Do you take enough lucky shots?

When I was young, I had few skills and no experience. I had, however, clarity on what I wanted, and I hustled hard!

Nothing illegal, don't worry. But I was relentless and determined to push boundaries to create opportunities.

I got my first job when I was seventeen. I moved 500 kilometers away from my hometown and anything familiar. I moved to Paris. Well, it wasn't really Paris; it was the inner city, which was, in many ways, an even bigger disruption than where I came from.

A few weeks earlier, I had seen an ad for a company in a Linux magazine and thought it would be cool to work there.

Again, I had no prior experience, and it's worth emphasizing that I was seventeen. 17, for crying out loud! I would not have hired myself, and I was aware of that.

But I emailed them to ask for a job. I took a long shot to get what I wanted.

They didn't reply. So, I searched for the owner's name and tracked him down. I would call 2, 3, or 4 times a day for a few days until he picked up the phone and agreed to interview me.

I got a job working for this company.

It was a long shot, but it paid off.

A few years later, a friend told me about a business program he was in. It sounded super interesting. I thought I would enroll to plug the holes in my understanding of business.

I applied and got rejected. I didn't qualify for the program because I didn't have enough work experience and the required prior education.

I accepted the rejection and went back to my regular job...

Just kidding. I decided to take a long, long shot.

I looked up their upcoming events. They had a public presentation of the business program I was interested in soon. The man in charge of the program would be presenting.

I dressed up in a suit and tie and went to the business school for the meeting. As soon as the man in charge of the program left the stage, I ran to him and introduced myself.

"Hello. My name is Greg. I'm a young entrepreneur, and I'm interested in this program."
"Great! You should apply. We like entrepreneurs."
"I did, but I was told I don't qualify."

He pulled up his phone and called the woman in charge of the admissions.

Next thing you know, my application was back on the evaluation pile. I became the youngest person to graduate from this business program.

As we get older, it's natural to become more risk-averse because rejection sucks. So, we take fewer and fewer, smaller and smaller shots. We get reasonable.

We don't create these luck-forcing actions that can propel us 100 steps forward.

We subconsciously think our experience and skills should spare us from having to take these scary moves.

That's a mistake.

We should deliberately seek and take a few long shots every year. These kinds of shots have a 3 out of 10 or less chance of succeeding, but if they do, they will make our lives better, more fun, or more interesting.

Skills and experience should not just shield us from taking shots—they should empower us to take even greater ones.