Brian Stewart was a brilliant young art director working in Edinburgh, at a really good agency called Halls.
Brian came back from lunch one day and noticed everyone smiling at him.
He thought, that’s unusual.
Then someone told him the creative director wanted to see him in his office.
So Brian walked in and the creative director said, “Seven, okay.”
Brian said, “Pardon?”
The creative director said, “Seven, I’m putting you on seven, okay.”
Gradually it dawned on Brian he’d just had his salary doubled.
He was on £3,500 a year, the creative director had just put him on 7K.
In a situation like that you don’t argue.
You say, “Thanks very much” and leave before they change their mind.
Which is what Brian did.
But he couldn’t work out why it had happened.
And why was everyone smiling at him?
Why had the creative director doubled his salary?
Outside his office a secretary casually said to him, “Oh John Hegarty called for you.”
Brian said, “Thanks very much.” And went into his office.
Now he knew what had happened.
While he’d been at lunch John Hegarty (from BBH in London) had phoned up to speak to him.
He wasn’t there, but it went round the office like wild fire.
“John Hegarty called to speak to Brian Stewart.”
“John Hegarty’s been trying to get hold of Brian Stewart.”
“John Hegarty needs to talk to Brian Stewart.”
“John Hegarty wants Brian Stewart to call him back.”

By the time it got to the creative director everyone knew that John Hegarty must have been so impressed by Brian that he wanted to offer him a job at BBH in London.
So the creative director was worried.
Brian was one of the best young art directors in Scotland, and he didn’t want to lose him.
But BBH in London, there was no way Halls could compete with that.
Except maybe money.
Maybe they could hang on to Brian if they doubled his salary.
So they did.
Meanwhile Brian went back to his office and made the phone call to John Hegarty with the door shut.
This proved to everyone that it was indeed a heavy phone call.
But why Brian actually shut the door was because he’d met John socially, and John was just calling him to ask for a favour.
Nothing to do with work.
But when you’ve just had your salary doubled it’s best not to mention that.
So he didn’t.
I once heard John Cleese talking about returning from a holiday.
He came through the front door to find lots of mail waiting on the mat.
He began gradually opening the letters.
One of them said something like, “Dear Mr. Cleese, we represent the advertising agency for Sony and wonder if you’d be interested in appearing in a campaign for us, for a fee of £100,000?”
John Cleese thought that was a nice ‘welcome home’ present.
He put it aside and carried on opening the rest of the post.
A little while later he opened another letter from Sony.
This one said, “Dear Mr. Cleese, as we haven’t had a response to our last letter we feel we should improve our offer. Would £150,000 be more acceptable?”
And indeed he felt it was.
Sometimes you don’t have to do anything.
Sometimes the world changes around you.
You can’t depend on it.
You have to carry on working, looking for opportunities, trying to make things happen.
You try everything you can possibly think of.
And sometimes, just sometimes, you get a lucky break.
You can’t depend on it.
And, funnily enough, the more you depend on it the less likely it is to happen.
The more you don’t depend on it, the more likely it is to happen.
So how do you increase the chances of luck happening?
Paul Grubb always liked American tycoon Armand Hammer’s quote, “People say I’ve been lucky. But it seems to me the harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Personally I’ve always preferred the way The Bible puts it, “God helps those who help themselves.”