4 Simple Ways to Get Lucky

4 Ways to Get Lucky by Mukesh Gupta

In an experiment, social scientist Richard Wiseman, placed advertisements in national newspapers and magazines, asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact him. Over the years, 400 extraordinary men and women volunteered for his research from all walks of life: the youngest is an 18-year-old student, the oldest an 84-year-old retired accountant.

He gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and count the number of photographs  in the newspaper. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why?

Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2 in high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

For fun, he placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper: “Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.”

Research also reveals that unlucky people are on average more stressed out and are too narrowly focussed and hence miss chance opportunities. On the contrary, lucky people are open to new experiences and are generally less stressed out.

His research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles.

  • They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities,
  • They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition,
  • They create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and
  • They adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

Creating & Noticing Chance Opportunities: 

One of the ways that one feels lucky is when you encounter and are able to create or notice opportunities that are hiding in plain sight, just like in the experiments conducted by Richard Wiseman.

There are ways that we can all try to be open to noticing these chance opportunities. In order to do so, we need to slow down in life to appreciate things around us.

  • We need to be not just open to new experiences but maybe even seek new experiences.
  • We need to be open to meeting new people, be curious about them and what they do, what their interests are.
  • We need to be able to connect the dots when we see the dots.
  • We need to help others without clear expectations of how we want to be helped back.
  • We need to actively seek out variety in life (in what we read, in the people that we interact with, in the kind of work that we do, in the routes that we drive to and from office, in the way we entertain ourselves, in what we learn and how we learn). It is this variety, that increases the probability of having a chance encounter that can lead to a big opportunity.

So, someone who explores different routes to go to his office, instead of taking the same route or the person who decides that he will get to know everyone wearing a blue shirt in a networking event that he/she is attending or the person who will is willing to help out a colleague in a tough project, even though it is not part of his job – is more likely to be luckier than the rest of us.

Listening to Intuitions:

Eastern philosophies have always indicated that our intuitions are very powerful and need to be heeded. They are like plants, the more we listen and take care of our intuitions, the better they get and the more helpful they are. The kind of people who listen to their intuitions and are willing to try new stuff or go in a specific direction, just because their intuition says so, also tend to be more luckier.

I have personally experienced this in my life as well. When I don’t follow my initial intuition and want to take the safe and well-tested route, I tend to end up in places that have a much bigger probability of creating regret for me. Almost every time that I listen to and follow my intuition, I end up in a place or meet someone whom I would have never met otherwise.

I started my podcast, because I had a strong intuition that it would take me places that I would have never ventured otherwise. This one decision has helped me meet some really awesome people and get to know about their amazing work, which has in fact informed my work, helping me get much more creative and productive in my work.

Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Examples of self-fulfilling  prophecies can be found in literature as far back as ancient Greece and ancient India, it is 20th-century sociologist Robert K. Merton who is credited with coining the expression “self-fulfilling prophecy” and formalising its structure and consequences.

In his 1948 article Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, Merton defines it in the following terms:

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.[1]

In other words, a positive or negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion—declared as truth when it is actually false—may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions ultimately fulfil the once-false prophecy.

Self-fulfilling prophecy are effects in behavioral confirmation effect, in which behaviour, influenced by expectations, causes those expectations to come true.

Another one of the eastern philosophical beliefs is that we get what we expect to get. This is also because we act in a way that we deserve what we expect to get. So, if we expect to be lucky, our mind will sub-consciously look at all the evidence that points to the fact that we are lucky.

I did try a crude experiment to see the validity of this effect. I used to drive my motor cycle until a few years back and when I first came across this piece of information, I decided to test it.

Before I left my home, I would tell myself that I am feeling lucky today and that most of the traffic lights that i encounter today will be green and I will not have to wait at these junctions. And I am surprised (and not so surprised) to report that my belief’s turn out to be true and on those days, I would feel that most of the traffic lights that I would encounter would be green and allow me to pass.

