You may be inclined to think that success is due mainly to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, smartness, efforts, hard work or risk taking. Perhaps you feel that you don’t have the talent to be wildly successful, or, short changed seeing people less talented enjoying greater material success than you, but research does now show a link between luck and success.
If success could be purely attributed to our IQ then the most talented people would be the most successful. The average IQ in the UK is 100 and only one third of people have a score above 115, top 1% reaching a score of 135 or above. However, if you think about it, the variances are still relatively small. Nobody has an IQ of 1,000!
It’s a similar scenario with working hard. The average actual hours worked in the UK has remained steady for decades, around 38h per week. Perhaps you work really hard and put in 60 or even 70 hours per week, but anything more than that is not sustainable over a long period of time. And nobody can work 1,000 hours a week. We all have 24 hours in the day!
If the difference in material success can’t be explained with intellect and talent, or hours worked, where does success come from?
Luck plays a great role in life success
A team of Italian scientists conducted a study to find out the role of luck in life success and found out that luck plays much greater role than most people realise.
“We discovered a strict correlation between luck and success. Encountering a series of lucky events was responsible for incredible success even if their individual talent was lower than super talented people.”
You need a certain level of talent to be able to exploit those lucky opportunities, the researchers say, and this “talent” can be anything from capacity for hard work to intelligence. But talent alone is not enough. The research showed that the people who had the highest level of talent only made up a small portion of successful people.
“This is what we usually see around us in the real world. There are plenty of instances of people who we don’t consider particularly smart but in some way they reach a high level of wealth and success.”
So, how can you increase your luck and success?
The traditional success formula offers an explanation if you fail. “You didn’t try hard enough” or “you aren’t smart enough”. Most career paths are still built around the idea of ‘working hard’ to achieve great success.
“The harder I work the luckier I get.” Samuel Goldwyn
You can’t discount the role of continuous effort and putting in the hours, but simply working harder doesn’t seem to offer an explanation to the question ‘how do you get luckier’.
Create and exploit those lucky events
The research mentions that people who are able to exploit ‘lucky events’ end up more successful in life. Knowing how hard most people work and how busy life is, how could you even spot an opportunity if it came your way? Perhaps most people are walking past their luck more often than they think and end up believing that they are simply unlucky.
Lucky events can also be created. When you are open for new ideas and surround yourself with a stimulating crowd you are more likely to encounter lucky events. Sitting in a predictable career, thinking of the same ideas, meeting the same people and feeling the same feelings week after week is unlikely to create many lucky events.
Keeping an open mind, harnessing a growth mindset, regularly changing your scenery, stepping outside of your comfort zone and exploring new opportunities will bring more lucky events your way.
People who are connected to their ‘why’ and are purpose driven are more likely to stimulate those lucky events in their lives. When you encounter someone who’s excited about what they are doing it’s only natural to want to help. Your vibe creates your lucky events to some extend!
Here’s some steps you can take to increase your luck:
- Learn to slow down. This way you can spot your lucky opportunities.
- Surround yourself with people who are actively creating opportunities for themselves, such as the women in the DrivenWoman tribe.
- Discover your ‘why’ and what makes you feel fulfilled. When you are excited about life you can create your own lucky events.
- If you are hit by one unlucky event after the other, ask yourself: “Am I on the right path? Am I trying to swim upstream?” Maybe it’s time to change tactics!
- Lucky events are only those that make you excited. Try not to please others when you make life choices.
- You never know how close (or how far) you are from luck and success. Never give up!