When Jeff Bezos used to interview candidates for a job at Amazon, he would ask them “Do you consider yourself a lucky person?”
I think that’s such a great question because it elicits answers that reveal a lot about person.
Someone that considers themselves lucky is likely a more optimistic person than someone that always feels down on their luck. While everyone has their share of good and bad luck, the question teases out whether someone sees the glass half full or half empty.
For someone to acknowledge that they have benefitted from luck is a sign of modesty and confidence. Luck is required in any endeavour to succeed and the best people in their field never shy away from admitting how fortunate they’ve been.
People also work their own luck. The more someone works, the higher their odds of getting lucky are. Somebody that considers themselves a lucky person, has probably earned it.
Ultimately, I think that people that consider themselves lucky have the characteristics to lead because they trust themselves to succeed when others don’t. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the context of crypto lately. Regulatory uncertainty, an unfavourable macro environment and a series of high profile meltdowns have created a challenging environment for founders to operate in. A person that sees the glass half empty seeks comfort in a multitude of excuses that are just an arm’s length away.
A glass half full person sees it as an opportunity. A time to back oneself and lead the way, with a required tinge of naïveté and feeling of impending luck that is so unrelenting it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. It’s no accident that some of the biggest companies were forged in challenging times. Amazon, Google, AirBnB, Uber, the list goes one. Jeff Bezos would be the first to say that he got lucky, as would Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Brian Chesky and Travis Kalanick. And while they all did get lucky, they also earned it.