I got excited and shared this with my wife and she would make fun of me. Then I started showing this to her when I used to drive her with me and after many tries, she reluctantly agreed with me.

Even today, when I am running late and want to reach some place quicker than usual, I use this belief and I still believe that this still works for me.

Similarly, when I started my podcast, I told myself that I will reach out to 5 potential guests and even if 2 agreed to spend time with me, I will launch the podcast. So, I reached out to 5 people I looked up to and all five agreed to spend time with me for the show and that is how my podcast got launched. In fact, I had no idea about how to record the conversation, nor did i have any idea about how to edit or post these recordings on iTunes, when I recorded my first 5 conversations. I believed that i can figure it out and I did.

So, yes, I do think of myself as a very lucky 🙂

Resilience

This quality is both the easiest and the toughest. As people who are open to new experiences, as someone who is willing to go with our instincts and explore new territories, ideas and experiences, we are bound to fail and run into hardships. The people who think of themselves as lucky, know that this will happen. In fact, they might even expect this to happen from time to time.

However, what differentiates them to others is their belief that they can overcome any such failures or hardships that they fall into. This confidence and the ability to not only overcome failure/hardships but come out stronger because of that is what makes people think of themselves as lucky.

Resilience is like any other muscle. The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more resilient we are, the more risks we are able to take and this again becomes a positive self-reinforcing loop.

Conclusion:

I believe that

Luck is a state of mind. You can decide to feel lucky or unlucky. We invent this state of mind and it becomes real for us.

So, as with most things in life, we need to work on the 4 principles and before that believe that we are special and are lucky. The way to build that belief is through the practice of gratitude. I am sure that each one of us can find at least 5 things that we are grateful for in our lives. As long as we recognise, believe and be thankful for these gifts in our lives, we will continue to strengthen our belief that we are indeed special and therefore are lucky.

Once that belief sets in, we start seeing all the different ways in which we are lucky.

So, lets start getting luckier.

PBTO29: Entrepreneur in Focus – Natasha from www.NatsyByDesign.com

NatsyByDesign (1)

In today’s episode, we host Natasha, founder & CEO of www.NatsyByDesign.com – an online store that supports artisans by brining their work directly to the consumer.

In this free wheeling conversation, we talk about what it means to succeed and fail and how important it is for entrepreneurs to continue to learn.

She shares her learning and challenges around scaling a business that depends on people who work on their own schedules and are not very keen on innovations around their traditional designs.

She also shares some of the challenges that she continues to face and how she copes up with these challenges.

This is a good episode to listen to if you are an entrepreneur, to understand that you are not alone in the struggles.. That the struggle and the hustle is part of the journey.. And that its not if you will hit a wall in your entrepreneurial journey but a question of when..

This episode and other episodes that I have recorded with other entrepreneurs are dedicated to all my entrepreneurial friends. You make the world go around – so pls don’t stop believing in yourself or in your dream.. We need you more than you know!

You can reach Natasha on facebook.

Helping a 1000 Entrepreneurs

Helping a 1000 Entrepreneurs

When I was running my business in Salem, a decade back, I did not have mentors or coaches that I could reach out seeking help or guidance. Being an entrepreneur can get very lonely.

Today, the situation has changed significantly. There are a lot of mentors and coaches are available for startup founders and entrepreneurs to connect, learn and achieve the results that they want to.

I have had my share of mentors as well – some whom I have worked with directly and learnt a lot, some whom I have learnt by following them and their work. I wanted to publicly thank all of them.

