Luck Surface Area

Opportunities arise at random - in life, nature, and work. Luck Surface Area is an idea of increasing your exposure to these opportunities. We default to staying in our comfort zones and operating within those safe and familiar boundaries. This makes life predictable, but it also puts us in competition with everyone also operating in those boundaries. We also miss out on the opportunities that arise outside the boundaries.

The idea of Luck Surface Area is not to be more productive, nor to work harder, but to increase exposure to these opportunities. Specifically opportunities with a weighted positive return, for many of the opportunities Tyche brings have downsides in terms of cost (time, money) and risk (safety, health, reputation). Look for the opportunities where positives high and negatives are acceptable.

The adage that if we gave millions of monkeys typewriters one of them would end up writing The Odyssey is another way of looking at Luck Surface Area. If the great poem is the outcome we wanted, Productivity and Efficiency methods would lead us teaching the monkeys how to write. Luck Surface Area would tell us to increase the number of monkeys.

One way to apply Luck Surface Area is to play a probabilistic game. We don’t know exactly what action to take to get the result, or else we’d just do it. But we can think of the scenario in our head, the outcome we want, and the set of actions we could take. If you repeated the scenario with different actions a thousand times, which most likely yield the outcome you want?

I first heard the term Luck Surface Area from Jason Roberts on a podcast many years ago. Read his definition here.

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