Sahil Bloom wrote a Twitter thread about the concept of a “luck surface area” that resonated with me.
The idea is that by doing more of the things that have the potential to lead to opportunity, you can improve your luck.
He cites a study and book by Dr. Richard Wiseman. The study used a simple test to compare how self-described “lucky” and “unlucky” people approached the same task.
The result? The lucky people seized the opportunity and found more success in the task.
The unlucky people approached the task more carefully, explored less, and viewed opportunities that were put in front of them with skepticism. This resulted in the unlucky group reaping fewer rewards in the study than their lucky peers.
What set apart the “lucky” individuals in Wiseman’s study was not natural phenomenon, or chance. Rather, it was their willingness to approach situations with a positive, open-minded attitude.
Per Richardson’s research, these individuals exhibited similar characteristics in their daily lives:
These habits demonstrate an effort to increase their “luck surface area.” In other words, they play a numbers game. The more often they put themselves out there with the opportunity for good things to happen, the more often good things will happen.
As an introvert who is admittedly set in his routine, reading this was eye-opening for me.
You can’t meet new people, have new experiences, or come across new opportunities by doing the same things you always do.
So if anyone else is looking to increase their luck surface area, too, here are tangible habits you can build to increase your luck:
Let’s jump into how you can apply each of these strategies.
Key takeaway: Be intentional about changing your schedule and usual habits in order to meet new people and expose yourself to the opportunities that arise from new connections.
You might have heard the philosophy that when you first move to a new city you should say “yes” to everything for a few months.
The idea is a temporary “yes” mentality will help you discover enough new things and new people to set up your life in your new city.
Did you get invited to a happy hour by new co-workers? Go check it out. Were you recommended a new workout class? Grab your gym clothes.
Exploring these new settings, hobbies, and social circles will massively increase your luck surface area, and in turn, expose you to new opportunities.
This same network effect concept applies to your current town or city. Stop going to the same coffee shop every day, eating at the same restaurants, walking the same routes, etc. It decreases your chances of making new connections. You never know how those connections could bring you some “luck.”
Key takeaway: Creating content online and building an audience increases your digital footprint. This can bring in new opportunities just like exposing yourself to new people and places in the physical world yields opportunities.
This idea comes from my experience building corporate brands, creating digital content, and designing lead-generation funnels. In the marketing world, the bigger the audience and digital footprint your brand has, the higher the likelihood you will generate business leads as customers discover your marketing channels and content.
The same thing applies to individuals and their personal brands. The content you create and your social media channels represent your digital footprint, or in the terms of this article, your digital luck surface area.
I wrote this piece on why employees would want a personal brand. One of the key benefits that I discussed was the idea that creating more content online and building an audience will increase people’s exposure to professional opportunities.
By creating content on social media platforms, engaging with other users' content, and making real connections, you can expose yourself to opportunities ranging from jobs and customers for your business to new friends.
In a world where we spend so much time online, your digital presence and footprint can be just as lucrative as your footprint in the physical world.
Key takeaway: Remember that making connections professionally and personally is a numbers game. In both cases, always prioritize depth and substance over quantity.
This next tip is a lens you can apply while considering the previous two tips.
As you change your routine and create content online, you should do so with the mentality that you are giving yourself the opportunity to make meaningful connections. To do so, you need to have a lot of “first dates.”
I read another insightful Twitter thread (I’ll admit I misplaced the bookmark) in which a user shared her online dating journey. To increase her chances of success, she approached dating like a business lead generation funnel — as a marketing professional I obviously found it to be amusing and intriguing.
Her strategy was:
By playing the luck surface area strategy, she gave herself tons of opportunities to meet new people. This increased the likelihood of her finding a compatible partner. And it worked.
This idea doesn’t just apply to dating. The same concept works for networking and making friends, too.
The more people you meet and the more conversations you have, the higher the likelihood you build new relationships with people.
No one is certain whether luck truly exists. What is certain is in order to welcome any type of luck, you need to structure your life in a way that offers maximum exposure to potential opportunities.
Use the tips in this article to increase your own “luck surface area,” and see what your efforts bring you.
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