  • Porus Munshi: He has had the single most significant impact on how I work and view the world. He is the author of the best selling book – “Making Breakthrough Innovations Happen“. I also hosted him on my podcast and was probably an episode where I learnt the most. You can listen to that podcast here. Thanks Porus for your belief in me and spending so much time guiding me.
  • Seth Godin: I had the pleasure of interacting with him for the first time earlier this week as I participated in a leadership workshop that he hosted to raise funds for the Plus Acumen. He has a significant impact on the way I think about approaching work. He has been the inspiration for me to think bigger and do work that matters. I have learnt so much from reading his blog, books and videos on YouTube. Thanks Seth for leading and inspiring me & millions of others to do work that matters.
  • Joe Polish & Dan Sullivan: Both of them host a podcast titled “10xTalk” and have been instrumental in helping me think in frameworks and the importance of reflection. I have listened to every single episode that they have released and learnt so much. Thanks Joe and Dan, you guys are awesome. I am looking forward to having both of you on my podcast some day soon. Joe runs the Genius Network and Dan runs Strategic Coach.
  • Gary Veynerchuk: I have learnt a lot about hustle from Gary. His every single day is about hustle to make an impact. I also learnt the power of exploration & intent… And yes Gary, one day you will own your team. Thanks for inspiring and taking us along the journey. You can follow him and watch him hustle here.
  • Paulo Coelho: I must have read the book “The Alchemist” at least a 100 times. Every time I feel trapped, low morale or feel lost, I read the book again. The book instills hope and excitement every time I read it. I hope I get to meet you sometime soon. But till then, keep inspiring & fascinating us with the stories that you weave around human emotions and struggles.

Having learned so much from such a variety of people, I think it is now time for me to give back to the community and share whatever knowledge I have gained through my own work and what i have learnt from observing and learning from others.

Though I have a full time job both as an employee and as a husband/father, I would like to find time to help at least a 1000 entrepreneurs this year.

By help, I mean I shall do one of the following:

Social Promotions:

Every day, I shall find new entrepreneurs/enterprises/startups, who are doing work that matters and promote them on my social channels (online and offline).

Connections:

One of the best ways to help someone is to connect them to people who can have a big impact on their life and work. I shall strive to connect entrepreneurs to potential employees, customers, investors and/or partners.

Feature:

I will use this blog and my podcast to interview inspiring entrepreneurs, thought leaders who have a lot to offer others by sharing their journey and learnings with others. I shall feature them on my blog and/or podcast and spread their word and work.

Masterminds:

I shall create a mastermind group of entrepreneurs and host the same. The purpose of the mastermind would be to egg each other in their entrepreneurial journey and  at the same time use the power of the mastermind format to brainstorm and solve any specific challenge that are all struggling with over a period of time. I shall create the master mind group and update the information here later.

Mentoring/Coaching over a cup of coffee:

I shall host the coffee corner sessions every week to mentor/coach young entrepreneurs who want to pick my brain on the topics of new product development, business model,  marketing and customer acquisition.

10X in 10Q workshop:

I shall run free 10X in 10Q workshops where I shall share tactics and strategies that entrepreneurs can use to grow exponentially. You can register for these workshops here.

Open House:

I shall host Google Hangouts on a regular basis for startup founders to join and and ask me anything that they think that I can be of help. Details about the first one can be found here.

How will I measure success:

It is one thing to do something when you find sometime and then there is no pressure to perform and if it happens, it happens. However, I want to have a serious impact in the ecosystem and in order to do that, I need to be able to measure progress and know if I have succeeded in this project.

So, one of the best ways to ascertain whether or not you have added value is if the person is willing to pay for the idea/suggestion/help. So, as long as an entrepreneur donates some amount (irrespective of the amount of money – 1$ or 10000$doesn’t matter) me or a charity of mutual choice, I will count that as an entrepreneur whom I have helped.

How can you help

If you are an entrepreneur or a startup founder who would like to be a part of this movement, please register yourself here and I shall be in touch.

If you know an entrepreneur who could use some help, please forward this to them and ask them to reach out to me by filling out the form here.

If you want me to speak at your event for entrepreneurs, please reach out to me here.

So what’s in it for me?

Apart from the satisfaction of having done work that matters, I would have learnt extreme time management. I would also benefit from the positive energy that I shall get from meeting so many entrepreneurs. Hope fully this will also allow me to start living a life of significance rather than that of success.

