At some point in your life you have probably looked at another person with immense wealth and success, then chalked it up to luck. Maybe it was luck.
You would be successful too, if only you had the opportunity present itself like it did for them. If you wait idly for it to show up though, it may never come.
There are two fundamental options you have right now to ensure triumph:
- Learn how to make dice
- Throw your dice again and again
Roll the dice. No, seriously, roll them.
We all know if you ‘work hard’ you can make it closer to where you want to go. The self-serving bias and the survivorship bias often work together to convince successful people they earned everything they have. In short; if they win it’s their fault, but if they lose it’s someone else’s fault.
Similarly, it’s very easy for us as humans to assume that the root of somebody’s fortune is ‘luck’ but this bias is also easily debunked;
Think of somebody who made their millions ‘because they were in the right place at the right time’. Now understand that a huge number of people could probably have been given the exact same opportunities and instead screwed them up very quickly.
In most cases you’ll find the fortunate people also had the discipline to keep going and keep capitalising on what they’d found. They had the knowledge to leverage their position. They didn’t spend their money frivolously and they used this to constantly adapt to the changing landscape around them.
That’s why prosperous people always tell you to work hard to achieve what they have. It worked for them and it will work for you, right? What they don’t tell you is what to work hard on.
Recognising opportunities as they arise is more easily learned through chance experience
Your chances will always come in different shapes and sizes, there will sometimes be fewer sides and sometimes they’ll roll right off the table.
You have to start by taking every chance you get. High risk choices often have high rewards, and low risk ones usually have low rewards. Depending on where you are right now, you may feel unable to make any choices at all, but the key is to start chipping away at the probability.
Roll them again (persistence)
There are numerous studies that explore the relationship between intelligence and general financial achievement, showing there is a very poor correlation. Some even explore random chance vs success, showing the least talented of us rise to the top most of the time. If research suggests the biggest factor is luck, then surely you would want to manipulate this variable the most. If you want to be sorted into the winning minority, you have more chance if you keep shuffling.
Persistence will always force opportunity to come back around to you.
You can take a chance, throw everything you have at it, but still just roll a low number. This is incredibly demotivating and when the path isn’t clear, it can very effective to stop you ever trying again. If you have three dice and you’re trying to get an 18, you probably aren’t going to roll that number first try.
The ‘trick’ is simply knowing that after 50 rolls your odds are good.
Bonus: How to rig the dice
The very first time we roll for success is when we’re born, but you can arm yourself with knowledge to reduce your chances of future failure. If wealth is what you have set your sights on for example, there are a number of ways you can work towards it.
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing” — Warren Buffet
It might be obvious that working on yourself is the first step on the path to riches. If you think about it in the context of increasing your odds however, you should start to see that any one factor is unlikely to work alone. You need the combination of smarts and a pocket full of dice to ensure victory.
- Work on improving your skills
- Save and invest your money
- Open up a retirement account
- Don’t give in to lifestyle inflation
These are different than taking opportunities. These are just ways to prepare yourself so you can hold on tight when you do eventually roll a 100.
We can now revisit those fundamental steps from earlier, through a new lens:
- Learn how to recognise and take advantage of opportunities
- Make and take every opportunity you can