Last year it was reported that the world’s eight richest people have a combined net wealth equivalent to 50% of the population (article here). Amongst them, are a few “self-made” billionaires who originated from modest beginnings but found success in their life’s pursuit.
These people have always fascinated me because they were able to rise above the ordinary and achieve abnormal success. How did they do it? Compared to the average worker, are they incredibly more hardworking or just phenomenally lucky?
According to a recent publication by Discovery Magazine, those at the top aren’t necessarily the most skilled workers. Instead, a large factor behind their success were determined by good luck (full report here), and also having adequate skills to recognise and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
For example, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was lucky to be born in a century where his aptitude for computer science and finance could manifest itself in the nascent world of e-commerce. Imagine if he were born in 1864 instead of 1964 (Bezos biography), would he still be the richest man in the world?
Knowing this, how do we maximise our chances of success?
Luck is not something you can predict or rely on. Rather than waiting for luck to chance upon you, there are still ways you can be proactive in achieving success.
#1 Prepare Yourself
Second best to the opportunity itself, is preparation.
Prior to founding his own business, Bezos spent his early career working on Wall Street and became the youngest vice president of his respective investment firm. The skills he honed through being in this competitive environment developed his propensity for risk and ability to identify potential investment opportunities. In 1994, Bezos left his lucrative finance career and relocated to a new city to start an online book store (now known as Amazon).
What this can teach us is, you never know when opportunities will strike, so in the meantime you must keep plugging away whilst being receptive to the tiny slivers of fortune you could capitalise on.
#2 Position Yourself
In conjunction to the above, you can also place yourself in a position that would make it easier for the right opportunities to come to you.
Firstly, ask yourself the following questions. What sort of opportunities are you trying to attract? How does your current role fit into the vision you see for yourself? Who can help you come across those opportunities?
At the root of both these luck-attracting strategies is passion. If you are not passionate about what you do, persevering through the indefinite preparation phase will be difficult. Similarly, you cannot align yourself with the opportunity you want if you do not know what your passion is, or you are not engaged in the field you aim to flourish in.