Nearly everyone wants to be luckier. Some people think success is about preparing for luck, while others think success is about what you do with luck when you find it. There may be different perspectives on luck, but everyone agrees you can’t go wrong with more of it, as long as it’s good.
YPO member Stuart Lacey is considered by many to be an extremely lucky guy, personally and professionally. He married the woman of his dreams, lives exactly where and how he wants, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He’s built 5 successful companies, including Trunomi, a customer consent data rights platform. Bank Innovation even named Lacey as an Innovator to Watch. Lacey has made respecting luck a regular part of his business activity. He even created a mathematical formula to analyze and replicate it.
Lacey’s Lucky Formula
% Luckiness =
(situational awareness) x [perseverance (work ethic / heart)]unlimited x (# of times attempted)failure is good x (choice to act)binary x (Respect and EQ)
(tolerance for adversity)
Here are Lacey’s tips on making your own luck daily:
1. Use Your Education and Experience
Lacey likens experience to the process of securing a patent. “Anyone can file for a patent in a matter of hours for a few hundred bucks. But without a deep understanding of the technical, engineering, design, and geo-political aspects, and without appreciating the importance of opportunity cost and due diligence, the chance of receiving that patent is practically zero.” And Lacey understands that outside factors can influence the outcome, explaining, “Of course experience can be borrowed, for example, by using a world-class (and equally expensive!) patent attorney.” But in the long run, no amount of money can make up for a lack of experience.
2. Have Situational Awareness
Lacey asks a frightening question: “When you’re in a movie theatre, do you actually know where the exits are?” Lacey asserts, “Having situational awareness can multiply by a thousand your chances of survival.” The same is true in business. In a less frightening scenario, Lacey suggests it’s like skiing: “When you’re at the bottom of the mountain, have the foresight to recognize that the last on the ski tram is the first one on the slope. You can totally change your experience just by thinking ahead.” What you do when you get there is up to you, but you can maximize your potential by understanding what’s going on around you.
3. There’s No Substitute for Heart
A hockey fan, Lacey likes to quote Luc Robitaille, who said, “You can find someone smart, but never underestimate heart.” Lacey says, “Passion and work ethic usually trump everything else, and luck does not favor those who don’t put in the hours.” It helps, of course, when your career is doing something you love. But when you put in the solid work, the rest will follow with more ease.
4. Embrace Failure
Lacey is a firm believer in the adage, “Fail quickly, fail cheaply, and fail often.” Lacey says, “The willingness to accept and learn from one’s mistakes is vital for luck.” Mistakes here can multiply. “You have to invest time with your head down, ready to constantly pivot and adjust. Embracing change and innovation IS to embrace failure.” People are told from childhood that failure is bad, and this is a crutch that any entrepreneur has to overcome.
5. Take Action
“How often do you look at something new and say, ‘I thought of that a while ago!'” Lacey asks. “There are so many stories of inventions that never occurred or were greatly delayed until someone else took the initiative to act.” It’s not always easily done. “It takes courage,” Lacey acknowledges, “and a willingness to fail and bounce back.” But the alternative is always worse. Lacey asserts, “Either you act and luck has a shot, or you don’t act and the chances of your influencing the outcome are nil.” Take the chance on yourself, and don’t be afraid – failure is an opportunity.
6. Attitude Matters
For Lacey, it’s important to remember that people are human. “If your flight is cancelled, it’s not the gate agent’s fault. I have always found that a kind, supportive, appreciative tone, with a strong measure of compassion, works absolute wonders.” No one likes being unappreciated or disrespected. “Focusing on the human element of interactions at all times is a multiplier of your chances for a lucky outcome.” Another important element is to maintain optimism. Lacey explains, “I’m realistic about the work required, but I’m also aware the future is one that we will create and craft. You need to have the ability to accept bumps in the road while keeping your eye on the prize.” Further, a willingness to accept compromise is key. Be humble, and remember to exercise emotional intelligence.
Each week Kevin explores exclusive stories inside YPO, the world’s premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.