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How to get lucky: 9 ways to beat the odds

There are ways to increase the odds in your favor. Improving your luck isn’t magical. If you want to learn how to get to lucky, continue reading…

Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

If you want to learn how to get lucky, you’ve come to the right place.

It seems mystical and magical, but this illusion dissipates once you understand how to get lucky.

If you want to know how to get lucky, just look at how you successfully do anything else.

There are ways to increase the odds in your favor. Improving your luck isn’t magical. If you want to learn how to get lucky, continue reading…

My thoughts on getting lucky started with a reflection

I often think to myself, “Imagine if you had just started getting your life right today.”

It would be worth it, but I’m grateful I got serious at 28. As of this writing, I’m 33 years old and I lead a life that I often feel lucky to have.

In the past 5 years, I’ve boxed at a high level, earned a physics degree, published 2 books, and learned how to make money online.

I have freedom, satisfaction, and health. While there are elements of hard work and sacrifice, a lot of my success is due to luck.

In this article I will teach you the practical steps I took–and you can take as well–to experience more luck in my life. In this article.

The Definitive Guide on Getting Lucky

I’ve written a lot about how I got my life together. Things are good now and that’s a function of hard work, but luck has played (and will continue to, I imagine) a significant role in my life.

I think luck plays a significant role in the life of any successful person. People don’t like to admit this for two big reasons:

1) People believe that it takes away from the effort they put in. After all, even people who are OBVIOUSLY lucky don’t like to hear that’s why they have a good life. If you reduce all success down to “right place, right time”, then how are you supposed to seriously teach someone how to be successful?

2) They severely misunderstand what luck ACTUALLY is. Most people think it’s picking the right numbers or winning the “genetic lottery”. These things help you excel, but they don’t really matter

Dealing with the first misunderstanding is a natural result of dealing with the second.

Before I give you my definition of luck, let me warn you: it’s probably going to differ from whatever’s in Webster’s dictionary. If you’re satisfied with your level of luck, go read theirs instead.

Ed Latimore’s Definition Of Luck: Let “n” be an intended or predicted outcome. Let k be any number of events that occur because of “n”. The unintended n+k order of effects of an action is luck.

I’m also a slight math nerd, but you don’t need to be a numbers junkie to understand or apply this groundbreaking formula for getting luckier. Notice that I don’t distinguish between “good” and “bad” luck.

I’ve given you the theory. Now let’s break the application so you can learn how to get lucky and improve your life at a rate you never before thought was possible.

1) Have a goal

Trying to accomplish something makes it more likely you’ll get lucky by at least a factor of ten.

Ok, I just made that number up, but taking action is the most important thing you need to do to get lucky. You need an initial event to ripple the pond of life so that it sends the waves of luck reverberating around you.

I’ll put this point another way: you can’t win if you don’t play. You can’t get lucky sitting on the sidelines.

When someone complains about their bad luck, I know they’re living without purpose. These are the people who go through the motions of life. Coincidentally, they have the worst luck.

When you take action towards a goal, you automatically do two important things for improving your luck: you increase your number of constructive decisions and decrease your number of destructive decisions.

When it comes to getting lucky, not doing things that contribute to misfortune goes a long way.

Notable personal experience

Getting a new car makes you feel lucky

You need to rely on luck a lot less when you have a nice car.

I used to always get “surprised” by expensive car issues. That’s because I bought basic, barley functional vehicles. I was just living for the moment, trying to save myself the embarrassment and discomfort of taking the bus.

Once I committed to boxing, I started doing things that made it possible to afford a decent car. I needed a decent car so that I’d be able to reliably get to the gym every day.

I saved money and I started paying down my debts to improve my credit score to qualify for a loan. This allowed me to get a vehicle that didn’t require loads of maintenance just to run.

2) Always be ready

“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” Once you select a goal, you must work relentlessly on achieving it. This ensures that whenever you get an opportunity to advance on it, you are ready.

Imagine being a writer, waiting for your big break. You meet an agent who has a great opportunity for you IF you have a finished manuscript. Meeting this agent may be a random encounter. It may be a result of you putting the first principle into action. Regardless, you’ve wasted an opportunity because you weren’t prepared.

Preparation is a result of dedication to your craft. By constantly improving, you will always be as ready as you can be for any opportunity.

Notable personal experience

When I made it to the National Golden Gloves tournament in 2011, I had no idea who I’d draw (the fighter pairings are random). I trained like hell leading up to it.

My first draw was the eventual heavyweight Olympic representative for the United States at the 2012 London games and world title challenger, Dominic Breazeale.

Not only did I win by a score of 4-1, but I got recruited by the group sponsoring his training for the next 2 years.

