In honor of St. Patty’s Day. Sometimes I’ll ask a candidate during an interview, “Tell me about a time you had a positive outcome to a situation, in which you felt luck was part of it. What did you learn from that experience?”
It’s a bit of a trick question because what I’m looking for in the answer is anything along the lines, “I don’t rely on luck” or, “Luck isn’t a real thing” or, “I prefer to be prepared rather than hoping for good luck.”
The luckiest people I’ve met aren’t lucky at all. They are relentless preparers. They look into every nook and cranny of an opportunity before making an investment. Rather than focusing just on the ‘happy path’ i.e. the way things will go if everything works perfectly, they investigate the possible ways things can go wrong, and build contingency plans. They talk through and pressure test ideas with many other people before making big decisions. The result? Better decisions, reduced risk, and prepared response strategies for inevitable speed bumps.
When things work out for these people, on the surface it looks like good luck. It’s really the result of exhaustive preparation and practice. I aspire to have that kind of discipline in my own life.
Good luck happens when opportunity meets preparation. Bad luck happens when lack of preparation meets reality.