To all the entrepreneurs:

Lets go make the world a better place!

25 Insanely Interesting People I Came Across in 2014

25 Insanely Interesting People

One of the goals that i had for 2014 was to discover new people and learn from new sources. I must say that I was fortunate enough to discover these people online and learn so much from them.

So, here is a list of some of the insanely interesting people that i came across in 2014. I do hope you will find some of these people and the great work that they are doing interesting enough to start following them.

  1. Bernadette Jiwa: She has a great blog called “The Story of Telling“. This is one of the best blogs that i have come across from a marketing perspective. She has a unique gift of sharing marketing insights by the way to telling short, sweet and interesting stories. I hope I am able to convince her to be a guest on my show sometime soon. Follow her work if you think you are in the business of telling stories (which is what every brand does, right?)
  2. Dan Rockwell: I discovered Dan accidentally and have become a big fan of his posts on leadership. He has a unique way of writing in lists and is to the point and hits your gut as a leader. You must follow his work if you are in a situation where you have to lead people or if you aspire to be a leader someday.
  3. Paul Castain: I was part of his Sales Playbook group on LinkedIn for sometime but I really discovered him when I was looking for thought leaders in the field of sales management. He brings with him so much positive energy and tongue-in-cheek humor that it is impossible to ignore him once you get to know him. He was one of the earliest guests on my show. You can listen to the awesome conversation we had here. I had also recommended his podcast on my podcast recommendation earlier this year.
  4. Jeffrey Baumgartner: I was part of his newsletter for sometime but I really got to know him and his body of work when I interviewed him for my podcast. He is quirky, funny and creative, all at the same time. If you are interested in Innovation and creativity as a topic, you should check out his Report 103 newsletter. He was on my show and his episode is one of the top 5 downloaded episodes on my show.
  5. Mitch Joel: I started listening to his podcast “Six Pixels of Seperation” and I must say, that i have learnt so much about marketing. I had also recommended his podcast on my podcast recommendation. He was kind enough to agree to spend time and record an episode for my show. The same is in post-production and will go live shortly.  He is insightful, articulate and interesting at the same time.
  6. Gary Veynurchuk: I discovered Gary late and once I found him, I just couldn’t have enough of him and his brand of marketing. He is not only insanely interesting, but witty and smart at the same time. I totally get it when he says that “Marketers ruin everything” and is a big advocate of the good old  ‘Hustle‘. I do hope that i can host him on my show sometime soon. If you are a business owner or a marketer, you must follow him and his work.
  7. Meron Bareket: I discovered Meron by accident as I stumbled upon his podcast “Inspiring Innovation“. Since then, he has become a friend, guide and mentor. I have learnt everything I know about podcasting from him and his course. He was also one of the first guest that I had on my show. He has a clarity of thought and purpose that I am jealous of.
  8. Srini Rao: I found Srini Rao from the Unmistakable Creative also through his podcast – Unmistakable Creative. The variety of guests that he brings on his show is simply astounding to say the least. Can you think of a show that has hosted a Bank Robber, an olympic coach (high performance trainer), someone who rode a bike from Berlin to India and yet connect them all for his audience. He is Unmistakable in his work as the Unmistakable CEO.
  9. David Burkus: I found David when I was looking to host someone who could share a lot of information about the topic of Innovation/Creativity. He is insightful, articulate, witty and intelligent at the same time. If you are interested in the topic of Innovation and Leadership, you should definitely follow his podcast LDRLB (called Leader Lab). He has also written the book The Myths of Creativity. He was on my show and we had a great conversation about his book. You can listen to the episode here.
  10. Anaggh Desai: I have been following Anaggh on twitter for the past couple of years. However, I got to meet him and know him a little bit this year as he agreed to be a part of my podcast. I was blown away by his knowledge about the service industries and his thoughts on how brands should be thinking and acting in the marketplace. He is the only person I know of who tweets insightful nuggets about people whom he interacts on twitter every year. I must admit that this post is also inspired by his current list which you can follow using the hashtag . He has a loyal following on twitter which is really high on engagement. If brands need to learn how to be social on social media, they can learn from him and his tribe of followers. He was on my show and you can listen to the same here.
  11. Shane Parish: I am a big fan of the Farnam Street blog that Shane maintains. His ability to gleam all the insights from some of the best books ever written and to summarize it in a way that people can not only understand the key premise of the book but also be intrigued enough to go and buy the book. If you love reading books, you must subscribe to his blog. I do hope to have him on my show sometime soon.
  12. Devdutt Pattnaik: I discovered him through a YouTube video where he was talking to a bunch of startup founders about the Indian mythology and how it relates to running or managing a business. I find his work to be very interesting as he covers and converges two of my most interesting topics in a way that i have not seen any one else do. He is inspiring, practical, knowledgable and creative at the same time. If you are even slightly interested in the mythology and lessons for business from mythology, you should definitely follow his work. Hopefully, I should have him on my show soon.
