“Here’s a guy who’s in his mid-80s at the time, sitting around with cash at the Daily Journal for a decade, and all of a sudden hits the bottom perfect ….” Charlie Munger’s Golden Touch, Bloomberg Businessweek July 29, 2013.
My wife said I was just lucky. Lucky? I’ve been doing this stuff for over 20 years. I knew when the value of our rental properties were hitting all time highs and worth about three times what we bought them for and that it was a good time to sell them.
I also knew about holding onto property during a previous real estate bubble in Hawaii and watching as my holdings doubled in value in 5 years and then gave up that doubling in value over the next 10 years. What goes up, does definitely come down especially if it has gone up significantly more than the long term average.
Yeah, I was lucky. I suddenly, after holding property for 20 years and watching the trends, decided to sell when my broker told me I could get triple what I bought them for. Within two weeks after selling my properties, my broker told me that now no one was showing up to even view the properties he still had to sell. The rest is history as the real estate market imploded and we went into what is now called the Great Recession.
My luck or Charlie’s golden touch most probably comes from something simply known as experience. If we live through enough and actually pay attention to things as we live through them, then we learn much that we can apply in the future.
I’ve seen this with many “lucky” project managers. In one big project, that was a great messy challenge as we did it, we finally delivered and guess what? It was a month early, which never happened before in this organization, and had great quality where in the first six months of use we received no customer reported defects. That had never happened before either.
You know what I was told by at least one manager? “You were lucky!” and “You got an easy one!” Boy, neither of those things were said while we were doing the project. We had the experience and as we used that experience to bring things together, someone without the equivalent insight might not be able to recognize experience in action and conclude it must be luck.
In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind. – Louis Pasteur
The Golden Touch or Luck simply comes from a lot of … experience. It is important to be relentlessly learning during those years of experience, as I know people with lots of years but surprisingly little experience. While I’m sure there are those people that experience true luck, that unexpected bolt of lightning out of the blue, I know that for me I’ve gotten luckier in everything I do as I’ve gotten more experience in doing things.
Has luck played a role in the success of your projects?