Sandler MasterClass.