A new personal victometric – Return on Luck (ROL)
Posted: January 8, 2012 Filed under: Uncategorized
Good To Great (Jim Collins) has profoundly influenced my life. The Hedgehog Concept has focused the way I view my role as a husband and father, the way that I measure my success or failure in life, and the way that I approach each day with its new uncertainty. In many ways, it has become a controlling model for me. I have described this in detail previously (The Meaning of Life – Illustrated).
Imagine my unbounded delight when Amazon.com informed me that the latest book from Jim Collins was on the subject of Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck!!! I voraciously read Great by Choice
from cover-to-cover today. I was not disappointed. In typical fashion, Collins reduces an almost obscene amount of raw data (read the book to see how much) to a few pithy concepts.
One of these is the concept of Return on Luck (ROL). Return on Luck (ROL) is simply the return (gain or loss) that you are able to create in a luck situation (good or bad luck). Put another way, it is the value that you create from a Black Swan … an Unknown Unknown.
In my ongoing quest for ways to ensure that I don’t waste my life, I’m always looking for things that I can use as personal victometrics. Last time
, I defined victometrics as measurable elements that objectively define victory or defeat in a competitive scenario. You could also call them “victory points”. Return on Luck (ROL) is a good one to add to my personal scoreboard.
Why? Well, a quick review of this past year reveals that when I make decisions designed to increase my Return on Luck (ROL), I find that I choose wisely before the storm, increase the chance of survival during the storm, and gain proper perspective after the storm.
Storms have come in this past year. My job changed overnight in Spring 2011. My personal relationships changed almost overnight in Summer 2011. A work deliverable had a very visible an unexpected visit from Murphy in Fall 2011, despite due precautions. In all of these situations, I have emerged more optimistic and excited about what is coming next.
I know that storms will come. I just don’t know all of the unimportant stuff like what storm will come when or where and how. Seeking to increase my Return on Luck helps create sea-worthy life-systems that are designed to weather the inevitable storms.
I believe that there is something in this understanding of uncertainty that is fundamental to that thing I call the American Dream. I believe that it is possible to build something truly great (although my goal differs from most people’s definition of greatness). I am seeking to hear “Well Done” from the only One whose opinion really matters to me. I am seeking to excellently steward the time, talent, trust, and treasure that has been entrusted to me.
I believe that America has been the land of the Free and the home of the Brave and a land of Opportunity because it has been built by people who didn’t depend on luck, but made the most of what luck they were given by Providence. I believe America’s future greatness will depend upon her citizens investing their own empirical creativity, productive paranoia, and fanatic discipline to achieve their most selfless ambitions.
I don’t think I can say it better than Jim Collins and Morten Hansen do in their Epilogue (quoted):
“We sense a dangerous disease infecting our modern culture and eroding hope: an increasingly prevalent view that greatness owes more to circumstance, even luck, than to action and discipline – that what happens to us matters more than what we do … taken as an entire philosophy, applied more broadly to human endeavor, it’s a deeply debilitating life perspective, one that we can’t imagine wanting to teach young people.
Do we really believe that our actions count for little, that those who create something great are merely lucky, that our circumstances imprison us? Do we want to build a society and culture that encourage us to believe that we aren’t responsible for our choices and accountable for our performance?”
No and no.