Thoughts on Something Unpredictable - Luck

by Benedikt Scholz

Together with our internal and external experts, we want to take the opportunity to share our insights and learnings on business buildup in Chemovator: for corporates and startups. In the frame of the international day of luck and happiness, Benedikt shares his view on luck and entrepreneurship.

Feeling lucky is one of the greatest sensations humans can experience! We usually feel lucky when an event occurs that we could not foresee or when something goes really easy off hands.

The most obvious example for being lucky is winning the lottery. You cannot just win a lottery, you first have to buy a ticket. I am not recommending to play the lottery because the chances are terribly low to actually win, but it shows that you have to initiate an action to get something back. This can be transferred to everyday life, personal life as well as your career. I call it "calculated luck". If you seek and strive for what you are passionate about, then ultimately the pieces will come together. Sometimes it seems that hard work does not pay off, but it will. You have to open your eyes and see what happens around you: through random circumstances you meet new people or get introduced to new opportunities. If you take everything for granted then you never have the feeling that you were lucky. The beauty of luck, however, is that it will always remain priceless! Even if you take the action or invest into moments rather than things, you will never be able to tell what will bring you luck. Sometimes it's just a matter of your perspective.

What happened to you this week that you consider luck? Sometimes we are so busy with our life that we don’t see these little things.

I was being asked to write something about luck. This fact that someone else thinks that I have something to share about this topic is to me luck itself.

Here are three examples of my lucky moments:

  • In the past years I bumped into two people in pretty random situations, one in a restaurant and one in the queue at the airport, both of them became meaningful in my life.
  • I applied to study sports and had to pass a pretty tough physical test. I didn’t manage some of the exercises during my practice, but out of sudden I was able to perform them the first time during the real test. (I still chose not to study sports in the end.)
  • I was working on my first startup for a while before the market was ready for the business idea. With my team of co-founders I went through a business plan competition where we were able to take a significant amount of money home that allowed us to fully focus on the venture (just a month before being broke).

As an entrepreneur you have to navigate your small raft through very wild water hoping that at some point it will become a speedboat then a cruise ship that takes you to safe and beautiful harbours. You will have to navigate by assumptions and good faith and proactively seek opportunities and try out different paths to become a lucky successor.

Today, I feel lucky to act in the role as Entrepreneur in Residence for Chemovator. This allows me to share my lessons learned with the Venture Teams and at the same time widen my horizon to the world of corporate entrepreneurship. Chemovator provides a space for BASF employees to go on a journey to pursue their own ideas, which is the most rewarding option of making a living. It goes beyond the pay check that you receive at the end of a month when you are able to choose what you do and how you do it (with minimal rules to work within an ecosystem of course). It gives the power to the employees to create their own professional luck.

Very often success does not come without failure and frustration. It is a mental challenge to stick through the tough times and navigate towards a goal while everything is going down. Successor find chances in these moments, and this separates them. I am here to support the Venture Teams to make the most out of this opportunity and see them succeed!

My general advice for those who start a company for the first time would be along these lines:

  • Just do it.
  • Embrace and be grateful for every mentorship that you can get. Time is precious for everyone and people have enough on their own plate. So never be too arrogant or bullish when someone is taking even 5 minutes to find a solution for you.
  • At the same time I recommend you to listen, contemplate and then make your own decision with as less ego involved as possible.
  • You will figure the rest out along the way. You might even just figure out that such endeavour is not your cup of tea, that’s totally fine and I am happy for you that you tried and came to your conclusion what works best for you.

This being said, I am looking forward to work with the great team from Chemovator and its Venture Teams to create amazing companies.

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Benedikts' Background

Serial Entrepreneur in Real Estate and FinTech space with B2C and B2B business models.

Benedikt works as an Entrepreneur in Residence for Chemovator. Currently, he coaches, mentors and accompanies three Venture Teams along the Chemovator Journey.