Create your own luck

The first time I joined a meetup was when I was seventeen. I remember spending weeks agonising over whether to join the events. When I finally mustered the courage to attend one, I showed up in the most formal and uncomfortable attire I could find. Back then I still thought impression was more important than essence. People who are great at what they do, don’t need to signal they are smart or competent by wearing preppy clothes or throwing around their titles.

That’s when I met David Dias. David is working to make the web work offline and in a distributed way. As well as faster and more secure (check IPFS). Meeting him was a pivotal moment in my life, as he taught me the value of action, ownership and pragmatism over fancy words, titles and good intentions.

Every time I came to him with my reluctance to join an event, start a new project or speak with someone he would tell me “one is greater than zero”. What he was trying to say is that we gain considerably more by doing something than by not doing it, when there is no better alternative. This holds especially true if you're in highschool or college. My alternatives were staying home pretending to study for an exam I didn't care about or playing video games.

I carried on with David’s words on my mind. Going to events, inviting people I admire for coffee, emailing conference organisers to let me join as a volunteer. This path led me to build Upframe and the Startup Playground, a place where young makers could go to learn more about how to build products and start companies with mentors like David.

Upframe brought me some attention. And I know it was mainly luck, not merit or knowledge that got me there. What took time and introspection to understand was that I inadvertently created part of that luck. By putting myself in situations that increased my chances of attaining good outcomes.

Imagine two boxes made out of cardboard. One with a single marble. The second has a handful of them. If we were to shake both boxes, the latter would produce more collisions. Make more noise — In the real world, collisions generate opportunities. — Some of them can lead to dramatic results, like the ones that led me to start a company or move to Berlin.

Spending most of our days entangled in a work-home routine is akin to the first box. We have more to gain when we put ourselves out there. When we decide to leave our comfort zone.

Looking at the future we cannot tell when life changing events will take place. A couple of years ago, I would not believe anyone if they told me I would be living in Berlin. Having that in mind, we can put ourselves in situations that enable serendipity to take place. Join communities. Read books. Let people know what you’re working on. Talk to strangers. Go to parties where you don't know most people. Send a letter to someone you admire. Install a dating app. Move to a city that has more things going on. Create your own luck.

Ways to create your own luck

  1. Join a meetup group in your city.
  2. Host a dinner where every guest has to bring a plus one.
  3. Go to a hackathon. With friends. Or alone.
  4. Share your ideas in public. On social media. With your friends.
  5. Ask for help in public. Share your challenges.
  6. Email or tweet someone you admire.
  7. Go to dinner parties. From friends. From acquaintances. From people who share your values and goals.
  8. Grab coffee or lunch with someone new every week.
  9. Join a community.
  10. Create your own community.
  11. Take classes on subjects unrelated with your major.
  12. Sit in a random college class.
  13. Work or study from different places. Cafés. Coworking places. Public libraries.
  14. Create and keep a Twitter/X/Threads/BlueSky/Mastodon account.
  15. Keep your direct/private messages open on social media.
  16. Add a location to your Instagram posts so more people can find you.
  17. Take public transports more often.
  18. Use stickers of technologies you like to use on your laptop.
  19. Take the most crowded path to work.
  20. Move to a city that has more things going on in your industry.
  21. Use a dating app every now and then.
  22. Install the Breakfast App.
  23. Write and publish a blog post every day.

Only you know who you can be