Do you consider yourself lucky? Do you even believe in luck at all?
Well, whatever your stance, it’s a basic fact of life that we can never know everything. Whether we like it or not, and as much as we try to adjust for it, we live most our lives in a state of uncertainty – never knowing what’s around the corner.
Of course we don’t necessarily feel that we’re walking around in the great unknown all the time, but the truth of the matter is that we will always encounter unexpected events, experiences and surprises that we could never have anticipated. What’s interesting is that those of us who consider ourselves lucky may be better psychologically equipped to notice and seize these kinds of opportunities as they arise.
“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”
– Voltaire (1694 – 1777)
While carrying out research for his recently published book, Business Brilliant, author Lewis Schiff found that around 80% of self-made millionaires said that luck was important in achieving success. Compare that to the 25% who said the same about getting a formal education, and you start to see how important a role luck (and more importantly, our perception of it) can have when it comes to success.
In fact, research suggests that being lucky may be an approach that you can adopt, as opposed to an external hand of fate that deals you your cards. In this post I’d like to share 3 of the most interesting and powerful ways you can boost your luck and, with it, your chances of success.
1. Take more chances
This may seem like a deceptively simple one to start with, but to boost your luck you have to take more chances, and to take more chances you have to be able to notice them first.
He found that there were certain personality traits that ‘lucky’ people seemed to express – they were typically higher in extraversion and openness, and scored lower in neuroticism than their ‘less lucky’ peers. What’s interesting here is not the idea that luck is a function of personality, but rather that the people who were more open and extraverted simply took more chances and explored new experiences – which meant they opened themselves up to serendipitous encounters they would otherwise have missed out on had they stuck to what they know.
So the next time someone offers you an unusual and appealing experience you’d usually refuse, ask yourself whether you might be better off relinquishing the familiar in favour of something new.
2. Focus on specific goals
Now, having said that it helps to be open-minded, it doesn’t mean that you should be so open-minded that your brain falls out. In fact, when it comes to luck, it can actually help to focus on specific objectives, so that you can then easily recognize a ‘lucky’ opportunity when you see it.
Rather than setting a wooly intention, such as ‘I want to make more money’, it can help to make your goal more actionable by focussing on the smaller steps you need to take to get there. This way, when an opportunity arises that is in line with your goals, you’ll have already primed yourself to notice it and use it.
3. Embrace failure
I know, I know, it’s never comfortable to fail. In fact most of the time we go out of our way to actively avoid failure. It starts at an early age, getting rewarded for the ‘right’ grades at school, the ‘right’ behaviour with our parents, and adopting the ‘right’ trends with our peers.
But it’s only through taking smart risks and being prepared to fail that we can actually free ourselves up to greater opportunities for success.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
– Henry Ford (1863-1947)
Often it’s those wacky, out-of-the-ordinary experiences that end up being the most memorable, and the most valuable. This isn’t to say that if we take more risks and embrace failure we’ll live regret-free, but it does mean that we’ll live more varied, exciting and potentially fulfilling lives.
There are many ways in which you can boost your luck, and while some things are just down to chance, the key lesson is this – you can maximize your serendipity by opening up, setting focussed goals and embracing the unknown. Uncertainty will always be a companion to the living, but people who experience themselves as lucky tend to be firm friends with it.
Want more? Here’s some fantastic further reading you can check out:
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