How to Get Lucky


Hey friends,

Firstly, thank you for all your kind responses to my last email (+ offers of mini therapy sessions). I have a book deadline crunch right now, so please forgive my slow responses. But I’ll try to get back to everyone.

Anyway – I’ve been thinking a lot recently about randomness + serendipity.

See, I was invited to give a talk at the 1 Billion Followers Summit in Dubai this week. It ended up being super fun, and I hung out with a bunch of other creators (other speakers at the conference, and also attendees). But in all honesty, with all the travel I’ve been doing recently, I was feeling a bit burned out at the prospect of a 48-hour trip to Dubai of which 18 hours would be spent on an aeroplane 😂

But when taking the decision to go, the two questions I asked myself were:

Question 1: Is this something I’m likely to regret?

Answer: No. It’s just 1–2 days, I can work on the plane, it won’t really disrupt my life.

Question 2: Will this increase the serendipity in my life?

Answer: Yes. Who knows what life-changing thing could happen, or who I’ll meet. There’s a much higher chance of something interesting happening on this trip than if I stay at home.

And this time, optimising for serendipity paid off big time.

I met the business + finance creator Erika Kullberg. And we had a fantastic conversation about business, team management, content strategy. It’s rare to find someone who has a bigger audience than me, while also having an identical business model. I absorbed so much incredible information.

And one conversation made the whole trip immediately “worth it” even outside the enjoyment of presenting and meeting people. I even told Erika that it was one of the highest ROI conversations I’ve ever had.

I’ve been banging this drum for a while but it’s worth saying again: never underestimate the power of randomness and serendipity.

Only very rarely will you regret going to a networking event, meeting people or just doing something rather than sitting around at home.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

PS There’s another approach that says ‘to be successful, you have to stay focused and say no to 90% of offers that come your way.’ Derek Sivers preaches this in his book Hell Yeah or No, and people like Tim Ferris and Pieter Levels make the same point. I think it’s all about striking a balance. Find out whether you naturally lean towards ‘no’ or ‘yes’, and adjust accordingly.

⏳ 80,000 Hours – Find a high-impact career

If you work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, for 40 years, that adds up to 80,000 hours in an average career.

That’s a lot of time, and it means that your career is probably the most important decision you’ll ever make.

It also means your career is your biggest opportunity to make a positive difference.

If you want to have a big, positive impact with your work but aren’t sure where to begin, then my friends at 80,000 Hours can help.

80,000 Hours is a nonprofit that has spent the last 10 years doing research alongside academics at Oxford University to figure out exactly which careers have the biggest and best impact on the world.

Everything they provide is totally free, and incredibly well researched, like this amazing article about how imposter syndrome can hold you back from achieving your goals, or this one collecting evidence-based advice on how to be successful.

They also have their own podcast with super in-depth expert interviews (e.g. with Cal NewportVitalik ButerinCass Sunstein), a job board, and a newsletter.

And if you like, they’ll send you their in-depth career guide for free – it’s definitely worth a read, take a look here.

Thanks to 80,000 Hours for sponsoring this issue of Sunday Snippets 🙏

♥️ My Favourite Things

🎙️ Deep Dive Podcast – Paul Millerd: How To Recreate Your Life And Career In 2023. If you’re thinking about leaving your job or just want to approach life with a little more curiosity, this episode is for you. A few years ago Paul had a corporate job at the most prestigious consulting firm in the world. But after realising he was on the wrong path, he decided to walk away and figure out how to live a life that actually mattered to him. We talked about his book The Pathless Path, the ultimate companion for people struggling to figure out what to do with their lives.

📚 Book – Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman. A collection of stories from the life of Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists of all time (+ creator of the Feynman Technique). Pretty funny, with lots of great advice on productivity, learning, and original thinking.

📝 Article – Advice For New College Grads by Chris Wilson. A 2006 blog post giving 8 key pieces of advice to new college grads. “Always remember that nothing is more impressive than being able to do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want. You’re not there yet, and buying an expensive car is a good way to ensure that you’ll never get there. Why? Because it’s all about money out versus money in.”

❄️ Musical Theatre – Frozen the Musical. Just went to see this West End show in London. Magical, tears in my eyes – amazing acting and singing. If you’re anywhere near London and enjoy musicals, do yourself a favour and go see it.

🎬 My New Videos

💤 Why You’re Always Tired – 7 Myths Ruining Your Sleep – I recently interviewed sleep expert Russel Foster on my podcast to debunk some of the popular myths around sleep that leave us feeling tired and anxious. Hopefully, this will help you worry less about sleep and approach sleep in the healthiest way possible.

🗑️ 12 Purchases Under $20 that Boost my Productivity – 12 simple everyday items that I’ve found help me be more productive.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Perfection is a distraction—another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities.

From Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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