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 make their own good luck by thinking and behaving in ways that create good fortune in their lives. Here’s what they do differently:
1.) Lucky people maintain a relaxed attitude that is open and aware.
A study by psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman surveyed a bunch of people to find out who considered themselves lucky or unlucky. Wiseman gave both the ‘lucky’ and the ‘unlucky’ people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. That’s it. Luck wasn’t on their minds, just some silly task.
He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds. How could the lucky people do this? Because they noticed a message on the second page that read, “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” So why didn’t the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message.
When people are focused on a single task, blocking out every other possibility, they miss chance opportunities that could be important. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore they see what is there rather than seeing only what they are looking for. Unlucky people do the opposite. They go to parties with the sole intent of finding their perfect partner, and so they miss opportunities to make good friends or meet people who might be able to help them in their careers. They look through the newspaper determined to find specific jobs, and overlook great openings.
The same principle applies when lucky people meet and chat with other people. They are relaxed and attuned to the opportunities around them. Lucky people see what is there, rather than trying to find exactly what they want to see.
In the real world, you’ve got opportunities all around you. If your mind is closed, you’re not going to spot them. Being relaxed and open allows you to see what’s really around and maximize the potential of what’s right under your nose.
2.) Lucky people use intuition and gut instincts to make successful decisions.
Lucky people simply know when a decision is right. They trust themselves to decide. And if they get it wrong, they take it as a lesson learned and then adjust their approach. In contrast, unlucky people view many of their poor decisions as yet more evidence of how they are always destined to fail.
In his book, The Luck Factor, Dr. Wiseman discusses another study he conducted in which more than a hundred lucky and unlucky people answered a short questionnaire concerning the role of intuition – the rather curious sensation that something we have just done, or are about to do, is very right or very wrong – in their lives. When it came to luck, intuition mattered. Lucky people’s gut feelings and hunches tended to pay off time and time again. In contrast, unlucky people often ignored their intuition and regretted their decisions.
3.) Lucky people 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. The biggest accomplishments often originate from humble roots, yet not many people realize this.
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.
4.) Lucky people treat their failures as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Everything in life is a 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. 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. Lucky people learn from their mistakes. When ill fortune blocks the path to their goals, they explore other ways of solving the problem and squeeze some benefit from their misfortune.
Unlucky people often dwell on mistakes from the past, obsessing about the bad luck that put them in their present unlucky situation. But remember, good luck has a lot to do with choice. Use all of the lessons you have learned to make educated decisions and create good luck for yourself in the future.
5.) Lucky people appreciate what they have right now.
When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. If you are in the constant habit of feeling and giving gratitude, the world wants to give you more and more. Pay close attention to the present, many people aren’t so lucky.
You already have some amazing things in your life, whether you realize it or not. Most of us have incredible family members, friends, other loved ones who love us back. Learn to appreciate what a miracle that is. Most of us have good health, which is another miracle. Most of us have eyes, with which to enjoy the amazing miracles of sunsets and nature and beauty all around us. Most of us have ears, with which to enjoy music, one of the greatest miracles ever. Be grateful for each of these things, and more!
Take time every day, throughout the day, to thank life for all that it has given you, to thank others for what they give you, to simply be grateful. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
6.) Lucky people work toward their 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! Take some advice from one of America’s most influential founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin: “Diligence is the mother of good luck”. Achieving your goals and dreams can be a lot of work. Be ready for it.
7.) Lucky people help when they’re able.
It’s impossible to help someone else and not get a little help for yourself in the process.
The old saying “what goes around comes around” is definitely true in all walks of life, and it comes around when you least expect it. In life, you get what you put in. Remember, luck often comes in the form of help when you need it most, and the best way to ‘grease the rails’ for help when you’ll eventually need it is by helping others right now.
When you help others, don’t expect something in return. Just enjoy the experience of helping that person and building a stronger personal relationship. That stronger relationship will likely be there for you in your moments of darkness.
8.) Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune.
They imagine how things could have been so much worse. For example, research shows 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 at all.
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. When you dwell on the negative events in your life, you will experience only the negative. But when you concentrate on positive events, you will begin to feel much happier and luckier.
You control your luck and your life by controlling your thoughts. Keep a luck diary. At the end of each day, spend a couple of moments writing down the positive and lucky things that happened. Once you get in the habit of seeing the bright side, it will be difficult to see it any other way.
9.) Lucky people enjoy new experiences and take calculated risks.
If you want more luck, mix it up. 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. They are adventurous. They take calculated risks. They are consistently taking action in the face of uncertainty.
When you take small risks, either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win. Take the leap even when you can’t see every last detail coming over the horizon. Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same unlucky spot forever.
If you need a little push, try playing the dice game. Make a list of six new experiences – things that you have never done before but wouldn’t mind trying. Some of the experiences might be fairly simple and others might be more adventurous. Write down a list of the experiences and number them 1 to 6. Then, roll a die and carry out whichever experience is selected. What a fun way to bring new experiences, risk and possibly luck into your life. Read Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway.
10.) Lucky people believe they CAN.
In all walks of life, positive beliefs have the power to become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Lucky people believe they CAN be successful. Studies have shown that a managers’ positive beliefs and expectations in their staff have a profound effect on the productivity and success rate of their staff. Likewise, managers who believe in themselves motivate the people around them to perform well and believe in themselves as well, while those with poor expectations cause those around them to become despondent and unproductive.
Positive beliefs and high expectations also motivate lucky people to persist even in the face of considerable adversity; which means they eventually reach the finish line as the other contenders walk back to the starting line.
