Thursday, October 7, 2010

Luck and Opportunity

"You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky

Recently I got lucky. Or did I?

I was at my children's school for a 50th Anniversary Tea. Basically it was a night of honoring the past staff, remembering good times, and celebrating the school in general. I was admittedly a little bored. In the foyer when we came in I noticed they were having a silent auction. There were about 25 prize packs to win with a bag next to each of them where you could put in a ticket if you purchased it. Some of the items looked pretty nice. I also noticed that there seemed to be alot of prizes for the amount of people attending. My quick guess was that there less then 150 people there, meaning that they had a gift for every 6 people. Since probably a lot of people weren't going to buy tickets that meant my odds looked good, quite good in fact. So I quickly bought 3 tickets for $5, deposited one ticket in three of the bags that looked interesting, and endured the rest of the evening (that is a whole other story which perhaps I will someday share).

The next day the principal of the school left a message on my machine - I had won something! I'd like to say I was surprised but I wasn't. The odds seemed to be too much in my favor. I asked Jobina if she'd mind stopping by the school and picking up my prize. She called me later and asked me if I wanted to know what I'd won. It turns out I had won two of the prizes (one prize was 2 bottles of wine and some chocolates, the other was a Garmin GPS and some slurpee mugs). Huzzah! The GPS alone is worth over a hundred dollars so I think this was a pretty good return on my "investment."

Did I get lucky? Absolutely. Winning two of the prizes does seem that way. On the other hand, the odds were extremely good. In fact I would have been surprised if I hadn't won something. All I did was see an opportunity, weigh the odds, and take action. I think that when it comes to investing (or relationships) you kind of have to do the same thing. Yes, there is always risk. But if you see the opportunity, carefully weigh the odds, and choose to take action then more often then not you get the prize. Each of those stages - see the opportunity, discern, take action - is critical. I have messed up on all three of these stages many times but when you do all three correctly you win much more then you lose. Question: What stage are you prone to mess up on? And what could you do about it? Being honest with ourselves (I'm weakest in the 2nd stage) is the quickest way to changing and improving ourselves . . .

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