Better to be Lucky than Good - The Bill Pearl Story

Better to be Lucky than Good – The Bill Pearl Story

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Bill Pearl

Bill Pearl

“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure,” said Earl Wilson.

Bill Pearl Story
Bill Pearl was one of the greatest bodybuilders of all-time.  Pearl was no pump-and-pose machine junky; he regularly performed amazing feats of strength for his fans, feats that would make any world-class strength athlete proud.

Pearl retired from bodybuilding in 1967.  Pearl had no desire to return to bodybuilding, despite the constant berating from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, and bodybuilding industry demigod, Joe Weider.

Bottom line, Pearl soared above the criticism like an eagle and let the pigeons fight it out.  All of this changed when Pearl’s long-time mentor, friend and coach became upset and told Pearl, “Get off your dead ass and do something about it.” Most of us can sympathize and have had coaches we’d wade through hell in a gasoline suit for, Pearl was no different!  Pearl believed in heroes and if you don’t, I feel sorry for ya.

At the age of 41, in 1971, Pearl returned to the stage to win the NABBA, Mr. Universe title.

The Competition 
The contest was under way on Friday, September 17, 1971 at Victoria’s Palace in London, England.  Sergio Oliva was the expected winner, followed by Reg Park and most fans had just hoped Pearl would not make a fool of himself.

An interesting event transpired before the contest, described below, in the words of the immortal, Bill Pearl.

“Before competition began, an incident occurred that might have had a slight difference in the outcome of the contest. A young Belgian boy, about 11 years old, had been brought backstage to see and possibly meet some of the contestants. The father nudged the boy, his autograph book in hand, toward Sergio.

BIG MISTAKE! The moment the boy got into his space, Sergio shouted something like, “Get the hell out of here! I don’t have time for autographs! See me after the show!” The outburst shocked the father and son to the point where you could actually see dismay on their faces.

Regaining his composure, the father began pushing the boy toward me. The boy walked over, his head down, autograph book at arm’s length, afraid to make eye contact. Having seen the crest fallen look on the child’s face, I signed my name and then picked him up and placed him on my shoulder as he flexed his skinny arm while his father snapped a photograph.

The next time I saw his father, he was looking at me while sitting at the judge’s table with a smile on his face, nodding his head up-and-down, mouthing the word, ‘Yes–yes–yes.’ ”

The following day, Cecil Peck, the Master of Ceremonies, announced Bill Pearl as the overall winner of the 23rd annual N.A.B.B.A.!

Pearl’s Luck
Should Bill Pearl have just have started buying lottery tickets with this kind of luck?

Is luck really just as random as a computer-generated lottery score?

Science says luck is far from random.

My Fascination
I have always considered myself blessed and lucky.  I just seem to be in the right place at the right time.  People, whom I consider mentors, that I seem to meet by luck, share this same sort of luck.

I find luck fascinating; at the urging of Charles Poliquin, I read the book, The Luck Factor, by Richard Wiseman.  I highly encourage reading this book.

Wiseman has identified four key principles through stringent scientific studies that enhance folks’ luck.  If you are the type of soul that gets hit in the forehead with a Botswana Pula when it’s raining 100 dollar bills, you are in luck.

Principle 1: Maximize Chance Opportunities
Being at the right place at the right time, Wiseman’s research revealed, comes via mindset.

Lucky people build and maintain a strong network of people; they make eye contact, have open body language without becoming overbearing, which makes people like to be around them.

Sociologists estimate, on average, a person knows 300 people on a first-name basis; when you meet someone or talk with someone, you are literally one hand shake or phone call away from that person’s 300-person network.

By being friendly and outgoing, lucky people maximize connections.

Let’s envision you are driving down the road relaxing, in a great state of mind, driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, all of a sudden, the blue lights are flashing, it’s the fuzz!  Everything changes to focusing solely on those blue lights because focusing on problems is human nature.  We have to work to break this habit!

Lucky people are relaxed and find 100 dollar bills because they see the big picture, not the tunnel vision of their problems. Lucky people go to parties relaxed with no agenda and boom, an opportunity finds them—simply because they see big picture. They listen and don’t calculate their next sentence while one person is talking.

Lucky people are open to new experiences!  If you always go out to eat at Denny’s, how do you ever expect to find the best menudo in the barrio? If you never venture outside of your current “safety” net, how can you find new opportunities?  If Brian Dobson wasn’t driving on an old, country back road, he would have never have had a life-changing experience at an old, country tent revival.

Principe 2:  Lucky People Listen to Hunches
Many times when situations unraveled that did not meet my desired outcome, I ignored my gut instinct.  Lucky people listen to gut instincts.  Remember, gut instincts are not always what we want.  Joel Osteen believes they are put there by God, I have trouble disagreeing.

90% of lucky people let their intuition aid in financial decisions and 80% in relational decisions.  If on the second date, you are a little creeped out, get out!

Lucky people take steps to boost their intuition, this can be done with, prayer, mediation, visualization, or even ignoring a problem and returning to it at a later date.

Principle 3: Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people expect good things to happen!

How do you think Art Briles has established himself as the best football coach in America?  Everywhere he goes, he expects success.

Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of placebo shams, from fake surgeries to fake steroids, the results have nearly been on par with the real deal.

Good fortune can be expected because of work ethic and proper preparation. Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Adequately prepare and you will start expecting good fortune.

It’s like the old story of the man goes to the Caribbean,  gets in scuffle at the local kick-and-stab bar, the witch doctor throws a whammy on him, and then boom, it’s like his hot luck turns colder than a well-digger’s ass.

The witch doctor created reality.

Luckily, the inverse works!

In one study, teachers were told a randomly selected group of students had been identified as “late bloomers” and would do extremely well in the future. Researchers examined the effect of the teachers’ expectations on these average kids over the next few months.  Lo and behold, without purposeful intention, the teachers provided the selected students with more praise, encouragement, and extra attention in class.

The totally randomized group of “late bloomers” produced much better school work, even scoring higher on intelligence tests.  The teacher’s expectations became the students’ reality.

Expectations eventually become self-fulfilling prophecies; this is a great thing if you are on the right side.

Principle Four: Turn Your Bad Luck Into Good
There is no such thing as failure, there are only results!

I truly believe this.

When something bad happens, lucky people are thankful it was not worse, unlucky people focus on how things could have been better.

Lucky people learn from their mistakes.  I know I have made mistakes in my career, the key is learning.  The objective is to stay committed to your vision but flexible in your approach.

Things could always be worse!  More importantly, every time you learn how not to do something you get better.  Every situation is a chance for you to grow as human being in some way, take advantage of it.

Final Thoughts
Remember the story of Bill Pearl?

Pearl maximized the chance opportunity by meeting a father and son he had never met.  Unknown to Pearl, he earned favor in the ultimate master of his bodybuilding fate.

Pearl listened to his hunch to uplift this young boy’s spirit, expecting something good would happen; the good went beyond the good deed that would have satisfied Pearl. Bill Pearl’s action turned the young Belgian boy’s bad luck into good luck and ultimately his own.

Yeah, Bill Pearl was lucky.

Josh Bryant

Josh Bryant

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