If you’ve ever walked down the halls of a college dorm or almost any college building, you will notice posters and posters hanging on every inch of the walls and sometimes even ceilings and floors. There are so many activities being planned, books for sale and lost and found announcements. Sometimes the walls are so crowded that you can barely see some of the posters that are hidden under all the rest. Most people become immune to all the advertising and just ignore it all but for some reason back in 2001 I used to read all of those ads. It might have been because I was bored or looking for something to do but I paid attention to most of the ads plastered through my hallways.
There was one poster back in September 2001 that for some reason stuck out and put me on a path to meet my wife over a year later. It was a very simple sign that said “Wrestling Tryouts, No Experience Necessary” with the time and place written at the bottom. I never wrestled before that point or even had any interest in the sport but something made me give it a second look. The time worked for me and the location couldn’t be better. The wrestling room was almost directly under my dorm room. I figured I would show up and the worst case would be that I leave and never go back.
I believe it was a Tuesday evening that I walked into the wrestling room and saw a group of about 10 guys sitting around on the mat. I joined them and was immediately accepted as one of the team. They weren’t the best team and were always looking for new people, especially since they didn’t even have every weight class. Right away the captain announced that we are a team and we work together and if anyone needed anything all we had to do is ask. He then offered us all, his folder with all of his notes and past exams from every course that he has taken to make our lives easier. Many of the professors taught the same thing over and over each semester and even used the same exams. The coach then offered to help any of us out with our scheduling and speak to teachers if need be. I took him up on his offer and I’m not sure how it worked but somehow I got into a class that was over capacity on the condition that I just take my exams with another section. Since I was between the 2 classes, I never had to show up for class because I wasn’t on either attendance sheet. I’ll have you know that I did very well in that class and was able to show up to all of my wrestling practices.
During my time on the wrestling team, I learned to love the sport and practiced really hard to get better at it. I worked out and practiced an average of 11 hours a week and went from 23% body fat to a bit under 10%, letting me drop from the 197 lbs. weight class down to the 174 weight class. There was a point that I got down to 165 lbs. but decided that 174 was the best class for me.
Being on the team took me to many other campuses and a few other cities where I had the chance to see new places and meet new people. My new build made me feel great about myself and gave me an immense amount of confidence. This confidence made it much easier to meet and speak to new people and kept me in good spirits all the time. Over a year later I was still on the team and in better shape than I had ever been in my life. It was at that point that I met my wife. I believe it was my confidence to be able to just speak to people that broke the ice between my wife and me.
There are 3 main points to being lucky that I covered in the above story:
1. Keep your eyes open
2. try everything and jump on new opportunities
3. work really hard
1. Just like the people in Professor Weisman’s experiment, I saw something right in front of me that many people would miss completely. If someone was looking for something specific on the wall of posters or thought that he didn’t need anything so why should he look, then he would have missed the poster altogether. I was looking for anything and nothing in particular and that is why this opportunity jumped out of me. The main point is to broaden your focus so you can see the forest and not get stuck staring at a bunch of trees.
2. Even if the opportunity jumps out at you, most people would ignore it completely. To get lucky, you need to take every opportunity to do something new and learn something different. You never know where it is going to take you and you don’t usually have anything to lose if you do take the opportunity. For me, if I wouldn’t have gone to that first wrestling tryout, I would have spent my time watching one more TV show that I would end up seeing at another time one way or the other.
3. Nothing comes easy and the harder you work on something, the better the results. Once I started on the team, I worked really hard to be the best wrestler that I could be. I worked out as much as possible and practiced at every opportunity. That led to my new level of confidence which led to me ultimately meeting the woman that I later married.
I am a typical person more or less that has always tried to get away with doing the absolute minimum to get by. In school, I did my assignments last minute, I barely passes some of my tests, I crammed for everything and didn't care about retaining any information. I always wanted to be successful and get lucky but my problem was that I thought that luck and chance were synonymous. One day, all that changed when i found out that there was more to "Luck". I learned that it was possible to make your own luck and that people that were "lucky", all had very similar characteristics. I made a conscious decision to become one of those lucky people and the world started to open up. It didn't happen overnight and I'm still not there yet but at least I know what to look for and what to do. Recognizing the opportunities to get lucky is only the beginning of the battle. Now I have to train myself to jump on every opportunity and one day be truly "lucky".
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