Keep at it until you get lucky. Isn’t it good advice? It’s concise but there is a lot of truth to it. It clearly describes the nature of success and what you need to do to achieve it.
I read about it in a post by J.A. Konrath. While the post itself is about self-publishing, I believe that the advice applies to other fields as well. If you want to succeed in something, you need to keep at it until you get lucky.
My own experiences confirm this advice. Let’s take a closer look at some elements of the advice:
1. Luck plays a role
This is an important nature of success. Some people may not like it and think that they can control everything. But the truth is, luck does play a role. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell gives us some good examples of it.
So if you have worked hard and still haven’t succeeded, that’s fine. Don’t get discouraged or disappointed. You just haven’t got lucky yet. On the other hand, if you are successful then don’t be proud. You might not be as smart as you think you are.
2. Persistence increases your chance
While luck does play a role, it’ doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it. You can increase your chance by being persistence.
For example, let’s say you flip a coin and you call heads. But the coin comes up tails. So what can you do to make heads comes up? Well, you just need to keep flipping the coin. If you do that, there is a good chance that heads will eventually come up.
Similarly, just because you don’t succeed in your first try doesn’t mean that you’re doomed forever. Just keep at it. With persistence, chance is on your side.
3. Do what you believe in
Being persistent is easier said than done. It’s not easy to keep at it in the face of failure. That’s why it’s important that you do something you believe in. Only by doing so can you keep at it even in bad situations.
So follow your heart. Is it something you truly believe in? Or perhaps you are in it just for the money or other external rewards?
In addition to helping you be persistent, there is another big benefit of following your heart: inner fulfillment and personal satisfaction. They are even more important than money or fame.
Be careful though: there is a difference between being persistent and being stubborn. If your heart says yes and you keep at it, you are being persistent. But if your heart says no and you keep at it, you are just being stubborn.
4. Learn along the way
“Keep at it” doesn’t mean just doing the same thing over and over again until you succeed. Einstein famously said that doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results is insanity. So don’t do that. Instead, you should always improve yourself so that you can do it better next time. That way you have a good reason to expect a different result.
So, if you want to succeed in something, give it your best effort. Learn from your mistakes. Repeat.