In this episode, I talk about Luck – and a unique framework around luck that I came across that really resonated with me. I talk about the four types of luck that entrepreneur Naval Ravikant came up with – up until then, I thought about luck one-dimensionally. So, we’ll go through the four types of luck and then I’ll assign a percentage to the types of luck I have experienced in my life. It’s an eye-opening exercise I’d encourage you to do as well.
You won’t want to miss this episode. Enjoy!
Full transcript below.
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Mike Malatesta 00:03
Hey, it’s Mike. And this is the “How’d It Happen?” Podcast, the Solo Series. This is what I do every Friday, I do a short solo about something that interests me or something that I’ve heard or something that I’ve learned or someone that I’ve met, an idea that’s come to the forefront, whatever’s on my mind, and I do this to share with you, because I think it could provide value, I feel like it provides value to me. And so everything that I feel provides value to me may very well provide value to you. So thank you for listening.
I am calling today’s episode “What’s luck look like?” What’s luck look like? So how do you think about luck? Do you think about luck as a static sort of one-dimensional thing? Or do you think that all luck is the same? Do you think that getting lucky is lucky enough and it really doesn’t matter? What kind of luck is it? This is weird, but I have been asked a lot in my life, especially being on podcasts and stuff like that, like do you feel lucky, I think of Guy Raz’s podcast “How I Built this. That’s a question he asks everyone that’s on the show, something about how much of your success is due to luck and how much is due to hard work or something else? And everyone usually has a humble answer to that. But I always looked at luck as sort of a one-dimensional thing; you either have luck, or you don’t have luck. And I imagine, I think maybe a lot of people think about it this way.
But then I came across a new framework around luck that made sense to me. So I saw this first in Sahil Bloom’s Curiosity Chronicle Newsletter. And if you’re not a subscriber to his newsletter, you may want to do that; I find it to be very valuable. Twice a week, he sends something out. It’s called the Curiosity Chronicle. And I find value in it, so you may as well, but this framework around luck that he described in his newsletter was actually from a guy named Naval Ravikant, and Navel Ravikant is someone that I’m aware of, I don’t know him personally, but I’m aware of because he is one of the founders of an investing platform called Angel List that I participate in. And he’s a billionaire too. So he’s been very, very successful. So like, I saw this framework, and I’m thinking to myself, oh, boy, like to me, I’ve always thought one-dimensionally about luck. And I’ve always thought that it’s just something fortunate that happened to me or for me, although I do and I have believed that the more proactive, curious, connected and intentional I am, the more luck frequently seems to show up. But I’m actually not sure if that’s luck now after looking at this framework.
So here’s the deal, Naval makes the case that there’s four types of luck, four kinds of luck. The first one, type one is blind luck. So blind luck is kind of as the name confers, it’s completely uncontrollable. For example, you know, where you’re born, who you’re born to, and the base circumstances of your life, all fall into this category. So those are all blind luck, like you’ve heard people say, or, you know, lucky family club or lucky sperm club you’ve heard. So that’s blind luck, something that happens that you have no control over whatsoever. It just happened, that it happened.
Type Two is called hustle luck. With hustle luck, you’re creating motion and collisions through hustle and energy that you are inserting into an ecosystem or into an environment or into your network or whatever, however you choose to define that. And so the increase in collisions opens you up to more lucky events.
The type three luck is awareness luck, awareness luck, and awareness luck is having a depth of understanding within a given arena that allows you to become very good at identifying and positioning yourself for luck. It’s a type of thing where you can spot luck, like a million miles away, right, or spot luck from a mile away. It’s feels to me like it’s kind of a combination hustle and awareness that kind of come together. But I’ll talk about that at the end.
And type four is expert luck. And with expert luck, your expertise in an area creates luck, and/or luck seeks you out because you’re an expert. That’s a very interesting type of luck to me. I’m intrigued by expert luck, not because of the first thing, that being an expert in something helps you to create luck. But what he said on the back end of that, which was luck seeks you out because you’re an expert. And I think about opportunities that have come my way through this framework, and it just makes it very interesting and actually exciting to think about things reframed through all these different ones, because I look through my life and I go well, that was luck. What kind of luck was that? And, again, it’s a whole change for me, because I had a sort of a one-dimensional view around luck, and it was just luck. That’s all it was, and I couldn’t define it any more. So I thought this was really helpful.
And when I ran my life through this luck framework, you know, as I said, its distinctions really make sense to me, and I’m not sure whether I’d be able to assign a specific type of each luck to the luck that I’ve experienced. But chances are that if I did, you know, one type would fit sort of more than the other or fit better than the other or certainly be more frequent than the other. So what the heck, let’s, let’s give it a try. So here’s my completely anecdotal guess, about what my life’s luck breakdown might look like in this framework. So here we go.
Blind luck, I’m gonna give blind luck 20%. Because I feel like that’s fair. 20% of the things that happened to me that I considered to be lucky, happened for no reason that’s attributable to me, that just happened.
Hustle luck. I may be aggressive here, but I’m gonna give myself 50% of that. I’m going to attribute 50% of my luck, the hustle luck, meaning that I get off my ass and I do things that I don’t want to do, I do things that scare me, I do things that make me nervous, I do things that make me anxious, I do things that I could very easily not do. And no one would know. Except me. So I’m giving myself a little bit of maybe extra credit for hustle luck.
Awareness, luck. I give myself 20% on that. I don’t know why, I just didn’t know how else to think about and categorize awareness luck because, like I said, it kind of like, to me it’s a combination of hustle and awareness as I understood or took away my understanding of what he had to say.
And the last one is expert luck. And I give myself 10% on expert luck. Although, you know, and I hope that one continues to grow, because, you know, I’m 56 years old, I should be an expert at something by now, right? But I feel so much like a generalist than a specialist. And I feel so much like, I know a lot of things about a lot of things, but I’m really not an expert at many things and maybe at no things but as I thought about it, you know, and this is probably how I should be looking at it. It’s really not that important what I think about my expertise, if I have any. What’s more important is what other people think about it. Because if other people think that I’m an expert in this or that, then they will seek me out. Because their perception is that I’m an expert, and I can help them in that capacity. So I’ll give myself 10% for expert luck. If I wanted to see anything grow. I’d love to see blind luck grow. I’d love to see expert luck grow as a percentage of my overall luck.
So the question is, does this framework make sense to you? Or the questions are does this framework make sense to you? Have you ever thought about luck in these sort of categories or types, or have you ever compartmentalized the way you think about luck, and if you have, I’d love to hear how you do it. And if you haven’t, and this makes sense to you, it’d be interesting to hear how you sort of break down your luck into these four types like I have.
Thank you for making time for me and the podcast today. If you like what I’m doing here, please leave a review, shoot me a note, subscribe to my newsletter. You can find that on my website at Mikemalatesta.com. If you’re not a subscriber to the podcast, please click the Follow button on Apple or Spotify or Stitcher or wherever, it’s everywhere. So wherever you like to listen to your podcast, grab it and then join me next Friday for another solo episode. Join me Monday for a long-form episode where I have a great conversation with a really high performer about how it happened for them and more importantly, why it’s important to you that can you take away from it, what’s going to make a difference in your life. So until next time, thank you for listening and maximize your greatness.