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Dr. Rajiv Tandon is an entrepreneur, educator, mentor, and facilitator of peer groups for CEOs of fast-growing companies in Minnesota; he has also taught at the U of M’s Carlson School of Management and started an entrepreneurship program at the University of St. Thomas. He breaks down five ways (besides waiting to catch a leprechaun) to foster luck and success in business and life.
Generate ideas. “The traditional feeling about luck is that it’s a eureka moment—you wait patiently, and it strikes,” says Tandon, “But that’s not how entrepreneurs look at it.” Instead, they generate lots and lots of ideas. “Don’t worry about looking foolish,” Tandon advises. “Actively generate as many out-of-the-box ideas as you can.”
Then pare them down. Sift the ideas through a sieve; throw out those that can’t be successful for you today. “You’ll probably reject 90% of what you came up with; then you have your key ideas that you can shine and buff,” says Tandon. “Being lucky is nothing but taking the unlucky parts off of an idea.”
Redefine your relationship to failure. “Failure is nothing but an indication to you that success lies elsewhere,” says Tandon. “It’s a propellant toward ultimate success.”
Focus. It may be true that the more you try, the more likely you are to eventually succeed, but focus is a better strategy. “Selecting the idea you want to bet on means deselecting others. Deciding what not to work on creates luck. It’s like taking a piece of rock and removing the excess so the statue emerges. Remove the excess from your life that is hiding success underneath it.”
- Stay open. Don’t be so focused that you lose track of the rest of the world. Stay open to ideas and thoughts from outside the box. “Our first impression of new ideas is usually that they’re wrong. Light bulbs go on when we pause to ask what if this is right?” Tandon says. Look for events and ideas outside your framework, and explore them. “You don’t have to take every piece of input that comes along, but before you throw it away, ask what if it were true. How would that change reality?”