Phew. A year's worth of work has come to fruition. We have released the 1.0 version of Stratospheric last weekend! This inspired me to write a bit about luck in this newsletter.
Inspirational Nugget of the Week
Increase Your Surface Area for Luck
Luck is something that we think we have no control over. But is that true?
That colleague you despise who got a promotion. You think he got lucky because who on earth would promote such an asshole? But was it really just luck? Maybe he lobbied for his promotion with the right people. Had lunch with a manager. Or he just got noticed because he made sure that his work was seen by the right people. That's inviting luck to happen.
Or that person who is quitting her day job because she's hit the jackpot with her side business and is now making a lot of money with it. It happened overnight. One day her business wasn't making money, now it does. She got lucky. Or did she? She's been working on the side business for over a year, investing time and effort to invite luck to happen.
These are just two examples of how we can make luck happen in a work scenario. The concept expands to the personal life as well: invest in certain activities and increase your chance for luck in the future. It's like paying money into a savings account and calling it "lucky" to be paid interest.
Here are some things that you can do to increase your surface area for luck:
Write. Write blog posts inside or outside of your organization to increase the chance for the right people to notice you. Within your organization, people may notice you and start a conversation, giving you context and opportunities you wouldn't have had otherwise. You might end up moving to another team to do something more interesting. Or you may get promoted because the right person noticed you. It's similar if you write outside of your company: people might notice you and offer a job, or an opportunity for a side business.
Contribute to other people's success. Make it a priority to help people be successful. People you helped will usually help you back. In the worst case, you'll have a positive relationship with the people you helped. Even if they don't actively help you in your activities, they might talk to someone else about you and you might be noticed by the right people. Another increase in your surface area for luck. If you can't directly contribute to their success, amplify it by spreading the word.
Keep relationships alive. This is the hardest one for me and I suck at it. Keep a list of people you want to stay in contact with. And then stay in contact. Schedule reminders if you must. Or schedule a regular 1:1 session with them at work. Opportunities arise from talking to people.
Create a community. If you're interested in a certain topic or activity, try to find like-minded people to talk about it. When I tweeted that I wanted to meet up with fellow bloggers, I met the co-authors of our now-published book Stratospheric. I had never planned to write that book and I would never have written it alone. That tweet also opened up another business opportunity with one of my co-authors that's bringing me money every month. Talk about being lucky.
There are certainly other ways to create luck. Be open-minded and let opportunities happen instead of keeping to yourself. Take action to get lucky!
Ever tried to debug an application without logs? Yeah, I know, it sucks.
Logging alone doesn't cut it, though. When testing on the local machine, we want to log to the console or a file and when running the application in production, we want to send the logs to a log server to have convenient access to the logs.