The importance of chance.

The door closes and the little bell rings. I leap to my feet. ‘You left your handprint on his back,’ I say.

‘I know,’ says my mother. ‘And I’ll never forget the pleasure it gave me.’

From Carry Me Down by MJ Hyland.


In his book Status Anxiety, Alain de Botton explores the importance of good fortune in the lives of successful people. He questions the commonly held belief that ‘you make your own luck’. Elements of chance so often have a role to play in the careers of star businessmen and politicians. Not that you’ll hear them admit it.

You don’t make luck. It happens. The only part you can play is to provide the opportunity and space in your life for luck to play its role.


It’s like the guy who heads off to the same bar every night hoping the right girl will come along never to realise that she was drinking next door. You need to be visible but, most importantly, aware.

Think about your life, your organisation, and how ideas and opportunities flow into the office via people and their communication – their networks and the technology or channels they use to stay in touch. Wherever you can, try and remove barriers to this occurring, create pathways, collaborate and seek advice.

Think about your customers, clients, patients. How will the element of surprise be part of your relationship with them. How will you let them surprise you?

We all carry lifelong memories of chance meetings, lucky breaks, and handprints on the back of unrequited love.

Ellis Jones creates memorable experiences. Ask us how.

Image credit: Gilad Benari, Flickr Creative Commons