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“I am a great believer in luck,’ said Thomas Jefferson, “and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Of course even the hardest worker is not lucky all of the time and even the most committed optimists will sometimes find themselves in less than optimal situations. But that’s where the lucky distinguish themselves from the rest, because even when they are down on their luck, they look for the silver lining and work hard to turn their supposed ‘bad luck’ into good (many refuse to even use the term bad luck because they don’t believe in it!).
This isn’t to say some of us are born luckier than others. If you were born in the United States or in Australia as I was, then you are luckier than millions, actually billions, of others born into far less peaceful, prosperous and freedom loving countries. Millions never get a chance to learn how to read or write, much less to live the life that you and I often take for granted. In some of the world’s poorest countries, many are lucky to simply survive childhood.
However if you are already one of the lucky few who doesn’t have to worry about where you will get your next meal, then you may want to consider how you can use your existing good fortune to become even luckier. The truth is that lucky people aren’t lucky by accident. They’re lucky because of the mindset they bring to life. A mindset that accepts bad luck as inevitable but good luck as something we can create with a combination of hard work, courage and optimism.
You may not be able to control the economy, the weather, the stock market or the universe, but research shows that you you have a major hand in whether you ultimately create your own good fortune and forge what many might envy as a fortunate lucky life.
Here’s seven ways to hep you do just that
- Take the path of courage over comfort
Fortune favors the bold. Of course not every risk you take will turn into a lucky break but the ore often you put yourself ‘out there’ – on a limb, where on the braver hearted dare to go – the more you increase your odds of landing whatever it is you most want. As Richard Branson shared with me during an interview on his private island (lucky bloke!), “We have to create our own luck by taking the required risks to open the door to change, progression and success.”
Doing this requires rising above our innate desire to play it safe and stick with the familiarity of the known. But as someone who has spent a great deal of my adult life outside my comfort zone I can attest to the possibilities that open up when you dare to take a risk toward what you most want. Courageous action doesn’t guarantee success but it always precedes it. The not very secret secret to doing this – do not wait until you feel brave (or lucky) before you start taking action. Bold action is the most powerful antidote to fear… and a highly effective tool for warding off bad luck.
2. Commit to optimism
Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology once wrote, “Optimists endure the same storms in life as pessimists. But they weather them better and emerge from them better off.” And so it is with luck.
What you focus on expands. People who expect good things to happen to them attract more good things. Call it positive thinking woo woo, but there is a lot of science behind the ‘law of attraction.’ The truth is that what you put out you get back… not instantly, not every time, but over time when you expect good things to happen you’ll find they generally do. As Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor wrote, “Lucky people’s high expectations motivate them to persist,” even when they don’t succeed.
3. Find a way to turn every loss into a win
Einstein once said that problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking at which they were created. Likewise, often our problems are really just opportunities for us to come up with more creative and bolder ways of approaching life. Some people lose their job and spend years focusing on the doors that closed and others lose their job and look for how they can open new doors… maybe even build some. Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. Look for opportunities in your adversities and you will always find them. Often the ‘lucky breaks’ can come from those things that others may view only as bad luck.
4. Pick your pals carefully
Emotions are contagious. Hang out with cynics, doomsdayers and naysayers and people who often complain about their bad luck and you are guaranteed to turn into one of them. Emotions are contagious. Being deliberate about spending more time with the kind of people who view life through the optimists lens and less with those who don’t may well be the singular most critical factor to your future luck.
5. Be a lucky charm for others
Hand in hand with taking responsibility for the energy you let into your life, take ownership for the energy you put out and be the kind of upbeat, fun loving, optimistic and generous spirited person others feel lucky to know. It will come back to you ten-fold. What you put out comes back to you as much with the good luck you attract as the good people. And when you have good people in your life, well… you can’t help but strike it lucky.
6. Trust your intuition
Last but not least, lean into your sixth sense that often is pointing you toward the best (and luckiest) path. Research shows that over thinking the big decisions can often undermine their quality and land you in a spot of ‘bad luck.’ Likewise, studies hav found that going with your initial gut feel can help you make a better decision and land more ‘good luck’ in your court. Those indecipherable insights can help you make better decisions because your brain is capable of discerning subtle, complex patterns that go beyond conscious understanding. Don’t ignore a hunch or silence your internal alarms just because you can’t explain them. If something just feels right, it probably is. If it doesn’t, well, it probably isn’t. Lucky people act on their instincts.
7. Be grateful
I opened this column writing about the good fortune many have of being born in a country where we have opportunities that millions would consider incredibly lucky. Be grateful for that. Lucky people know that what they appreciate appreciates and they never fail to count their lucky blessings. So if you do nothing else today, take a moment to think about how lucky you already are. By simply becoming present to the good fortune in your current circumstance (some of which you may have done very little to deserve) you will cultivate more gratitude and actually experience life through a far luckier lens.
Good luck! Not that you need it… you just need to go make it.
March 17, 2019 at 11:18AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs