The surprising connection between Pokémon GO and luck

the surprising connection between Pokémon GO and luck TalentGrow Halelly Azulay blog

I never wanted to ride a trend for attention.

I swear!

But just last week the analogy came to me in a flash of inspiration.

Scene: I was delivering a keynote at the Business Writers Conference in Georgia about how I reverse engineered my book deal using authentic networking.

Earlier that day, a speaker claimed that a lot of successful authors can credit pure luck to much of their success.

I don’t share this view of success and luck.

What is luck?

While I agree that there are some things that are purely coincidental and out of our direct influence (like the family we’re born into, where we grow up, our race or ethnicity, etc.), I think people have a tendency to attribute too many things to this kind of ‘dumb’ luck.

Too often, we look at various situations and ascribe their source to this magical type of luck when there was a greater degree of choice and intentionality than we give credit to.

In my view, most of the things we brand as ‘luck’ are actually the result of the person being open to opportunities and intentional with their goals and aspirations.

So what does Pokémon GO have to do with luck?

While I was speaking to my audience about the value of networking for creating publishing opportunities and connections, it hit me: it's just like Pokémon GO!

Let me first assure you: I have never played this game, and don't have any desire to try, either.

But given the latest craze around this new game that's sweeping the world, I feel like I can understand the basic elements of this game: there are Pokémons (is that what you call them?) all around us, everywhere. They're hidden in all kinds of places (even some they really shouldn't be in, like cemeteries and Holocaust Museums).

When you use the game app, it creates an additional layer on top of reality - like a lens - and shows you the Pokémon characters that you can then catch for points.

But most of us can't see them.


Not because we're not capable. Or deserving. Or ‘unlucky'.

It's simply because we're not looking at the world through the app lens.

So, are the Pokémons still there even when we can't see them? Yes.

We're just not tuned into them.

Opportunities, like Pokémon, are all around us

It's exactly the same thing when it comes to opportunities. They're all around us, often where we least expect them. There is an abundance of opportunities for everyone.

But only if we use our 'opportunity-catching lens' to look around us do we see them.

Only when we're aware of our surroundings, open, and clear on our goals and aspirations do we 'see' the things/people/ideas that are ‘lucky opportunities’.

Tweet: Lucky opportunities = awareness + openness + clarity on goals@HalellyAzulay #blog on #luck & #PokemonGO
Lucky opportunities = awareness + openness + clarity on goals
{click to Tweet this nugget! you can edit it first if you want}
"Lucky opportunities = awareness + openness + clarity on goals" ~ Halelly Azulay

"Lucky opportunities = awareness + openness + clarity on goals" ~ Halelly Azulay

It’s also like buying cars (...what?!)

It's kind of like when you decide to buy a car. No, really.

If you’ve ever been in this predicament, you have experienced the time period when you’re trying to research what car make and model to get. Unless you know exactly what you want, you look at various options based on certain selection criteria you have in mind (like price, safety features, etc.).

If you run a search, it will pop up a selection of options from different car makers. And it’s very likely that some of those options were not cars you had previously considered. Maybe they’re not even cars you’d ever heard of.

But I bet you that from that day forward, you suddenly feel like that car (the one you’d not thought of or didn’t hear about) is EVERYWHERE you look! It's like mushrooms after the rain – they seem to pop out of nowhere.

How could this be? Did this car suddenly propagate after you went car shopping? Of course not. 

So what changed? Your awareness, openness, and focus.

That car was there all along, in the same frequency as it was now.

But before your search, you weren't aware of it. You didn't pay attention to it.

And now that it's come into your awareness, your brain is selecting to show you this visual data that it previously just let pass. Because you became aware and interested in it, it became relevant information for your brain.

Your brain helps you by noticing some things and ignoring others

Your brain is constantly scanning the environment for sensory data. It’s trying to help you find ‘rewards’ and avoid ‘threats’. But what is defined as a reward or threat is totally contextual and subjective.

Your brain uses information from your conscious and unconscious thoughts and interests and runs an algorithm in the background to evaluate the information all around you. It defines everything as one of three options: either it’s a potential threat, or a reward (something you desire), or irrelevant.

This is what’s behind lots of those communication misunderstandings I’ve written about, where you unintentionally cause the other person’s brain to trigger the threat response.

(Learn more about how to avoid triggering the ‘threat’ response in other people here.)

So, when something seems irrelevant, your brain simply ignores it and doesn’t ‘serve’ you that information. It’s as if it isn’t there.

And when something is a good match to your goals and aspirations, your brain shows it to you as a potential ‘reward’.

That’s what makes those cars suddenly appear out of thin air – your brain did not think they were relevant prior to the search. But once you’ve got that car on the ‘possible car to purchase’ list, your brain starts to ‘serve’ you that data as relevant.

Back to Pokémon GO

When you’re clear about your goals, your brain has data to help with the ‘threat vs. reward’ algorithm. When you are consciously, intentionally focused on what you want, your brain is on task and seeks relevant data to help you achieve your goals.

When you’re not clear or focused on your goals, your brain doesn’t really know what is relevant and what isn’t. So even if an opportunity that you’d appreciate is there for you, your brain can just as easily choose to ignore it as irrelevant.

So, if you want to 'be more lucky' – to ‘have more’ opportunities – you need to feed your brain clear information about what’s important to you and what you want. You help your brain have the algorithmic definition of what you consider a ‘reward’.

Clarity on your goals helps your brain turn on that 'Pokémon GO-like' app that SHOWS you the ‘rewards', aka relevant opportunities that can help you achieve your goals.

In addition, you must be more aware and open to the data that your brain feeds you, so you can leverage to in your benefit. In other words, if your brain is giving you data and you ignore it, it will move it back into the ‘irrelevant information’ list.

It’s like in the game – if you don’t *look* at the app while you’re walking around, you won’t catch any Pokémons, even if they’re right there. The information is available, but you must be attuned to it to be able to benefit from it.

Get it?

Your turn

What do you think? Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Now go turn on your 'Pokémon' Luck App and get your lucky on!

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