How luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love, and Life by Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh

9. The Lucky Break That Really Counts

  • Most of the time a lucky break is just the start and can be worth nothing unless you follow up with hard work and persistence. The challenge is to realize how a small break can be grown into a much larger one. Part of getting lucky is to know what you are looking for. In order to grow, a lucky break needs to land on fertile ground so it’s your job to be that fertile ground. A lucky break is the start of the story, not the end. It comes with no guarantee.

Part Three – Targeted Luck – 10. How to Get a Job at Goldman Sachs (Or Anywhere You Want)

  • The advice here is to not rely on your résumé to get in the door. Your chances of getting a job go way up if you can somehow have someone contact the people doing the job search and put in a good word for you. This means you have to look around to try to add such people to your network. To do so you have to cross the boundary of the bubble in which you live. Very few people get jobs by simply submitting résumés and cover letters.
  • Making the effort to reach out shows that you are determined. Since people are tribal, be sure to get names to contact from the alumni office at your school. There also seems to be an added benefit in being part of an athletic team as other team members and former members are likely to want to help. Look for opportunities to speak at conferences and author papers or blogs. If you go to hear someone speak, don’t hesitate to talk to them after their speech to introduce yourself and get their information. The authors also advise you to forge your own path in school with independent study. You may have to badger administration to do so, but it can be well worth it.

11. Get Lucky in Love

  • Getting lucky in love involves creating the lucky situation you want, and you don’t have to search endlessly. The key according to 80% of us is to pay attention to the other person’s needs as much as you pay attention to your own. Most of us are lousy at evaluating potential mates. Online dating has attracted 40% of those surveyed so don’t rule it out. While 87% of Americans eventually get married, you won’t get there staying at home. Happy marriages are a balance of sex drive, romantic love, and attachment. The best person in the world doesn’t exist so be realistic. You need a plan as hope is not a strategy. Once you make a decision your brain will want to prove that it was a good one. There will be bad days so be ready to work through them.

12. Make Lucky Kids

  • In essence, you want to give kids the same advice that you are gleaning elsewhere in this book. Giving kids posh stuff doesn’t make them lucky. Teaching them how to make their own luck does. Happiness is more likely to come via curiosity and intellectual discovery than from nice stuff. It’s important that students not get stuck by only seeing what their parents do and what’s happening in their hometown. While some can make it big at home, most will have to leave to find greater success. They should also see that their lives are driven by their own actions.
  • Tell them there are many paths to a lucky life and try to give them a way to individualize their studies even if the school won’t help. You should always supplement their learning at home beyond homework. You should have high yet realistic expectations and ask them if they are doing their best rather than focus on their grades. You need to project optimism, confidence, and an upbeat demeanor as opposed to negativity.

Part 4 – The Other Side of Luck – 13. Bad Luck: Why Your Worst Moment Can be You Luckiest

  • The key idea here is that a bit of bad luck can prompt one to take action that leads to some good luck. There are several specific stories here that demonstrate this. A bought of cancer brings a family closer together. A divorce leads to a successful second marriage. Getting fired leads to taking a risk that results in a successful new career. The path up the great mountain of success almost always features some valleys. Your attitude is key here. You have to be primed to stand back and take the big picture view when bad luck strikes and ask yourself where you go next to find some good luck.
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