The more I study successful people the more I realize that they created their own luck every step of the way. Here are the four patterns I've recognized in how they do it.
1. Recognize that opportunities are EVERYWHERE
Don Wettrick is a high school teacher in Indiana who teaches innovation. To show his students that opportunities are EVERYWHERE, he took his innovation class students to the Super Bowl Media Day when the Super Bowl was hosted in Indianapolis. He had his students dress professionally and brought along a camera/tripod. Only with the plan to interview anyone they can, they noticed a man they saw on TV the other day. It turned out to be DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL Players Association. The students asked if they could interview him and eventually, DeMaurice Smith was so impressed that he invited the students inside to interview Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and other NFL stars (the students even got a shoutout from ESPN).
Don Wettrick and his students could have stayed at home that day but instead ventured out recognizing that opportunities are EVERYWHERE. And they had just enough audacity to go after what they wanted.
2. Meet AS MANY good people as possible
When I was in college, I had a friend named James who wanted to work on Wall Street more than anything else. However, he was a liberal arts major with a subpar GPA. So rather than accepting his fate, he created his own luck. Every Friday, for a full year, he would take the bus from DC to New York in the morning to meet just a couple Georgetown alumni working on Wall Street to network. Every Friday he would leave in the morning and come back at night (4 hours each way). After meeting over a hundred Wall Street alumni, he received one summer internship offer which turned into a full-time job offer. I knew many students in college who networked but none who put the effort and the intensity that James did and it showed in the results.
He created his luck because he put himself out there to meet as many good people as possible in the field he wanted to be in.
3. Play to WIN - not to not lose
It was a Friday in 1973 and Fred Smith was desperate. He had $5,000 in the bank but needed $24,000 by Monday morning to pay his vendors for his freight delivery business or else he would go out of business. So he took a risk because he wanted to win so badly. He flew out to Las Vegas and played blackjack all weekend until he won enough money to pay his vendors on Monday. Fred Smith's company FedEx is now a global Fortune 500 company but it would never have reached that point if he didn't create his own luck by going to Las Vegas to win his company back.
Do you play not to lose or do you play to win? The book "Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing" told this story of Fred Smith because those who are "lucky" always play to win. Those who play to not lose usually take less risks and ironically prevent them from winning.
4. Persistence, persistence, persistence
My friend Sophia Parsa knew she wanted to attend Loyola Marymount University. However, they unfortunately rejected her. So rather than give in, she was persistent. She delivered a handwritten letter in person to the admissions office EVERY DAY for a full month explaining why they should accept her. After a month, the admissions officers were so impressed by her audacity that they admitted her. I would bet my life savings that those admissions officers will never have someone who does something like that again for the rest of their careers. It's that persistence that helped Sophia create her own luck and also creating a successful app, Toot, that connects students with tutors.
I absolutely hate it when people complain about how unlucky they are. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Create your own luck by putting yourself out there. Recognize there is luck to be had every day!