Recently, I was playing Monopoly with my husband. I did everything right from a strategy standpoint: I bought blocks of property, mortgaged all the worthless non-monopoly properties and proceeded to build massive developments on my properties. All my unsuspecting husband had to do was land on any one of my three building developments and the game would be over.
Alas, I did not factor for chance.
Because I had built my hotels quickly, I had no money left and nothing left to mortgage. But this wasn’t a worry. I had all the developments and he had nothing. I was like a passive spider waiting for the fly to just happen upon its web. Unfortunately, the luck of the dice was with my husband because he literally passed by my housing developments over 20 times. He hit the “chance” island in the middle of my housing developments more times than seemed possible.
Now, really, what are the chances of that?
3.9% chance of landing on any 1 square in any 1 rotation to the 20th power. Or taking it even further, there were 4 safe squares that he bypassed 20 times (out of 10 squares). The chances of this are 1 in 100 million (.4 to the 20th). Meanwhile, I kept playing the game, landing on his $18 and $50 rent properties and managing to land on every “luxury tax” and “income tax” square there was and picking every “you owe the bank $240” community chest card possible.
How is it that I had 3 hotels, two complete monopolies yet ended up losing the game? Luck. Stinking stupid luck.
I listened to Jim Collins speak a few months ago. He said that one of the ways great companies fall is they begin to discount the role that luck has played in their rise to the top. Once that happens, ego and hubris quickly set in and you begin making decisions, forgetting that you were lucky to get where you are.
I was lucky to land on the monopolies. It wasn’t skill. It wasn’t my smarts. It wasn’t anything but luck. But then, I discounted the role of the roll and started counting on my strategy to save me.
My business lesson take-aways from the disastrous Monopoly game centered around luck, blessings and planning. Think of the ways that luck has favored you and then think of the ways you can be prepared if luck does not favor you.
At the same time, count your blessings. It is so important to be thankful for that which you have done nothing to earn (born in the US, democratic government, women that can vote, fill in the blank)
Finally, prepare as though the worst will hit you. Those who prepared in the last recession had cash for opportunities and for waiting the economy out. Don’t mortgage all your properties like I did, leaving yourself with no out, should the worst hit and luck desert you.
It’s great to hear from you! You’re doing the right thing by doing so much research before jumping in but don’t forget to have fun and experiment with soaps while you’re hitting the business books. Another favorite business blog I have is the Indie Beauty Blog run by Donna Maria. She has a wealth of business musings and philosophy that you’ll (hopefully!) find interesting. Let me know how you’re doing after you start your business. I’d love to hear about your adventures =)
if p says
Hi Anne-Marie, love your posts and soaps. I’m contemplating the idea of going full force into soap making and selling and to tell you the truth I’m really scared. I look up to you as you have been able to succeed in the business. I keep reading your posts learning from you all I can before I take the plunge into the unknown.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Hugs from Costa Rica!
this is so true.
luck does play a part in success and failure.
however, it always pays to be fully prepared and have your hotels and monopolies ready…..JUST IN CASE!
luck = preparation + opportunity.
sometimes the opportunities look wrong or the timing is wrong, or the other guy just keeps throwing the dice against you.
this shouldn’t deter us from being prepared.
(i would have pouted for 24 hours after losing a game that way, lololol).
Hotels Travel Tips says
love this post for learning business
Thanks; do you guys play a lot of Board Games? Anything you’d recommend?
Dee C. says
Love this post..and it is so true. Never forget how lucky we are…I’ve made that mistake more than once…and it has hurt…I will never forget again, or take it for granted!
I think about that often – how being born into the family I was born into has a lot to do with where Bramble Berry (and I am) today. I feel thankful every day.
You are so right – life lessons are everywhere. We just have to be open and aware to them.
Thank you. I love having this blog to share my thoughts and reflections on. I’m a lucky chick…
I was sooooo bitter but it was just one of those things. I swear, I should have DOMINATED that game. =))) But, luck lucky luck … lady luck just wasn’t on my side =)
Very interesting post! Your game sounds much like mine the last time I played, but I didn’t take any lesson from it. So, thanks for sharing your wisdom here. My Monopoly game was one of the things I donated after cleaning out my camper this past week. This was timely!
I do enjoy your business insight Anne-Marie. You really make me take a step back and reflect.
Life lessons are all around us, aren’t they? It’s like God is trying to tell us something – if we just listen. We would all do well to save up for a rainy day (or year)!
Great post, there is an element of luck in most things that happen and we can’t forget that. You are also right, no matter how bad our “luck” might seem, just being born in this country and having the freedom to start a business and make those choices makes us here in the US more lucky than many born in some other countries.
Allison B. Kontur says
Great post Anne-Marie, and how very true! Love the Monopoly analogy too!