The ability to score points in sports determines winners and losers, and the same can be said when using “scoring” as a metaphor for winning life battles, including education and business challenges. Interestingly, before we can “score” with points on a field or by means of winning a business deal, we must first get in a position to score. This seemingly simple suggestion is actually much bigger than you might think, as the setup to success is actually what determines our future odds for success. Interestingly, many people overlook the importance of the steps leading up to success, and instead assume that another person’s seemingly random success is a product of “luck,” when really it was due to positioning and preparation.
A popular layman’s definition for luck is when preparation meets opportunity. The implication is that by being prepared you increase the chances for success when an opportunity is presented. Conversely, people who are unprepared miss the moments in life when opportunities emerge. Yes, your level of preparation has a direct effect on the success you will experience in those moments where you have a chance for success.
So is “luck” really a random life experience? Sometimes the answer is “yes,” as in the cases where you hit Bingo or the lottery, or spin the wheel on a game show and win the big prize. Aside from those obvious examples, being “lucky” actually may be more of a product of preparation than anything else. Take for example always being prepared to properly network with people when at social events — is it random “luck” that you generated a good lead from a positive conversation you experienced after meeting an influencer? Or did you experience good fortune by being mentally prepared, having a good attitude, and dressing for success? Using a sports example, is it random luck when a player makes a big stop at the end of a game, or is the defensive stand a result of practicing that very situations hundreds of times before in practice? And finally, is it “luck” when a student keeps up with her studies and then aces an unexpected pop quiz?
Getting in the position to be successful includes doing all the little things, from being properly fed and hydrated to developing a resiliency to ward off life’s unfortunate moments. A pitcher “scores” by practicing specific pitches, speed, and location so that he or she can get the big strike out during the most important times of a baseball or softball game. A basketball player drains free throws at the end of the game after practicing the same pressure situation in practice for years before the actual moment comes up in a game. You can think of many more examples like this, where practicing specific situations has improved preparation, all leading to increased chances for future success.
You might be surprised to think of the amount of “luck” you actually control, especially when you factor in the increased chances for success when positioning and preparation are added to the equation. Getting in a position for success means paying attention to detail, practicing specific skills regularly until they become automatic, and keeping a positive attitude when interacting with others. Create your own success by staying on top of your game and doing the little things that the competition isn’t — good “luck!”