Luckily I am so lucky

Chatting with one of you the other day over a kopi C (that’s coffee with evaporated milk for my dear non-Singaporean readers) made me realize that you might have gained the wrong perception of me.

You might believe that due to my heavy weightage of posts on investing and our biggest flaw in investing (our emotional brain) I might be somehow skilled in finding lucrative investments.

Sorry to disappoint you all.

My early retirement is not a tale of great investing glories.  It’s merely a story of stumbles and falls (in regards to my stock picking skills).  My nest egg is mainly active earned income combined with some frugal spending and extrapolated by the magic of compounding.

And lots of dumb luck! 1)

Those stories we tell ourselves

We humans love to tell stories to ourselves and others about past successes being the result of skill rather than luck.

I am human too and thus have written very little about all of those lucky events in my life.

Don’t ask me to mention them all here. The post would get excruciatingly long.

What I am getting at is that we rarely recognize the role luck played in our past.  We are inherently biased against noticing the amount of random events in our lives and their impact on us.

That’s why the role of luck is so vastly underrepresented in the biographies of famous people.  We just don’t like to boast about our luck.  We feel much better boasting about our skills and hard work.

Come on, let’s be honest here, where you are right now is purely due to luck.

Before you slump back with frustration and ask yourself “why do I work so hard when ultimately my ‘success’ would depend so much on luck?” let me share another observation:

Preparation is the key to having good luck.  And lots of it.  That’s what TACOMOB is all about “Preparation”.

You see, becoming lucky can be trained.

Luck is a skill

It is an acquired skill based on certain traits. “Lucky people” share traits that tend to make them luckier than others.

1)      They accept the fact that in our random world not everything is planable.

2)      They take advantage of chance occurrences that come their way.

3)      They pay attention to what’s happening around them and, therefore, are able to extract greater value from each situation.

4)      They are open to novel opportunities and willing to try things outside of their usual experiences.

5)      They are much more likely to start conversations with people while standing in a queue, because they know – whether consciously or not – that the greater the number of contacts they have with others, the more likely it is that one of them will lead to something good.

6)      For the same reason they are willing to interact with people who are different than themselves.

7)      They make more eye contact and smile more frequently, leading to more positive and extended encounters.

8)      They find ways to extract positive outcomes from the worst situations.

9)      They find unusual ways to use and recombine their knowledge and experiences.

Simply being observant, open-minded, friendly, and optimistic invites luck your way.  Of course topped off with sprinkles of smart-working and perseverance.

And then certainly the old rule still applies “90% of success in life is just showing up”.where the magic happens is outside your comfort zone

Don’t hide in your shell, don’t bury your face in your smart phone when there is a networking opportunity. Show up, participate, approach people, chit chat, ask questions, listen more than you talk and learn from others.

Because every day is an adventure even though you might not realize the specifics of it until years later.


Feel free to share some of your reflections about your lucky moments in life in the comments section below.  I guarantee you that you will feel more grateful and healthier after having written them down.


1)  as Jared from SMOL described it so accurately in his uniquely concise language



  1. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for your post, very interesting, and very inspired. in the Buddhism, karma is a very basic concept. I don’t think it is superstitious, in my opinion, it is just you get what you have done in the past, whatever it is bad thing or good thing. I like “attraction low “. My job is to purchase some components from suppliers, most of time when suppliers visit us, I can feel my colleagues are very aggressive and not so friendly to suppliers;we are customers, they are suppliers, most of people would think customer know more things than supplier. but I don’t think so, I treat our suppliers as partner. one of our supplier is a public company, and after I talked with them about their business in this May when the supplier visit us, I think it is a good company, so I bought their stock, and their stock raised about 30% after I bought them. making money from stock market makes me happy of course, but I think the happiest thing is about how I see this world, and I did it. your post is full of wisdom, thank you.

    • Hi Henry,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.
      As part of getting lucky it does make lots of sense to see all interactions as “growing your network”. And most often it is the weaker links outside our direct field of work that are the decisive ones making the difference in our lives some time in the future.
      Because there are no strangers in the world. Just people you have not met yet.

      • Hi Andy,

        Thank you. I will remember it that “there are no strangers in the world. Just people you have not met yet”. I will continue to look at your blog, I indeed learn a lot. and especically, when I observed that there is a chinese charater 福 in this post, I feel very happy.

  2. I like this very honest piece about luck playing a major role in our success. To increase our luck, we need to date Lady Luck. To date Lady Luck, we need to initiate a conversation, show up and put on the most charming smile on your face, regardless of how bad the day can be. Grumpy and whining attitude keeps the Lady away.

  3. Andy,

    Reading this post makes me happy.

    For a while, was a bit taken aback why some people wants to achieve financial freedom – stick their fingers to their bosses and peers???

    If we are not spiritually and emotionally aligned with True North (metaphor for whatever that is right and nice), why would Lady Luck want to pay us a visit?

    Be a nice person. Some are born one; some made an effort to become one.

    Even if not financially free, I think life is a lot sweeter if we are nicer to each other.

    P.S. I has a case of deja vu reading your 2nd paragraph… Until I discovered you have read the last paragraph of “My Story”. I am flattered.

    • Hi Jared,
      Life is not only sweeter when we are nicer to each other. Modern neurobiology research even suggest that altruistic and less egotistical behaviour pays off for everyone. Nobody left behind!

      P.S. My sincere apologies for causing you a deja vu. I do have the habit of collecting pieces of wisdom in my central depository. I must have read your ‘My Story’ years back already. Sometimes I forget to note down the source.
      Our stories are very similar and hopefully serve as a reminder that financial freedom without a solid basis of earned income is very very hard to achieve. The seeds have to come from somewhere and when they come from work, they should be valued much more and nurtured carefully.

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