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What's Your Return On Luck?

Jennifer Prosek  Follow

In an article by Jim Collins (of Good to Great fame) published in The New York Times this weekend, I learned about ROL or "Return on Luck." What an incredibly interesting concept!  ROL quantifies how people maximize "luck events" in their lives. We all have luck events (and the opposite). Collins notes:

What's Your Return on Luck? (Marc Phares/Epic Studios)

"Getting a high ROL requires throwing yourself at the luck event with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life and not letting up. Bill Gates didn't just get a lucky break and cash in his chips. He kept pushing, driving, working - and sustained that effort for more than two decades. That's not luck - that's return on luck… After finishing our luck analysis for the book "Great by Choice," we realized that getting a high ROL required a new mental muscle. There are smart decisions and wise decisions. And one form of wisdom is the ability to judge when to let luck disrupt our plans. Not all time in life is equal. The question is, when the unequal moment comes, do we recognize it, or just let it slip? But, just as important, do we have the fanatic, obsessive discipline to keep marching, to push the opportunity to the extreme, to make the most of the chances we're given??"

This article spoke to me as I am a firm believer that in many ways we make our own luck. Hard workers, the ones who are willing to do the things others are unwilling to do, always do better. The question is whether there will be a luck moment in our lives big enough to rival those of say Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, and whether we will recognize it and do what it takes to maximize it. Interesting concept indeed!  I'm running out to buy the book now! (Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen). CJP

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