How to Get Luck on Your Side
By definition, luck is out of your control. Even so, it is useful to understand the role it plays and how it works so you can prepare for when fortune (or misfortune) comes your way.
In his fantastic talk, the mathematician and computer engineer Richard Hamming summarized what it takes to do great work by saying, “There is indeed an element of luck, and no, there isn’t. The prepared mind sooner or later finds something important and does it. So yes, it is luck. The particular thing you do is luck, but that you do something is not.”
You can increase your surface area for good luck by taking action.The forager who explores widely will find lots of useless terrain, but is also more likely to stumble across a bountiful berry patch than the person who stays home. Similarly, the person who works hard, pursues opportunity, and tries more things is more likely to stumble across a lucky break than the person who waits. Gary Player, the famous golfer and winner of nine major championships, has said, “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”
In the end, we cannot control our luck—good or bad—but we can control our effort and preparation. Luck smiles on us all from time to time. And when it does, the way to honor your good fortune is to work hard and make the most of it.