Diligence is the mother of good luck.
I have great news! Today could be your lucky day. It’s not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice. Lucky people are ordinary people who create their own good luck by practicing simple luck-producing habits. Here’s what you need to do:
Constantly try new things.
There’s a saying that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you want to improve your luck, you have to try new things to see what works and what doesn’t.
Unlucky people tend to be creatures of habit. They take the same route to and from work every single day, talk to the same types of people at social functions, and live out the same routine day in and day out.
In contrast, lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one lucky friend I know recently described how he thought of a color before arriving at a business convention and then introduced himself to people wearing that color. This kind of behavior boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety into an otherwise status-quo situation. And in my friend’s particular case, his (somewhat odd) tactic led to a fairly substantial contract deal with a new client.
Think about how lucky you are right now.
Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been so much worse. For instance, I met a rather cheerful, successful and lucky business client recently who showed up to our meeting with a cast from shoulder to wrist on her left arm. She then explained to me how she had fallen down a flight of stairs. “But I am the luckiest person alive,” she continued. “I walked away from that fall with a broken arm instead of a broken neck.”
Another interesting example of this is how research suggests that Olympic athletes who win bronze medals are typically happier than their Silver medalist counterparts. This is because silver medalists think that if they had performed slightly better they might have won a gold medal. In contrast, bronze medalists focus on how if they’d performed slightly worse, they wouldn’t have won anything.
Having a positive outlook on life is a must if you are to become a luckier person. If your outlook on life is doom and gloom, then that’s all you’ll experience. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. You control your luck and your life by controlling your thoughts.
Look around. Appreciate the things you have right now. Many people aren’t so lucky. Read The Power of Positive Thinking.
Notice little things and solve small problems.
I chatted with an aspiring web application developer recently who was complaining that all the big ideas were being worked on already and that there was nothing groundbreaking left to do. As he talked, I realized he was referencing massive projects that others were working on that seemed mostly out of reach. And as I thought about all these ‘grand ideas’ I realized that in most cases they probably didn’t start with a massive plan or project, but rather started by trying to solve a simple problem.
This is the impression I get when I read about the early stages of companies like Google. I’m pretty sure Google’s founders didn’t have the goal of organizing the all of the world’s information as their primary focus when they first started – instead they started with a series of smaller problems (problems are potential opportunities) and slowly expanded their end goal from there.
Work on things you’re passionate about.
Some of us were born to be musicians – to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings with the strings of a guitar. Some of us were born to be poets – to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose. Some of us were born to be entrepreneurs – to create growth and opportunity where others saw rubbish. And still, some of us were born to do whatever it is, specifically, that moves you.
Don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires. You must follow your intuition. Good luck and true wealth come naturally to those who are passionate about their work. Read Quitter.
Establish relationships with people who share your interests.
If you’re already passionate about something, finding and connecting with others who share your passionate viewpoint can help you in numerous ways. You can tap into their knowledge on the topic, share your own ideas and experiences, and often share and learn things outside of your common interest area.
Make an extra effort to reach out to people who you’ve identified as having an interest overlap. If you happen to meet someone casually who has an interest overlap with you, don’t hesitate, jump on board with that connection. It can provide a great opportunity for you to build a friendship in an unexpected place.
Share your skills, ideas, and knowledge freely with others. If you’re already involved in a group with a particular interest, make an effort to reach out to newcomers. Not only will a friendly face help to encourage them to get involved, they’ll often hold you in high regard, as you’re the one who broke down some of that ‘newness’ barrier for them. Similarly, when people come to such meetings looking for help, don’t hesitate to assist in any way you can.
Help others out when you’re able.
Remember, in life, you get what you put in. Luck often comes in the form of help when you need it, and the best way to ‘grease the rails’ for help when you’ll eventually need it is by helping others right now. If you’re presented with an opportunity to help – particularly one that you can fulfill without infringing on your other responsibilities – the luckiest thing you can possibly do is help in every way you possibly can.
And when you help others, don’t expect something in return. Instead, just enjoy the experience of helping that person out and building a stronger personal relationship with them. That stronger relationship will be there for you later on in your time of need – just trust in it and be a helpful friend whenever you can.
Take calculated risks.
Lucky people take more risks. This doesn’t mean they gamble their livelihood by taking ill-advised risks on sketchy business opportunities. Taking a risk can be calculated – you weigh your options, know what you can afford to lose, and go for it. If it doesn’t work out, you go for it again when you can afford to lose a little more.
When you take small, calculated risks, either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win. Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same unlucky spot forever.
Pay close attention to the present.
Unlucky people often dwell on mistakes from the past, obsessing about the bad luck that put them in their present unlucky situation, or they concern themselves too much with future ideals. Lucky people, on the other hand, concentrate on the present moment.
Life is happening right now. You can’t learn something new or uncover a new opportunity that’s happening now if your mind is stuck in another time. Opportunities present themselves every day, all around you, but you have to pay close attention to your surroundings to notice them. Read The Power of Now.
Identify the lesson.
Everything is a life lesson. Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc. They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’
Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way. If you don’t get a job you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting. And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.
Remember, having good luck is a choice. Use all of the lessons you learn to make educated decisions and create good luck for yourself in the future.
Work toward your goals every day without fail.
The harder you work, the luckier you will become. Stop waiting around for things to work out on their own. They won’t. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it. By ‘working on it,’ I mean truly devoting oneself to the end result. The rest of us never act on our decision. Or, at best, we pretend to act on it by putting forth an uninspired, half-assed effort.
If you want good luck in your life, you’ve got to be willing to give it 100% every day. No slacking off! Achieving your goals and dreams can be a lot of work. Be ready for it. Read Getting Things Done for some practical guidance in this arena.
Photo by: Matthew Fang