Raise Your L.I.D. to Success
By Paul Max Le Pera

Success can be defined in numerous ways; many of which are as unique and personal as one’s fingerprint. It’s a universal truth, however, that hard work is compulsory for success, regardless of the definition. And yet, success is not a linear equation, nor is success a guaranteed product of hard work. When we peer into the lives of “successful” people, there are a few truths that reign universal. The lowest common denominators of these truths are generally three things, namely: luck, inspiration and Darwinism, collectively referred to as L.I.D.

Quite often, as we plow through our day’s work, multitask, stay late to get more done, get in early to get a jump on the day, email, text, make phone calls and skype, our focus on success tends to become tunneled vision on financial gain and volume of work completed. No doubt, finishing a pile of work can be quite rewarding, and yet, day in and day out, it’s a slow starvation of the soul — that is, without balance.

For the sake of this article we will focus on success in business to mean a comfortable living, adequate time with the family and friends, and time for your mental/physical/emotional self, perhaps better termed, Profitable Balance (P$B). Ebenezer Scrooge was the quintessential workaholic, who made money his idol and his sole definition of success. Without the intervention of his (fallen) angel, Jacob Marley, Scrooge would have died a very wealthy, but lonely and miserable man.

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” Marley said to Ebenezer. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Remember, our habits are the chain we forge in life–a chain that can pull us down, or lift us up. If we sum up success to mean P$B, then how do we get there without cranking out hard work every day and trying to shove 36 hours in a 24- hour day? Simple. Understand what makes up success and focus on the recipe — then it’s all about execution. Once we embrace the notion that more is not always better and in fact, less can be more, we manifest a harmonious balance which becomes the ultimate platform for sustainability in our lives.

Luck and Involvement

The “L” in L.I.D. stands for luck. Yes, there is some element of luck in every person’s life. Nearly every entrepreneur will tell you something serendipitous happened to them along the way. Be open to it — have a spirit of expectancy, and you may just attract it. Luck may also be considered by some divine intervention, depending on your beliefs, so it may be argued to keep true to your faith and watch grace unfold in your life.

Luck may sometimes be “bad” – something unfortunate may happen, which is very costly or yields some personal or professional setback. Because the glass is indeed always “half full,” every set back should be viewed as a means to something better; pain points (in general) in life tend to be alarms that something needs changing. Some of the best beef has been tenderized; smooth and perfectly glassy golf balls do not fly very far or straight; callouses allow you to handle more; and remember, you cannot get your diamonds unless your coal goes under some extreme pressure. All experiences are or can be made good experiences. Always remember: Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it, so use your luck to make more diamonds!

Luck also requires involvement. It’s nearly impossible to get lucky when sitting in the office behind papers or in front of the television all day. Luck comes when you are getting out and getting involved. It could happen in a meeting, a dinner, subway rides, while talking to the neighboring passenger on a plane or even at a movie or museum. Getting involved and meeting people is where the attraction happens. These random outcomes occur in active situations — also called involvement. Get up, get out and get involved; expect something wonderful to happen to you, and so shall it be done.

Working 12- or 15-hour days may periodically be necessary, but you must be very mindful when the frequency increases and it is justified away as being necessary.

Chronic motion = Mental commotion.

Luck is something that can and will happen as you put yourself out there. Those chance encounters happen when you are living life — reading, watching and in front of other people. Growth happens through change. However, it is tempting to resist it, as complacency can be comfortable, effectively yielding a false positive on the scale of success. Change is both necessary and inevitable. Embrace it and keep your outlook always gray. No, not dim, but gray, meaning all options are open. Do not label things and compartmentalize them as black or white, this or that, good or bad. Seeing them as gray allows for the ability to see the positive side to any event.

You should know that the fundamental rules of our lives, existence and the universe are governed by the laws of Quantum Mechanics, whose foundation is woven into probability not determinism, which may seem counterintuitive. Indeed, proven beyond any doubt, reality is relative and the longer we stay neutral in our judgments, the longer we exist on a continuum. We can learn a lot from science and for now, embrace luck as inevitable, a great teacher and something compulsory to success.

Inspiration for Success

The “I” in L.I.D. refers to Inspiration. Essentially, we want to work smarter not harder. Grinding away for the sake of accomplishment and reducing piles is not necessarily inspirational. In fact, chronic paperwork or busyness can be the No. 1 killer of creativity and business intelligence. With a finite amount of energy we have in a day, (mental, emotional and physical), it is incumbent upon the successful business person to be mindful of how they ration it. Temps or overtime to office staff may cost money, but they can also be an investment in your creative self. Success requires intelligence, inspiration, creativity, innovation and problem solving. By watching, listening, thinking, planning, dreaming, brainstorming and, may I dare say, praying and/or meditating, your inner creativity emerges and blossoms. The very part of you that decided to go into business or pursue management or leadership is the nucleus of who you are. Follow your passion and success will follow you.