I lived in Los Angeles as a paid amateur (3k a month + housing + meals). I also won a national title (2012 P.A.L heavyweight) and finished 2nd at Ringside World Tournament (finishing behind my podcast co-host, Cam F. Awesome) there as well.

These accolades would help me recruited by Roc Nation Sports as a professional boxer. All of this took place over the span of 6 years and it started because I was prepared.

3) Take more chances

There is a great book I recommend called “Hustle” (written by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, and Jonas Koffler). In the book, they compare getting lucky to getting up at bat in baseball. The level of skill or preparation you have is your batting average.

If your batting average is .400 in major league baseball, apparently this is excellent (please forgive me baseball fans. I don’t know the game well at all). This means that if you got up to bat 10 times, you’d hit the ball 4 times.

We don’t know which of those 4 hits will be home-runs or base-hits. You still have to swing to make something happen.

Your “batting average” is–more or less–fixed. Since you’ve maxed out on skill and preparation, the only way to get more opportunities is to swing more often. Instead of 10 times, get up to bat 100 times.

There’s a MUCH greater chance that one of the 40 hits will be a homerun compared to just the 4.

If you want to get lucky, you have to do more and display more of your abilities.

Having skills is one thing, but marketing and selling them is another. You must find every single way you can to display who you are and what you can do.

Notable Personal Experience

A great book teaching you how to get lucky

Read a great book on how to get lucky

I have 110k twitter followers and I’ve sold about 8000 copies of my book in a year.

Not crazy big numbers, but I knew nothing about this game and have been slowly chugging along. One thing that’s helped me is that I expose myself and build my brand every chance that I can.

Whether it’s tweeting a thousand times per month, doing EVERY podcast request I get (I’ve easily done over 50 podcasts now), doing keynote speeches, partnering with a friend to do a podcast, or starting my own (coming soon!)…

I take every chance I can to get up at bat and create opportunities for myself. It’s not only created more opportunities, but it’s generated quite a bit of income alongside the book sales.

4) Help people when it costs little or nothing to do so

We do things without awareness of how far–in time or space–our actions will reach. While we don’t know what they’re going to affect, we know there will be reactions along the way.

In many ways, this is just another phrasing of the concept of luck that I gave earlier.

The best way to take advantage of this is to protect yourself from the consequences of abusing it. You don’t have to bend over backwards to help people. However, if it only costs you a small amount of time/money to make a disproportionately large difference, do it.

You never know when or how this person may be in a position to help you. It should also go without saying that kicking people while they’re down is completely unacceptable.

Helping others makes you luckier, but you also feel like a good person. Seriously, the reward for helping is the feeling of being helpful.

An unintended benefit (the “k” in the “n+k” formula) is that it makes people more likely to help you. It also makes it less likely that they will try to set you back.

Notable Personal Experience 

The first time I went to college, I had a car. I made a friend who was a local (I went to the University of Rochester when I was 18). I let him use my car quite a bit. Sometimes he would borrow it for the whole weekend because I didn’t really need it.

Maybe it was too trusting, but nothing bad ever happened. Then the following year, I dropped out and needed to get back to Pittsburgh. I only had like $150 bucks. Also, I no longer had a car.

The guy I let borrow my car went out of his way to drive me back to Pittsburgh. He finally had a car. He told me on the drive, “You let me use your car last year. Of course I had to help you out.”

5) Be likeable

No one is saying be a brown nose, but don’t underestimate the power of likability. If you understand how to make people like you, it’s amazing how much luck you’ll have and trouble you’ll avoid.

When people like you, they want you to like them. My experience has been that no one is immune to this rule of human interaction. To gain your approval, they will present you with more opportunities and prevent others from taking yours. Not only will you get more tries at bat, but a benefit of likability is also that it “shortens the field”.

People are more likely to make exceptions, give you bonus points, or help you succeed in spite of yourself.

Notable Personal Experience

There are two incidents where the power of likability altered my life.

The first: I’ve been pulled over by the police on 4 separate occasions where they should have arrested me. However, my likability saved me. Likability is responsible for my spotless arrest record. I don’t share this proudly, only as a matter of fact for teaching purposes.

Good family will make you lucky

Graduate basic training on time because I got an extra chance to shoot. The power of likability to make you lucky

The second: it was during shooting qualifications at basic training. In 3 attempts, I did not hit the number of targets required for qualification. Normally, soldiers have only 3 chances to qualify. Because likability works on people, regardless of their position relative to you, I got to shoot a fourth time.

On that try, I passed and spared myself from having to do basic training all over again. Starting over would disrupt the timing of my plans to return to school.

