Jonathan Cutrell

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Success is Born From Luck and Action

You can't wait for luck to strike, but you also won't always get what you deserve. Both of these are true - so, go make luck happen for you!

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Should you study successful people? This seems like a rhetorical question. We certainly don't want to avoid studying successful people, but this comes with a bit of a caveat. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, I'm a Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to open-driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. We want to believe that our actions have direct and understandable, fair consequences. We want to believe that we will be rewarded for our hard work and our investment. We want to believe that if we got straight A's, our report cards all the way through school, that that secures us for life. That once we've paid off our student loans, we'll understand debt forever. We want to believe that everyone who's successful should be. And when we say that they should be, we mean that they earned it. Or they did something to help them become successful. This is our reasoning brain. We want to attach each person's fate, each person's outcome, their situation in the world, to their actions. Unfortunately, this is so rarely true. Now, I don't want to lead you down the wrong path of just being nihilistic about success, because there are certainly people who are serially successful. And we can kind of statistically reduce the role of chance in their success, in at least those repeated successes. So we should pay attention to what successful people do. We should also compare that to a backdrop of mental models and principles that are true beyond any given person's success. But here's the important part, that I don't want you to miss in today's episode. The role of luck. For the sake of this episode, we're defining luck as something that happens to you. Without your input, without you actually doing much at all, luck strikes. This might be the situation that you were born into, it might be the right place at the right time, meeting a particular person, someone taking a bet on you at the right time, you making a lucky guess. All of these things are not necessarily rationally driven, which is kind of directly in opposition to our earlier model of understanding success. Success is somehow directly connected to your actions. The truth is rarely all one or the other. Usually, people who are wildly successful and especially people who are successful more than once have a little of both. They have a little bit of luck, and they have a lot of action. And here's what I want you to understand. luck is not something that just falls out of the sky, not always at least. Sometimes random events do occur, and there's nothing that you could have done to position yourself to take advantage of that random event. It was kind of the confluence of factors that are totally out of your control, completely unpredictable. But one thing is true about luck. That is, if you give yourself more chances, then you naturally are going to have a higher possibility of succeeding. By its very definition, luck is a statistically unlikely event. Something happening that is lucky doesn't happen commonly, otherwise it wouldn't be called luck in the first place. And so in order to take advantage of the statistical reality that luck does indeed happen, but it only happens rarely, we should focus on putting ourselves in a position where we can be a part of those statistics when they do strike. In other words, if luck happens one out of a thousand times, and it might mean that you need to do something a thousand times before you're successful. Playing this one in a thousand with other principles might help you find ways of thinking that cut that down to, let's say, one in 500 or one in 200. Playing luck to your favor is all about playing the odds. And so if you want to be a serially successful person, you don't just pay attention to your own behavior, and you don't just wait around for things to happen to you. Instead, you find ways to make your own luck. That's not magic, and it doesn't mean that you necessarily have to overwork or be a genius-level smart. It just means to place your bets accordingly. Think of every opportunity you have as another chance to play the odds. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope you will start thinking about your options, your success, as a mixture of both luck and direct action. Thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed this discussion and you want to continue talking about this kind of thing, come and join the Developer Tea. Discord community. This is the kind of thing we talk about. Developer Tea. Icom slash discord. You can join for free. It's always going to be free. We're never going to ask you to give us your personal information, to stay a part of the group or anything like that. We do things like book clubs and we have rooms that are open to any question you can imagine from the most practical things like helping you debug something all the way to the more philosophical and career level things like, how should I deal with this difficult situation at work or in my career? Thanks so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.