Those who take responsibility for their own lives and actions know that luck can be created. Live each day believing in yourself and your ability to be lucky, and over time you will be. I challenge you to review each bullet point again and think of your own personal luck in recent times. Think about how lucky you are right now.
Photo by: Suradej Chuephanich
Adenike adeniji says
Very motivating! Thanks for continuing to make a difference in my life.
Lan Hoang says
Thank you! I feel very lucky right now to have read this insightful article.
Anthony Thompson says
This is a very powerful and thought-provoking post. There’s more research on this topic than I was originally aware of. Thank you for the early Monday morning inspiration.
I absolutely love your blog! It is such treasure trove of information and inspiration, plus many (much needed!) reminders of how to live and appreciate life.
Thank you so much for your work! I am most grateful! I’ve shared many times.
Very useful article which definitely can help many people to create life’s balance.
Ara Bedrossian says
I must say that first one about being open and aware is the powerhouse of being successful. If you know what’s in your environment, and you’re not trying to change it, you become part of it and find what you want. Everything is taken in context, and that context is: Worry doesn’t work. Which overlaps with 8, about staying positive. Great list!
Chris Robinson. says
Awesome! I love the concepts discussed in this post. Luck truly is a choice on many levels. I know from first hand experience.
Working hard and loving the task at hand – mindfulness – is what it’s all about. Without a doubt, being lucky is partially controlled by the actions a person takes. Good Monday morning read. Thanks.
[email protected] says
All of these are important, but ” 8.) Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune.”
This one to me is very important because it is always positive no matter what is happening. You can find an opportunity in it.
Ever corner we turn or river we ride down has a new experience waiting for us. We just have to see the opportunity and let out instinct tell us when to run with it.
thanks for the reminder of how lucky everyone can be with the right attitude.
Blessings to you both,
Susan Bahig-Egypt says
Thank you so much for this wonderful article. It came to me in the time that I really need it. It has a very optimistic view of life, and it makes us very close to have positive actions and leave the rest for God, that is for two reasons which are every single detail in our lives is written before we born; and the second reason is that, if we know how God manages our affairs, our hearts will be dying in His Love. Thus, we must take actions and listen to the right voices or we will remain the same.
Thank you again, with my deep esteem…
You insire me every day to be a better person and I learn from your examples. Best of all, your information informs my own efforts at helping the planet heal and begin loving themselves and everyone else. Thanks so much!
Chad Lacey says
Your blog is by far what I look forward to reading most. Thank you for putting forth the hard work and effort to provide inspiration to all of us who benefit greatly from it.
Rasto Lamos says
Great article on how to be more lucky in your day-to-day life 🙂 Thank you!
All of these were great, but # 8 is the one that really set off all the bells and whistles (change your attitude). Every one of us, no matter what our circumstances, and no matter what our financial or physical limitations might be, still have this option available to us … we can focus our energy on what we can appreciate, and by doing so, we magnify our ability to draw positive energy into our lives. Great article!
Good read! A wise friend of mine maintains there is no such thing as luck, per se. Rather ‘luck’ is when preparation meets opportunity.
Derek Tacconelli says
A very inspiring article! It makes sense: You attract positive things/people/opportunities to you if you stay positive.
Thank you Marc and Angel!
I’m feeling lucky to have found this article and this inspiring blog. Thanks Angel and Marc.
Thanks, that’s a great summary.
I think, in order to be lucky, it’s very helpful to actually be present at places where you can “pick up” the luck you’re looking for.
You see, not everyone is striving for the same kind of luck. In my case being lucky is often related to meeting people who do software test and development, so I go to places where this happens. This is not generally considered a potential source of luck, however in my case it definitely is (more precise: has been in the past, more than once).
What’s your place of a maximum chance of being lucky?
Susanna @Happyologist says
In a way how lucky you think you are is linked to optimism which also helps you learn & grow from challenges, spot the opportunities and believe in big ambitions.
Before you can you have to believe! 🙂
Now I know why I am not the luckiest person… but I have positive things to work toward.
Sol Neuhardt says
Great theory and interesting perspectives.
Over the years I have realized that when it comes to achieving my goals and dreams, the harder I work toward them, the luckier I become.
Paula Wertheim says
Absolutely magnificent post at exactly the right time for me!
Thank you so much for your terrific blog. It always gives me a lift.
All the best,
Everyone always tells me I’m one of the luckiest people they know and I have every one of these traits! I especially believe in seeing the positive side to ill fortune. Last year my husband became disabled, my teenage son was diagnosed with cancer, and I lost my job but I always see the silver lining. I see it as my husband will have more time to spend with the family now that he’s home, my son’s cancer was caught early, and my unemployment will lead to an even better opportunity. It’s all in the way you think!
Thank you so much Marc and Angel ! 🙂
I actually do many of the things you discuss here, but this article was a perfect refresher for me.
totally agree : GIVE Your 100% each and every day and be grateful, someone out there might not be as lucky as we are.
Wishing you a blessed and awesome day!
With a little love and luck, we will get by!
Jerry Hislip says
I really love the life that God has given me. I truly think if you’r not a Postive thinker everyday of your life,you’r a lost person just wandering around with no purpose in life! But as long there are people like you two helping us with fresh ideas,how can we not be winners! Thank you so much for your article’s.
Great post! This reminded me of this poem:
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
Marc and Angel, boundless thanks for this. Very many thanks. It is both timeless and priceless advice.
nice post keep on motivating and putting us on track
Speaking of very lucky people, the ones that are married with a family should be very thankful for having the gift of life that many of us still Don’t have today.