The proven formula for creating good luck

If you think that some people have all the luck, you’re probably right. But their luck didn’t just fall out of the sky. Real luck occurs at the intersection of random chance, talent and hard work. People who have a talent for luck are open to possibilities, see opportunities and go where lucky things can happen.

Lucky people put themselves in the place where good things can occur. When Mark Zuckerberg was a Harvard undergraduate with the idea to start Facebook, he moved to Palo Alto, Calif., for a summer. In that high-tech environment, he met the people who could support him, and he got his first angel investments. He went where the luck would be — and he’s now worth about $72 billion.

Some people create luck for themselves by taking an unusual path. TV executive Mike Darnell was at FOX when he decided that he could make luck by going in a different lane than everyone else. He started developing reality shows, and he didn’t care when competitors scoffed at them. He liked one pitch he heard — and bought a summer-replacement show called “American Idol.” When it went on to be one of the biggest shows in TV history, Darnell looked very lucky. But he had put all the pieces in place.

Everybody wants the one big lucky hit that will change everything. An executive I know bought Microsoft stock when it first went public in 1986. The $2,000 he invested then is worth about three-quarters of a million dollars today. Nice, right?

He brags about that investment often. But he never mentions the many other stocks he bought that same year that stayed flat. He didn’t get lucky by picking the right stock; he picked a lot of stocks.

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