I have luck. Last Friday I was invited, jointly with a friend, an executive in a Swedish company, to give the closing lecture in a leadership course. The professor, another friend of ours, asked us to provide his students with some experiences and thoughts that can eventually help them in their professional careers.
While preparing the session, we talked a lot of how luck can potentially shape one’s development and how everyone should seek for their blue ocean: a place where your skills make you shine. Luck is mainly a matter of the context.
Seneca said that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. Of course, being at the right place at the right time is important. Being ready to show your talents at that very moment is decisive. This is impossible unless you know what you are capable of.
Self-awareness is at the core of creating opportunities. How else could anyone recognize a moment to shine?
And yet, it’s not only about skills and capabilities. It’s about being open-minded enough to look for what makes us different in that particular context. A liability in one place can be an advantage in the other, and this is a clever way to break away from the competition. When you’re different, there’s no possible comparison.
Therefore, besides being aware of what we can do, we need to look for where we can do it that makes us different.
Take advantage of opportunities
When opportunity knocks on your door, you need to be ready; otherwise, the opportunity will pass you by.
The question arising in this point is what an opportunity is for you. This is both an important and a personal question.
What makes an opportunity being an opportunity depends on what you want. With a wider perspective, we can say that is related to your purpose. When you know where you’re heading to, making decisions becomes easier, and so does stay focused. Not everything coming to knock your door is an opportunity, even if it’s disguised like that.
We tend to keep doors open, but a lot of scattering can only make us waste time.
In the Japanese culture, they use this word, Ikigay, to name the situation where you have a meaningful and purposeful. In Japanese, Ikigay means “reason to live”.
To put it in simpler words, Ikigay is the place where your passion meets your talent, and you get paid for it. This is the blue ocean I was talking about at the beginning.
We can’t control luck. But we can control our actions. Developing our skills, taking advantage of context and making good decisions can lift you up to where you want to be.
And that’s luck.