Inspiration comes from focusing on your passion — whatever that may be. Becoming inspired frees up energy to do things like reading, going to seminars, canvassing the competitive landscape, investigating the latest trends, spending more time with your people, research and development, and getting involved in the fabric of your business to evaluate its “blood-flow.” We should be seeking natural activities that stimulate your brain to P.R.I.C.E: Problem solve, Research, Innovate and Create Efficiencies.

Do what you love and love what you do. This breathes oxygen on your inner fire and provides the inspiration to drive on every day and in every way!

Darwinism and the Dream

Finally, the “D” in L.I.D. is Darwinism. For those who know me, I frequently draw parallels to life and science — they indeed have inexorable bonds. As I come to understand more about human behavior and psychology, I get an overwhelming sense that everything we do, every discipline we study and every strategy we formulate is just a lower level state of philosophy. It’s rather fascinating that the guiding principles that govern behavior in particles and humans are eerily similar. It seems to be a sort of a divine genius.

Charles Darwin spent years doing research on the Galapagos Islands. What he experienced and documented was the most successful survival strategy amongst the vast number of indigenous species, stemming from their ability to adapt to change. He has been quoted to say:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

He coined this general phenomenon, “Natural Selection.”

I will say, Darwinism is the quintessential blend of luck and intelligence. Indeed, random mutations may provide an advantage; however, that advantage is not necessarily absolute. What’s more critical than luck (mutation) and intelligence (how to build a home, communicate and defend yourself) is the ability to change as external conditions change. It’s called, adaptation. Sticking to a plan is important in that it provides structure and common goals/rules, etc. Without a plan, there is likely duplicity and possibly anarchy. Rigid adherence, however, without being in tune with changes in the environment, your staff, interest rates, competitive products and/or technology, for example, can be damaging if not fatal to your business.

Just as important are the more subtle changes, including changes in behaviors, inflation and where your company’s bread and butter resides in the product life cycle. Ignorance of these changes can blindside you to a slow and very expensive decline or at the very least, a loss of several pole positions on the profitability and competitive hierarchy scale.

Adaptation is putting your intelligence into action! Adaptation is necessarily defined by contradiction, however. For example, to adapt can mean to conform or to change; invest or divest; hire or fire; grow or sell off; increase automation or increase labor; raise or lower your prices; and so on. Adaptation means change, and change is necessary to stay in front of a concern. Philosophically, it seems ironic that almost all growth happens during a period of change. No pain, no gain. For example, muscles can plateau if you do not change your workout. Change is necessary for growth and change is woven into the fabric of success. Adaptation is merely intelligent change.

Also of note is Einstein’s notion of “time dilation.” He said, “A clock that is accelerating will tick slower than one that is not — therefore! I say to you, if you are not changing, you are indeed aging faster than those who are!” Voila, science and life are confined by different facets of the same energy dynamics that hold quarks together.

It is true that other elements come into what we consider success, such as perseverance. What successful business person did not have to persevere through some or many trials? Another may be partnership. Perhaps you had a synergy between yourself and your partner(s) and without that synergy, you would not have been successful. Indeed, perseverance and synergies are categorically part of success and yet, I have specified L.I.D. as the lowest common denominator for successful attributes. Simply put, all other aspects of what it takes to be successful are encompassed by these three foundational pillars.

Perseverance is analogous to effort and I would place effort under adaptation. To adapt can mean modest or radical change and implicit in change is hard work and perseverance. Synergy amongst team members can be a combination of intelligence and adaptation. Certainly, we should all recognize that complementary skills and personalities can be combined so that the whole of working together is greater than the sum of the individual and distinct efforts. That’s intelligence and to make sustainable partnerships requires adaptation.

Mindfulness is compulsory in managing your time. Small business owners always have an agenda that can’t fit in a day. And yet, those who get out and live life attract luck; those who read, listen, learn, watch and network become intelligent; and those who change as change is needed, who modify as often as necessary and who can shift gears as the landscape requires will successfully adapt survive and most importantly, thrive.

Your legacy is what you leave behind. Whether it’s your children, a foundation, the livelihoods of all your workers and their families, your spouse, your friends or your family, once you get the right L.I.D., your success is as close to certain as you can make it.

Success comes with balance — balance in living, learning and changing. Both life and science can be seen or understood as different forms of philosophy. We can learn much from the luck, inspiration and Darwinism we see working in our lives. Want to be your best most successful selves and businesses? Get up and get out, dare to change, stay inspired and adapt. As the saying goes, “Never complain about the wind changing direction — expect it and then adjust your sails.”

About the Author

Paul Max Le Pera is the Global Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Hirsch Glass & Spectrum Quartz, with 20 years’ experience in business and marketing strategy for the building materials industry. He can be reached at (908) 358-5252 or [email protected] HirschGlassCorp.com.