Discover more from Jacob's Journal
How to get lucky
Luck and good fortune are looking for you – here's how to make yourself easy to find.
Two weeks ago, I met my #1 intellectual hero, Nassim Taleb. I got a handshake, almost spilled coffee on the man, and spent 45 minutes in a room with him at a private gathering. How did that happen? Through a series of emails to acquintances and strangers – Taleb was coming to town for a conference, so I unashamedly asked the conference hosts if there were any chance I could say hello. Turns out there was.
Just this morning, we signed a new customer deal worth $100k+. Where did this opportunity come from? It started with a simple LinkedIn message I sent to a complete stranger nine months ago.
Three of my colleagues (aka almost 50% of our company!) found me/our company online, respectively via my guest post in Luke Burgis’s newsletter, an old article about biohacking featuring yours truly, and some random Tweet.
In all these cases, I benefited from luck, good fortune, serendpity – call it whatever you want. But in all these cases, I had also done something do attract that luck to strike. I strongly recommend you do the same.
See, we all have what’s popularly called a luck surface area. The bigger your luck surface area is, the easier it is for luck to hit you, and the more often you’ll get lucky and benefit from good fortune. The smaller your luck surface area, the less luck you’ll attract.
Let me throw in a disclaimer before moving on – you’ll never be able to chose to be lucky on demand. Luck is not some Uberized phenomenon which you can hail by the push of a button only to to show up outside your doorstep four minutes later.
But the great news, and the point of this post, is this: luck is not completely random either. You can invite luck into your life. You can increase your luck surface area. And since luck can lead you to all kinds of fantastical opportunities and benefits, expanding your luck surface area is one of the most powerful things you can do.
The conceptual answer is that you must put yourself in positions to get lucky often.
The practical answer is that you shuld do things like..
Go to parties. Go to conferences. You might meet future best friend, co-founder or a new customer there.
Send DMs to cool strangers on social media (just don’t be creepy about it).
Start a blog. Write random stuff on Substack (like this!). Like-minded people will magically find you.
Si hi to cute girls in bars (or on the street, if you’re so fearless). Go on blind dates.
Host dinners at home (protip: you invite three friends and you make them bring one interesting person each).
Ask. Just ask for things. You’ll be utterly amazed at the rate of positive responses.
Learn something new (ideally in live courses with a group of strangers).
Send thoughtful emails to CEOs (aka the most effective way to get a great job).
Hold keynote speeches (this one is crazy powerful).
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Get out there and put yourself in positions in which good things can happen.
Unfortunately though, in 9 out of 10 times, seeking out luck will lead you to… absolutely nothing. Nada! Nil, nix, nutthin’.
But every once in a while luck will strike, and you will find something that makes all the previous attempts worth it. Worth the weirdness, the embarassment, the fear of hitting publish, the pre blind date awkwardness. All of it.
The bottom line is this: You never know when luck will strike, but you have the power to create the conditions for luck to strike often, and with force.
Enough said. Now it’s your turn.
Go get lucky.
Bonus point: the link between luck and agency
Do you see the connection between luck and agency, which I wrote about in my last post? High-agency people invite luck into their lives by acting, by doing things, by “being in the arena” as Roosevelt would say.
Truth be told, this entire post is utterly meta. I had no intention of writing about luck in this newsletter. But after the last post about agency, an old friend replied and said “hey, you should write about luck next time, for hi-agency people surely must be luckier than low-agency folks”.
Let that be the last example to drive my point home: I sent out a newsletter, and thus increased my luck surface area a tiny bit. My old friend Morten replied with an idea for a new newsletter post. Lucky me, suddenly I had something to write about – and here we are.
(Yes, ideas for new newsletter posts are most welcome indeed – just hit reply to this email!)
Thanks for reading Jacob's Journal! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.