Make Your Own Luck

Rolling D20 Die

About a month ago I shared a quote from Seneca:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”

While I love this quote it's a bit simplistic isn't it? The problem is that not everyone sees opportunity the same way. Some people choose to see misfortune instead of opportunity, some are too focused to see opportunity, . People create their own luck and there are a few things you can do to improve how “lucky” you are.

Note: none of these involve superstitious beliefs or lucky charms. They both require a shift in how you think about and look at your life.

Be Aware

The vast majority of the time people are too focused to be aware of opportunities. You need to have the bandwidth and the ability to see opportunities when they hit you in the head even when you're not looking for them. There was a fantastic study by Richard Wiseman done on this:

I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message “Stop counting – There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was over two inches high.

How many times have you been so diligently working that you ignore the answer right infront of your face only to discover it was there the whole time? All of us have done that – especially coders who are looking for a logic flaw in their code when they may have only forgotten a semi-colon. That's why people take breaks to clear their heads so they can come back to their desk and be aware of everything going on in their code.

If you spend your entire day working diligently on your day to day tasks you're definitely missing some opportunities. You need to have the breathing room to look up and be aware of what you're doing and the opportunities that might pass you by if you aren't paying enough attention to them.

Position Yourself to See Opportunities

Let me ask you a question – when you go to a party do you tend to talk to the same people or the same types of people? You'll definitely make some connections but if you keep talking to the same kinds of people every time you go to a party you'll see fewer and fewer new opportunities. What if instead of talking to the same people you forced yourself to talk to different kinds of people? If you did that you'd have a pretty good chance of making different types of connections. From the same study one of the “lucky” people did just this:

Another person described a special technique that he had developed to force him to meet different types of people. He had noticed that whenever he went to a party, he tended to talk to the same type of people. To help disrupt this routine, and make life more fun, he thinks of a color before he arrives at the party and then chooses to only speak to people wearing that color of clothing at the party! At some parties he only spoke to women in red, at another he chatted exclusively to men in black.

And that's the way it is with luck. If you do the same stuff over and over again you will run low of opportunities. If you push yourself into new uncomfortable situations you'll discover new opportunities that you would have never found before.

Are You Lucky?

So are you lucky? Do you see unexpected opportunities? Do you go after new opportunities or just explore the existing opportunities over and over again?

You can't make opportunity appear out of thin air but you can drastically increase your chances of seeing opportunity. Not sure about you but I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen.

Photo credit: Giphy

One thought on “Make Your Own Luck

  1. Interesting that you wrote about luck.

    I believe luck is all about being at the right place at the right time. So, to increase our luck factor, we need to be at different places at different times. It means trying different things, not being stuck at one place, connecting with more people.

    And when we call ourselves unlucky for a missed opportunity (especially in business), what we don’t realize is that may be we just dodged a bullet.

    I like Richard Branson’s quote – “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”

    Nice blog Patrick. I enjoy reading your posts. Keep em coming 🙂

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