by Craig Forman
How Former Senator Bill Bradley Creates More Luck in His Life
One person who epitomizes many of the best opportunity-creating behaviors I describe in my new book Be Luckier in Life, is former Presidential candidate Senator Bill Bradley.
His accomplishments and achievements span so many ﬁelds that it’s hard to tell what’s most important to him. All-American basketball star at Princeton, Rhodes scholar, Olympic gold medalist, NBA champion on the New York Knicks, US senator, presidential candidate — Bill Bradley seems to have bounced from achievement to achievement, across career after career.
Look deeper, though, and you see Bill’s record of success all hangs together around a central belief — that he was put on this planet to play a role in “big reform, and helping people where they live their lives” in such areas as education, healthcare and tax reform, he says. This theme has been a constant in his life —from the leadership he showed on the basketball court through his 18 years in the US Senate, where he played a commanding role in legislation that removed 13 million children from poverty LINK, expanded opportunities for education for millions more, and lowered and simplified taxes for every American.
Bill describes this sense of purpose as coming from within, not from external impulses — and uses words that tellingly imply that ﬁnding his destiny was a ﬂuid and natural process — not one fraught with conﬂict and tension:
“I believe in discipline. I believe in hard work leading to accomplishment. But I am talking on the deeper, spiritual, interpersonal, emotional level, of living every day to the fullest extent possible, with the joy that comes only from being in a state of unity (within) yourself. Having your external world and your internal world be joined — as opposed to separated.”
Perhaps the biggest setback of Bill’s career — the time when he was most “out” of his zone — was losing the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2000. Bill recounts a dream he had not long afterwards. In the dream, a giant is crossing a river — but he suddenly begins to stumble as he realizes that he is being eaten alive by piranhas below the water’s surface. He won’t make it across the river. Just then, a boat appears, and the giant is magically shrunk to a size that allows him to ﬂee the piranhas by climbing into the boat and sailing away to safety. “That dream helped me go on with my life after the inﬂation of running for the presidency,” says Bradley. “To save your humanity you have to shrink from the inﬂation of that feeling of running for president, and then you save yourself.”
Today, as a successful investment banker in New York, Bill is continuing to rack up new achievements, directing companies and advising entrepreneurs. “I’m associating myself with ideas that have a chance of changing the world if they are successful,” he says. “You have to live your life not to the drumbeat of other people’s expectations, but to the drumbeat of your inner self,” he adds.
Craig Forman is the author of Be Luckier in Life, an Amazon best-selling career guide. He weaves his first hand knowledge gleaned from interviews with top leaders to help people and organizations learn how to profit from opportunity by making luck happen.
Forman has a deep knowledge of the changing media landscape, with a focus on mobile, and speaks to audiences about managing change and creating more luck!