  13. James Altucher: I got to know James by stumbling on to his blog. Then I started listening to his podcast. Then I bought his book – Choose Yourself . I am blown away by his honesty, courage and his ability to fight back from disasters to becoming successful again. To a certain extent he has redefined what it means to be authentic and successful for me. He is in his inimitable style, prolific, authentic and smart at the same time.
  14. Scott Jordan: I found him accidentally on YouTube in a video which he was using as a Press Release. The more I researched about him the more intrigued I became. He founded and runs one of its own kind apparel company – ScotteVest. In my opinion, he is the epitome of hustling to succeed kind of entrepreneur, a rare breed indeed. He agreed to be on my show. The episode will go live sometime soon. He has the presence of mind and clarity of purpose that is critical for success for any entrepreneur. His ability to create news worthy content is really phenomenal. Follow him and his company for the remarkable product that they have created and as much as the phenomenal culture that they have built within their organization.
  15. Howard Moskowitz: I came to know Howard while listening to an episode of Mitch Joel’s podcast and asked him to be on my show. I am blown away by the knowledge that he possesses, the kind of work that he has done, the impact his work has had on our world. Malcolm Gladwell dedicated an entire TED talk to the work done by Howard speaks for itself. Despite all of this, his enthusiasm for his work is un paralleled. The episode featuring him would be the first episode of my show in 2015. You can have a sneak peak of the unedited recording of the conversation here.
  16. Kevin Roberts: I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the insightful blog posts that he writes. His blogs are easy to read & highly insightful. Follow him for the simple yet profound blog posts that seem to arrive (at least for me) when I needed them the most.
  17. Vivek Muthuramalingam: I stumbled upon the work of this Doctor turned photographer by accident when I saw his work exhibited at one of the galleries in Bangalore. I instantly liked and respected him for his work. He comes across as a shy photographer, but beneath that exterior is a great photographer and an even better story teller. I will be recording an episode with him for the show shortly.
  18. Pat Flynn: One of my goals this year was to explore and create a passive source of income and when I was looking for ideas, I stumbled upon Pat Flynn and I have never looked back. I listen to every single podcast episode that he puts out. I love his honesty and the single minded focus on his niche and his audience. He is interesting, curious and honest in a way I have rarely seen. Follow him if you are looking to creating a passive income for yourself.
  19. Michael Hyatt: I don’t remember who introduced me to Michael’s work but since I did, I have fallen in love with his work. His podcast episodes are interesting, insightful and full of practical tips that we can implement in our lives immediately. Follow him if you are looking to succeed in life and not just in business.
  20. Todd Henry: I was blown away when I read the book Die Empty. Since then I have followed the work of Todd and have never been disappointed. He talks about the stuff that it takes for us to be creative on demand, which is a key skill in the knowledge economy that we live in. He is fast, creative and full of practical advice. You should follow him and his podcast if you are a creative and are on your way to success.
  21. Mike Michalowicz: I have been a subscriber to Mike’s blog for the last couple of years but I really discovered him and his work this year. He is not only a great entrepreneur, author (Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur) but a great story teller. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious and his insights on entrepreneurship is simply mind-blowing. He is funny, witty, insightful and interesting, all at the same time. He agreed to be on the show and the episode will air shortly (you can check out the unedited conversation here). If you are running a small business and are looking for solid advice & practical tips on how to grow your business and its profitability, you must follow his work.
  22. Daniel Kahnemann: I had heard about Daniel Kahnemann and his work being used as a reference in many books including “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely (i did not include him because I have read almost all his work in the past couple of years). However, I truly understood the significance of this nobel prize winning author when I listened to his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow“. I was just blown away by the comprehensiveness of the book and the insights that was shared in the book. If you are in the business of influencing decisions made by others, you MUST read his book. I would be really lucky to host him on my show.
  23. Dan and Chip Heath: I first came across their book “Made to Stick” and was so blown away that i had to buy and read all their work (Switch & Decisive). I have since become a big fan of their approach of writing a book. They have simple exercises at the end of chapters which helps you not only understand the concepts but also practice them. I do look forward to hosting them on my show sometime soon. You must check them out if you are in the business of influencing people.
  24. Marie Forleo: I found Marie through one of her YouTube videos and have since become a big fan. Her videos are not only informative in the sense that they give practical advice on succeeding as an individual but are extremely well produced. She herself is witty, funny, extremely good looking and intelligent, all at the same time. Really love her tweetables in every video. Her ability to have fun while doing important, life changing work is what I have learnt from her.
  25. Bill McDermott: Though I work for SAP and he is the CEO of SAP, I never know about him as a person. I did not know about his career, the choices he made and the principles or values that he lives by. Reading his book Winners Dream, not only inspired me to dream big but also reinforced my commitment to the company he is leading. I now seem to know & understand his decisions much better. I do hope that i am able to work with him directly sometime and interview him for my show sometime soon.

