What’s Your Return on Luck (ROL)?

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Key Point: I’ve talked with many people about their situations, and they often use “luck” when explaining how they landed where they are. However when luck is more analytically reviewed, it is not whether we have good or bad luck, but how we manage it that makes the difference. We are all going to experience “good” and “bad” luck. And this luck will likely not be experienced in convenient, evenly managed ways. Nietzsche’s famous quote, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” is a reasonable reference for managing luck.

Jim Collins’ book, Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck, devotes an entire chapter to the concept. It is a great read, especially the story about two climbers and their “luck” surviving a perilous mountain climb in Alaska. Collins’ team defines a “lucky” event as one that meets three tests. 1. A significant aspect of an event happens largely independent of the actors. 2. It has potentially significant consequences (good or bad). 3. The event has an element of unpredictability.

Collins and team provide ample evidence that unless the luck is so severe that it “ends the game,” the key matter related to luck is how we personally manage it. Winning the lottery, by most definitions, is “good luck.” But how many nightmare winning stories are there? There’s even well-documented data that most professional hockey players are born in the first half of the year. But still, research shows that most NHL hall of famers, the best of the best, are born in the second half of the year. Is that luck?

Character Move (based on the Collins team research):

  1. Cultivate the ability to zoom out your lens and recognize when luck happens.
  2. Have the wisdom to navigate it when it does.
  3. Be sufficiently prepared for bad luck. It’ll come too.
  4. Have the mindset to create a positive ROL. Do not be just reactive. Take good or bad luck head-on and decide to manage it to your best advantage.

Get a high ROL in the Triangle,

Lorne