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Luck in the time of Simulated Learning.

It is one of Dale Carnegie’s greatest quotes, and I paraphrase: “luck (or success) is nothing but the meeting place of your alertness and all the opportunities passing by.”

As the world would have it, most people deem themselves unlucky, supported by the words “I should have …” The truth couldn’t be further from the fact that ‘unlucky’ people have not gathered the courage, taken personal responsibility or been proactive to enable the meeting of opportunities and alertness. And all of this happens because of fear. Fear of the unknown, of consequence, criticism or what others would say and failure. Fear coupled with low self-esteem, low status, lack of appropriate knowledge and skills is lethal; the perfect combination to functionally disable people from being ‘lucky’.

Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.
– Mark Twain

This quote has become the mantra of entrepreneurs, winners and successful lucky people everywhere. Anthony Tjan writes on the Harvard Business Review Blog – “Constant focus on self improvement affords more opportunities for luck to occur. Business leaders who regularly question the norm and who seek both continuous improvements in their business, and in themselves, end up being luckier because they want to learn.”

And what of those who have decided to be lucky and want that extra confidence to succeed?

I believe simulated learning experiences carry the answers to empower. Experience is a powerful teacher. On the job it can be costly to learn from our mistakes, but in a simulated environment, this valuable learning methodology carries far less risk. It can effectively rid people of fear and uncertainty because in a simulation unlike real-life scenarios there is nothing to lose. A simulated learning environment imitates situations available to the learner to practice and hone necessary skills, rather than having them jump right into the real experience—where a “do-or-die” mentality can often make the individual anxious and uncertain. An ordinary person after experiencing a simulated environment transforms into a skilled individual, enabling him to confidently handle any circumstances and progress forward.

Indian mythology has promoted this kind of learning where Gurukuls were the center of education. Dronacharya, a legendary teacher and warrior imparted his knowledge of combat to the princes through experiential learning based on simulations. NASA trains astronauts to prepare for the rigors of space travel by simulating environments and situations. Military personnel depend critically on their automatic responses to dangerous situations. Simulation course-ware is specifically designed for these purposes.

Many educational institutions and businesses are screening the scope and viability; some are already pursing this mode of skill, value and knowledge transference for radical and positive transformation in individuals and institutions. With Experiential Learning based on simulations, you could easily work your way towards becoming ‘Lucky’.


Tell us what do you think.

  1. VIJAY WALIA says: November 15, 2010

    Excellent article indeed!!!
    One should try and fail instead of not trying and repenting later on for not having tried.Not trying for the fear of rejection,critisism is a big mistake one commits in one’s life.Failing in the process of trying leads to experience of not failing again.
    One becomes lucky only if one tries and tries sincerely with confidence.

  2. Solomon Salvis
    Solomon Salvis says: November 15, 2010

    Hi Vijay,

    One important keyword you have mentioned is confidence. It makes all the difference between someone being ‘lucky’ or not. I believe simulation based could be instrumental in giving an edge to professionals who have strong intentions of being decisive and successful.

    Solomon Salvis.

  3. scott.simmerman says: November 15, 2010

    In my work, we have used a variety of games for generating behavioral outcomes that we can discuss. Often, the issues of “perceived risk” and “we have the information we need” come into play, which will often block an individual or group’s access to more or new information. The choices they make. at least in these ames, directly influence the luck that they have.

    In our exercise, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, teams have the choice of acquiring new information that enables them to perform better. They often choose to not get that information. If one of the teams does acquire that information, another team my resist getting that information, thinking that the other team is trying to distract them or miss-inform them in some way.

    In our Seven Seas Quest exercise, we will allow teams to change the rules to better optimize overall results. But few of the teams ever “test the waters” to see if new ideas are allowable.

    So, at least in these kinds of games, we see that people’s distrust of new information or fear or anxiety in some ways interferes with making good choices.

    Being open to new information and trusting others and actively looking for better ways of operating does demonstrate more luck, it seems.

    Remember Clint Eastwood in the 1971 “Dirty Harry” movie: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?” (hear the clip at )

    Sometimes, you just ahve to feel lucky! And sometimes, you just need to count.

    Have fun out there!

  4. Solomon Salvis
    Solomon Salvis says: November 16, 2010

    Hi Scott,

    Among the many good points that you have made, I would like to take home that choice is every human being’s prerogative. To exercise this right takes courage and also faith. Thank you for your comment.

    – Solomon Salvis.

  5. gume says: February 12, 2011

    I wished to thanks for this great learn!! I definitely enjoying each little little bit of it I’ve you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you publish

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