#45: Creating Luck In An Unknowable World
On environment hacking, desires & designing a life worth living
I’ve always thought, growing up, that luck is this abstract, mysterious & immeasurable thing wrapped in some sort of a mystical veil. When things are this impossible to wrap your head around, it becomes an easy excuse to just ignore it. Assume it’ll be there but never put any logic to how it works, for that will be fruitless. Do as I was told. Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.
It wasn’t until recently that I started to backtrack on this dangerous belief and I actually took a closer look, through my own life and others, into the idea of luck.
Specifically, the concept of designing an environment for it.
Sure, a lot of things are still unpredictable and irrational. Past and current world events are proof of this. But, this I know to be true though, and I don’t really say this lightly: with a little bit of intention, incentive and motivation, I find that I can actually set up my environment in a way that favors luck more. In a way, make it so that there’s at least a chance—low or high—a real chance, for the odds to go in my favor. Sounds incredibly simple right? But nothing could be harder to execute for it’s a real test of faith.
Everyday, I have to believe this is the most logical way forward, if I want my life to have some sort of a value to myself and to others.
No matter what this is still a lot more preferable to doing nothing, or worse— unintentionally building a life running towards the opposite. This is applicable to desire too. Generally, if you don’t know what you really want, go and find the opposite, which are the things you don’t want. Then, work backwards.
It’s true with capturing desire as it is with luck. It’s as much of an addition as it is with elimination. For whatever it is that isn’t bringing you a lot of value, it’s best to have as little of it as possible in your daily life. Or, quite possibly, have none of it.
In case you are interested in reading further, here’s a breakdown of the things I do to feel a tiny bit luckier everyday:
Writing (long-form essays publicly, journals privately)
Reading books, nonfiction, mostly
Walking, a minimum of 30 min daily
Designing my daily calendar of tasks
Listening to variety of podcast episodes
Creating repository of my own work
Updating my website/resume
Publishing a long form essay / article
Saying yes to new things
Reaching out to people
Finding new sources of income
Learning a completely new skill or two
Assessing life (personal, professional, finance, spiritual, mental etc) in through long-form writing (private / public)
Thinking and setting up achievable long term goals
The more I do these things, the luckier I feel. Once I came to this realization, I started to see it in everything I do, and because of that, I’m always grateful.
In life, you have to fight for a lot of the things you want, especially if they are worth having. We all have finite energies to give and distribute on a daily basis. Think very carefully where you’re placing them.
Ideally, it is towards the things that are bringing you more luck than the opposite. Most especially if it’ll go back out again through service and altruism. What could be a better way to incentivize ourselves than through this?
Do more things that can bring value to others → sustain those ventures → give it all back to the world / society / individual → do more things (again)
Forget material things, and whatnot. This is the real wealth I want. Perhaps, the core foundation of designing a life worth living, in my opinion.
Thank you for reading,
Worthwhile reads on the subject
It’s scary to put yourself out there. It’s hard to open yourself up to criticism. People online can be mean. But for every snarky comment, there are ten times as many people quietly following along and admiring not only your work, but your bravery to put it out publicly. And at some point, one of those people quietly following along will reach out with a life-changing opportunity and you’ll think, “Wow, that was lucky.”
From the article, “Publishing your work increases your luck” by Aaron Francis, Github
There’s generally a gulf between what we say we did all day and what we actually did. And there’s an even bigger chasm between the urgencies and emotional moments and the ones we know actually pay off.
When we give away our day, we give away our future.
From the article, “Time and focus and energy” by Seth Godin
And of course, How to Get Lucky from the Almanack of Naval Ravikant
If you like this post, you might like these past articles I’ve written as well:
The Bridge by Jeffrey Coleman
Wrote a personal and poignant guest post for my good friend and colleague, Jeffrey Coleman. He runs this amazing newsletter called The Bridge. If you are innately curious about a lot of things, I would highly recommend subscribing to this. Jeff is an intellectual and kind person, he’s a voice worth hearing from, and worth exchanging ideas with.
Thank you Jeff for the creative collaboration!
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