Today I'm breaking my policy of not contributing to Rupert Murdoch's empire, by celebrating Scott Adams' wonderful article in last Saturday's Wall Street Journal. It's hard to tell how long we'll get free access, so read it now. Wait, it's a promotion for Scott's new book, so you could get that later.
"The universe has plenty of luck to go around" is probably my favorite remark from Scott, but "have a system, not a goal" is probably the strongest piece of advice.
Talking about one's failures instead of one's success is quite the rage now--see Tim O'Reilly's How I Failed (which is also terrific).
Over the weekend, I was asked to describe my achievements and it was a fairly humiliating experience. It didn't occur to me to say I've had three (no, four) entrepreneurial ventures fail, been fired a couple of times (the first by my own father), and placed a few bad bets. Now I know!
Wall Street Journal: Scott Adams' Secret of Success: Failure, 2013-Oct-12, by Scott Adams
When it started to look as if it might be a success, my passion for cartooning increased because I realized it could be my golden ticket. In hindsight, it looks as if the projects that I was most passionate about were also the ones that worked. But objectively, my passion level moved with my success. Success caused passion more than passion caused success. ...
By design, all of my efforts were long shots. Had I been goal-oriented instead of system-oriented, I imagine I would have given up after the first several failures. It would have felt like banging my head against a brick wall.
But being systems-oriented, I felt myself growing more capable every day, no matter the fate of the project that I happened to be working on. And every day during those years I woke up with the same thought, literally, as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and slapped the alarm clock off.
Today's the day.
If you drill down on any success story, you always discover that luck was a huge part of it. You can't control luck, but you can move from a game with bad odds to one with better odds. You can make it easier for luck to find you. The most useful thing you can do is stay in the game. If your current get-rich project fails, take what you learned and try something else. Keep repeating until something lucky happens. The universe has plenty of luck to go around; you just need to keep your hand raised until it's your turn. It helps to see failure as a road and not a wall.