Luck, Success and Skills

A wise man once said, don’t confuse luck with skill when judging others, and especially when judging you.

Andy Grove’s wisdom, “ There is something called luck, recognize it, and make the most of it”.

I have some fundamental equations that I would like to present

Performance = motivation * capability
Success = luck * performance
Luck = time * position

Even if one is very talented and has no motivation to excel, one’s performance is going to be very mediocre. A classic case is the IAS, where they select the top but produce very mediocre output when governing India. While the output of IITs and IIMs are motivated by the work environment of America or the high salaries corporations are ready to dish out.

Another classic example is that of Amitabh Bachchan, a great actor and all time great of Indian Cinema. At the peak of his acting career, he founded ABCL, a film entertainment company, with a vision to be the Disney of India. Inspite of hiring the top management brains, the company went nowhere. He racked up huge losses that he had to redeploy his basic acting skills to repay ABCL’s debt.

This is very important where people through their mid life crisis try to switch careers, retire early to contribute to society, work for NGOs, go back to teaching or social work. Each of these has a specific skill requirement and we have to be humble to reboot our skill acquisition.

As you course correct your life, try something new, ensure your accumulated experiences does not impede the exciting new stuff you are going to try out. Attitude should be defined by, “ “, I still do not know the Finnish word, which is a hybrid for aggressive and humble, and finally, the wisdom of Steve Jobs “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”.

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