Tagged: action


Pouring energy into an activity leads to expertise and enthusiasm. Expertise and enthusiasm are valuable and contagious. And “luck” is magnified by the number of people to which these are effectively communicated (and who can in turn help and spread the message).

In the words of Jason Roberts, acting on passion and telling people about it can increase your “luck surface area”, a concept he formalizes with the equation           L = D * T, “where L is luck, D is doing and T is telling” and which he illustrates as:

Courtesy of Jason Roberts

Similarly, Richard Hamming, in a lecture on doing successful research, put it thus:

You see again and again, that it is more than one thing from a good person. Once in a while a person does only one thing in his whole life, and we’ll talk about that later, but a lot of times there is repetition. I claim that luck will not cover everything. And I will cite Pasteur who said, “Luck favors the prepared mind.” And I think that says it the way I believe it. There is indeed an element of luck, and no, there isn’t. The prepared mind sooner or later finds something important and does it. So yes, it is luck. The particular thing you do is luck, but that you do something is not.

References and further reading:

Jason Roberts. 2010. How to increase Your Luck Surface Area

Richard Hamming. 1986-03-07. You and Your Research


If you do not make the insight a behavior or share it, or cannot summon it when needed, what is it except intellectual masturbation, making you feel virtuous in the moment but really wasting your time?

Turn insights into knowledge, translating the actionable into behaviors, noting the useful, and memorizing the essential.

For examples, take the titles of these posts; or read this excellent and pithy essay by Paul Graham.

He knows nothing who does not profit from what he knows.