6) Increase your value and leverage it

When you don’t have anything to your name, you still have your name. Make sure it’s worth a damn. In some circles, your reputation is the only currency accepted.

This is an excellent base for building any number of skills. When you have a solid reputation, you will get opportunities to be around people. With this exposure, you can build networks and build your value in a variety of ways.

If you’re only good at one thing, don’t worry about it. This is what you will use to leverage your money and time. The better you are at your skill, the more ways you can leverage it into money and manpower.

People never think of this as a way to get lucky, but it always pays off. When you’re good at something, you can take advantage of trade and acquire resources. Employment is nothing more than an exchange of skills or time for money.

Notable Personal Experience

How To Get Lucky With Ed Latimore's Book

Following the advice in this book will help you get luckier

I am not the best writer, but I enjoy it and I’ve decided to become the best I can at it. I take writing seriously. I’ve created a profitable book and website with my writing skills. Leveraging my writing is the reason why I have so many opportunities.

7) Take calculated risks

The safest path is the surest path. It’s the one most people go down and it’s the reason most people, almost by definition, aren’t lucky. This is because most people do not expose themselves to volatile events. They prefer a life with little chance to mess up, but with little chance to excel as well.

Lucky people always take risks.

They make calculated moves, but they still don’t have a guaranteed positive outcome. They do things that most people shy away from, so they end up with chances that most people never get.

This isn’t doing what’s difficult so much as it’s doing something where there’s a chance you can lose big. A basic example is someone who starts a business. It’s safer and easier to get a job, but there is also less reward (with less freedom as well).

To increase your luck, learn to eat a healthy amount of risk.

Notable Personal Experience

When I went back to school at 28, I knew that I’d be able to do many online classes but only up to a point. I needed to do online classes because I needed to work while finishing my degree.

When that point came, things were tight. I did the math and figured that I could survive until my refund check from school came.

Well, I had a car issue and needed to lean on my money. This unlucky event had the potential to ruin me. However, a sponsor sent me a $1000 endorsement check. His timing was impeccable.

If I hadn’t taken the risk, I would have had to change my major to something more accomodating. This likely would not have been as satisfying.

8) Nurture your relationships

At the end of the day, people are the most important thing.

It’s important to be likable with the public, but your friends require a higher degree of authenticity. They’ll be there with you through thick and thin and they want to see you win.

This is, of course, assuming you pick the right friends. Selecting the right friends is beyond this article, but know that doing so makes you incredibly lucky. They will come through for you when you really need it and are least expecting it.

Notable Personal Experience

How to get lucky with good friends

When I moved back to Pittsburgh from L.A., I would not have had anywhere to live if it wasn’t for the generosity of two good friends of mine. I don’t know how my life would have turned out and it was a major turning point for me. I am forever in debt to my two friends for this.

9) Control your perspective

There is another old saying that I love. “Nothing is either good or bad, only thinking makes it so.” Then there’s another one I also think is appropriate. “Life is not what happens to you, but how you react to it”.

How you perceive events dictates your reaction to them.

Everything that happens to you is an opportunity.

I knew a guy who got clean only after he did a long stretch in prison. As long as you aren’t dead, there is a way to use the situation to make something great to happen.

I’m aware that this step is a bit of a cheat code. It’s taking any event and seeing it as good rather than what it is. Well, it’s all relative and subjective.

A poor kid in Detroit doesn’t realize that he’s still in the top 10% of wealth in the world. A middle-class family thinks falling behind on the mortgage is a tragedy.

But if you don’t see things this way, then it doesn’t matter. You could win one million dollars and still feel like you should have 2 million. Gratitude and perspective are the keys to feeling lucky. Not only that, but a positive mind is one better able to solve problems

Notable Personal Experience

When I enlisted in the military, I was broke. I also wanted to change my surroundings as quickly as possible. However, due to the specific MOS I selected, I couldn’t ship to basic training in March. I had to tough it out for a few more months until June.

I told myself that I would make the best of this situation.

As a result, I got an extra professional fight to increase my resume. I also fell in love with my girlfriend, who I’ve been with ever since. I’ve talked about it other newsletters, but my girlfriend has been an incredible motivator/life changer for me. Had I shipped in March, that relationship likely wouldn’t have materialized.

I used the time to build the foundation of my life in other areas.

A Summary Of How to Get Lucky

  • Take more chances
  • Treat people better
  • Improve your skills
  • Always be prepared

If you do these things, your luck will dramatically increase. You may even find a few quarters on your way back from making the world a better place.

Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Further Reading

5 Hair Loss Remedies To Try Before It’s Too Late
8 ways boxing will transform your life
5 life lessons I learned from lifting iron
How to be an attractive man (no-BS guide)