Monday, November 17, 2014

Making Your Luck

My eldest son is 'lucky'.  He has won more contests and free stuff over the years than anyone I know. Most are envious of his luck, typically lamenting how they just aren't that lucky, that fate somehow hasn't treated them the same.  However I know from first hand experience that he makes his luck.

He wins more contests because he enters more contests.  If there is a chance of winning anything, he drops his card into the slot, fills out a ballot, completes an entry.  Most people I know don't do that.  They determine that it isn't something they are interested in, not something they'd use, they don't want everyone to have their contact information... and they don't 'win' as often.  In essence, you can't expect to win 'it', if you're not in it!

This discrepancy though got me to wondering about whether this same attitude relating to contests and giveaways exists within the larger context of 'luck', especially when it relates to life opportunities. According to Dr. Stephann Makri, in looking into why some people seem 'luckier' than others, serendipity is more than just an accident.  Apparently 'lucky' people all recognise opportunities that present themselves and take action on them.  In his book The Luck Factor, author Richard Wiseman concurs that some people aren't necessarily luckier than others, they are just quicker to spot and take advantage of opportunities.

There is some research supporting the view that extroverts tend to be a little luckier than others, but this is simply because they tend to engage more people and more connections tends to correlate to having more opportunities.  It stands to reason then that luck can be cultivated, we can indeed create our own luck.

The following are some key tips to help you increase your Luck Factor...

Prepare yourself for Chance.  All of the studies indicate that those considered to be lucky tend to be much more open to new opportunities.  Exposing yourself to new opportunities and perspectives increases your chances at continuing to have more opportunities.  To practice your openness begin by looking at a situation that you have an established view and opinion on and then come up with 5 plausible alternative views.  Learning to broaden our perspectives helps prevent us from closing ourselves from new opportunities too quickly.

See Serendipity everywhere.  Serendipity is described as chance encounters that lead to happy outcomes. Don't just prepare yourself for chance, begin actively seeking it out.  Serendipitous events surround us, but we have to see them in order to act upon them.  You have probably experienced them a couple of times in your life, a chance encounter with someone that connected you to an unexpected opportunity.  However, as with anything, you see more of what you attune yourself to see.  You may feel that you saw no orange cars on your drive in to work but, primed to watch for them, you see five on your drive home.  Watching for serendipity helps to see and experience more of it in your life.

Take a Break.  Although conscientiousness has its benefits, it is no true friend to serendipity.  Being too rigidly focused on the tasks at hand creates a tunnel vision that limits your ability to give chance a... well... chance.  You have to allow yourself to be a little off track and loose in your thinking sometimes to be open to 'interruptions' to the process.  As we get older it may be more difficult for us to experience 'luck' in our lives because we often become more set in our thinking and our habits of behaving.  We need to relax and loosen up a little to give room for chance to step in.

Say Yes.  When we are first faced with new opportunities our first reaction is usually a combination of Intrigue and Anxiety.  Your path is determined by which one of these feelings you give in to.  Over time, we tend to develop our habitual responses and patterns of behaviour by selecting one response more than the others.  This is why some people's path is paved with more happy coincidences and opportunities, while someone else's path is riddled with regrets and roads not taken.  Managing your fears, developing your courage, increases your 'luck'.

Embrace Failure.  Not every opportunity turns out well or works out for us the way we would have liked. However, lucky people are resilient.  They don't view failure as a reason not to try again in future, they simply learn what they can and need from the failure so they can apply those learnings to the next opportunity.  Most successful business owners have had failed businesses first.  That's what taught them what it took to be successful.

Use the above tips to strengthen the 'luck' that you experience in your life.  We get more of what we work on and for in life.  Some may describe the result as 'luck', others may see it is a the by-product of work and focus.  Gary Player, a professional golfer once said...
"The harder I practice, the luckier I get"
Cultivate and build your luck by building your awareness and openness to it.  There is no reason to simply sit back and wait for opportunity to knock.  Why not open the door and invite it in?

To check out more on this subject, and to get even more ideas on boosting your luck, check out The Luck Factor for yourself...

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