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On Luck, And Why You Don’t Need It

Ever heard of Murphy’s Law? It’s typically stated as “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Most people seem to be running their job hunt in a similar way.

Ever heard of Murphy’s Law?

It’s typically stated as “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

This law is generally considered to be somewhat of a joke in popular culture, because it sounds so comically fatalistic. But really, it’s based on a mathematical inevitability, more accurately stated as “anything that can go wrong, will eventually go wrong.”

For example, if there’s a one in a million chance that something bad will happen in a certain production process, and you run that process thousands of times a day, that bad thing will happen at some point.

It’s inevitable.

Funny thing is, most people seem to be running their job hunt this way.

Like having your resume picked is a matter of chance, and that’s why you should just repeat it over and over and over again, then you’ll eventually get hired. Murphy’s Law, sort of.

This assumes that job hunting is like participating in the resume lottery, and so winning a job is all a matter of luck.

Well, it’s not.
And you know it.

And this is actually good news, because frankly, you suck at luck.

Don’t worry, it’s not just you.
It’s a human thing.

Despite obligatory math classes in schools and colleges, human beings remain notoriously bad at dealing with any kind of chance – especially really small ones.

People get addicted to the lottery and gambling because they grossly overestimate their ridiculously small chances of winning in comparison to the cost of playing.

Similarly, other people desperately avoid things with very very low risk profiles, like flying, because the risk of an accident just freaks them out – despite the chance of that actually happening being absolutely miniscule.

So, you’re human, and bad at dealing with luck.
But that’s okay, because luck also just plain sucks to begin with.

After all, anything that’s pure luck is out of your control, by definition.

You have no power over it.
You can’t improve anything.
There’s no hope.

Ascribing success and failure to pure luck is the first step to accepting a victim mindset, which leads to apathy. It’s the road to nowhere.

Luckily your job hunt is not out of your control at all. There is so much you can do to improve your chances. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that you can improve your chances of getting an interview 50x.

And it doesn’t even have to be this big, overwhelming thing, like developing a custom website for the job you want like Nina4AirBnB.com.

Even easy stuff like finding out who the hiring manager is, and sending them a personal email, pitching yourself for the job, will easily land you in the top 5% of candidates.

And you know what? Even for the things that are mostly luck, such as chance encounters, and people reaching out to you for job offers, you can still do a LOT to improve your chances of that happening to you.

We call it increasing your luck surface area (links to a great podcast on this).

So stop patiently waiting, and diligently applying the same way over and over again. Remember, it’s not a lottery.

You don’t need luck.
You need drive!

Go out and create your own opportunities!
 

This post originally appeared in the DJH newsletter.
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