This has been a very difficult list to put together as this year has been a year when I looked outside of my regular comfort zone and my little circle of friends and influencers to broaden my horizons and understanding.

I must say that Podcasts on iTunes, Audio books from Audible and YouTube videos played a big role in me coming face to face with most of these great people. Having a podcast (Pushing Beyond the Obvious) also helped a lot to get them to spend time with me so that i can not only read/listen to the content that they create, but also to know them as a person. That has allowed me to not only relate to their work better but also understand the context of their work.

I do look forward to continuing to follow and consume the great content that they put out but also look forward to discovering new, insanely interesting people in 2015.

IF you have a recommendation about someone whom I should follow, please share the same here as a comment and i would be really grateful to you. Also, if you think someone has influenced you a lot in 2014, it would be great if you could share about them here as well. If nothing else, this will be a public statement of gratitude for them and their work.

 

 

PBTO1: Launching “Pushing Beyond the Obvious” Podcast

I had earlier announced that I will launch my podcast shortly. Today, is the day when I would like announce the launch of “Pushing Beyond the Obvious” podcast.

This is the first episode of the podcast. In this episode, I talk about what this podcast is about and whom is it relevant for.

This podcast is relevant to you if:

  • You are an entrepreneur or a CEO
  • You are a manager responsible for sales, marketing, innovation or strategy function in your organization.

The podcast provide you insights and strategies on how to push the boundaries of the following functions:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy

The format of the show will be a combination of solo episodes where I share my experience and interviews where I host successful practitioners and thought leaders in these fields.

I am extremely excited about the journey and I hope you shall all join me in the ride.

I also believe that this podcast will play an important role in your success, whatever it is that you set out to do.

If you like the episodes, please share your love by rating, writing reviews and sharing this with your friends and colleagues.

You can provide your feedback or questions by writing to me at mgr at rmukeshgupta.com.