Luck is Not by Chance!

Let’s start this discussion by having a good look at “Luck”! Generally, “Luck” is defined as chance happening of a fortunate event. Like winning a lottery, getting a promotion, getting a good apartment, getting recognition and most important of all, getting a good life partner. I must confess that I am extremely lucky in this last aspect i.e., having a great life partner!

The main theme of my discussion today is “You make your own Luck” i.e., “Luck is not by chance”. You can make your own luck by recognizing the fact that there’s far more in life that is for you than against you. It is all about taking control of your life and being receptive to the opportunities that come your way.

First let us see what distinguishes “Lucky” people from those who are not so lucky:

  1. “Lucky” people think outside the box. They are a bit more curious and tend to explore a bit more. More important is that they tend not to pre-judge or presume. Once an experiment was conducted on a group of people. They were told that in a newspaper there is a text telling them that they have won USD 10,000. They were required to find this text in that newspaper of 10 pages. They were given just five minutes to do so. Most of them could not find this text but a few did. All the while, this text was part of the bold headline on the very first page of the newspaper! Most of the people had ignored this bold headline or did not read that properly as they thought text worth USD 10,000 will not be available so easily. Most of them had looked only at small print!
  2. Lucky people take more chances and adopt an optimistic point of view. They generally do not play it safe! They believe in the saying “Nothing ventured nothing gained”
  3. Lucky people put in more efforts. They believe more efforts beget more luck. They also believe in the famous quote of Paulo Coehlo in his novel “The Alchemist”: “when you really desire something, all the universe conspires in helping you to get it.”

Now, let us see how one can make his own luck? Here are three tips for that. These are entirely based on my real life experience and all are first hand!

1. Be unreasonable in your thinking.

What, be unreasonable? Yes. This means seeing yourself a bit differently. Orville and Wilbur Wright were unreasonable when they decided to invent a heavier-than-air flying machine. Everyone laughed at their attempts to fly, but now we can go around the world in super quick time because of the invention of these two lucky brothers. Many thought that I was unreasonable when I quit a well-paying job and took up employment with a regulator for a lesser package. But this proved to be my best career move as I could do what I liked most. My salary also caught up within a short time. But the institution which I had left did not do too well after that and did not pay any bonuses to its employees after I left!

2. Look for opportunities in adversity.

You make your own luck when you look for opportunities in adversity! In this world, life cannot hand you a negative moment without something positive hidden deep inside. When you look beyond the negative and see the positive, that’s the beginning of a lucky moment. In 1987, when I was in SBI, I got an order posting me to a place called Kamalpur in Tripura. At that time, this place was a hot bed of insurgency and a group called Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) used to create trouble. This was to such an extent that SBI staff at Kamalpur were forced to pay some sort of tax to this insurgent group. When I got this transfer order, I approached the Zonal Office and told them that instead of going to Kamalpur as an ordinary officer, I am prepared to go to any remote place provided you post me as a branch manager. They posted me as a branch manager to a remote place in Mizoram called Demagiri (now known as Tlabung) where no one was willing to be posted. There is an interesting saying in Mizo language that Tlabung is so far away that even sky is not covering it! But, this posting helped my career in a big way as I could complete three mandatory assignments in one go i.e., difficult center, rural center and line assignment. Thus I was ready for the next big opportunity. This posting helped in getting selected as a forex dealer, which was a well sought after position. Not only that, I was the only person eligible for a foreign posting as a forex dealer because there was no one else below the age of thirty who had completed mandatory rural assignment and line assignment and two years as a forex dealer! Thereafter, I got posted at SBI, Hong Kong and then to Mauritius! In a way, my posting at Demagiri paved the way for my career in financial markets and shaped my future.

3. See yourself as a winner.

If you see of yourself as a winner, you become a winner. This mindset brings luck! In Doha, we have a pretty popular supermarket and it is very difficult to get a parking place near this supermarket. But there is a huge parking place little away from this place. Whenever I go to this super market, I make it a point to check for a parking place near the entrance of this super market. This, of course, is a narrow ally and most people do not even try as they presume that there will not be any parking place available there. But almost seven times out of ten, I have been able to get a parking place near the entrance just because I tried. This saves the effort of parking in a faraway open place and walking in the sun! I try because I think that I will get a parking place. Remember, if you think of yourself as a winner, you become a winner.

I can go on and on with such examples. But let me stop here and let us recap the three tips:

  1. Be unreasonable in your thinking
  2. Look for opportunities in adversity
  3. See yourself as a winner

If you follow these tips, you will fall in love with life. When you are in love with life, you feel energetic and ambitious. Things then begin to pan out as you hoped. Management guru Peter Drucker has put it beautifully as ‘Best way to predict future is to create it!’ Hope you now agree that you make your own luck and luck is not by chance.

IQ, EQ, MQ, and BQ ……What one really needs to succeed?

Wikipedia says that intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess intelligence. IQ tests are used as an indicator of logical reasoning ability and technical intelligence.

It is generally presumed that a high IQ is a prerequisite for being successful in one’s career. But in recent times, the world is realizing that IQ, by itself, is not adequate to predict executive competence and corporate success!

A recent research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. Additionally, Nobel Prize winning Israeli-American psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likeable person is offering a lower quality product or service at a higher price.

With this in mind, instead of exclusively focusing on your conventional intelligence quotient, you should make an investment in strengthening your EQ (Emotional Intelligence), MQ (Moral Intelligence), and BQ (Body Intelligence). These concepts may be elusive and difficult to measure, but their significance is far greater than IQ.

EQ or Emotional Intelligence: EQ is the most well-known of the three, and in brief it is about being aware of your own feelings and those of others, regulating these feelings in yourself and others, using emotions that are appropriate to the situation, self-motivation, and building relationships.

MQ or Moral Intelligence: MQ directly follows EQ as it deals with your integrity, responsibility, sympathy, and forgiveness. The way you treat yourself is the way other people will treat you. Keeping commitments, maintaining your integrity, and being honest are crucial to moral intelligence.

BQ or Body Intelligence: Lastly, there is your BQ, or body intelligence, which reflects what you know about your body, how you feel about it, and take care of it. Your body is constantly telling you things; are you listening to the signals or ignoring them? Are you eating energy-giving or energy-draining foods on a daily basis? Are you getting enough rest? Do you exercise and take care of your body? It may seem like these matters are unrelated to business performance, but your body intelligence absolutely affects your work because it largely determines your feelings, thoughts, self-confidence, state of mind, and energy level.

What You Really Need To Succeed

It doesn’t matter if you did not receive the best academic training from a top university. A person with less education who has fully developed their EQ, MQ, and BQ can be far more successful than a person with an impressive education who falls short in these other categories.

Yes, it is certainly good to be an intelligent, rational thinker and have a high IQ; this is an important asset. But you must realize that it is not enough. Your IQ will help you personally, but EQ, MQ, and BQ will benefit everyone around you as well. If you can master the complexities of these unique and often under-rated forms of intelligence, research tells us you will achieve greater success and be regarded as more professionally competent and capable.

(Acknowledgements: Inputs for this write-up came from a publication in Forbes and Bloomberg by Mr Keld Jensen)