How to be lucky without four-leaf clovers and pots of gold.
By Henry Adeleye on March 13, 2015
"The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have" -Christian Grey
Another lucky Friday, the 13th. Two in a row, for anyone keeping score. How ironic with St. Patrick's Day right around the corner. While you're planning the perfect excuse to tell your boss for missing work on Wednesday, you may need a little Lady Luck on your side to make sure you're still employed come Thursday. But where does said luck come from? What makes some people lucky while others with similar or more talent seem to miss out on opportunities? Does it take four-leaf clovers, pots of gold, or eating Lucky Charms cereal to stumble across good fortune? Not really (Frosted Flakes may actually help, though). Sometimes, it just takes some good old fashioned luck. Not the roll-the-dice type of luck. That type of luck is the work of magical space kittens in far distant galaxies. It takes more of the make-your-own type of luck. This type of luck is where preparation meets opportunity. And it just so happens that it's possible to significantly increase your chances of having it.
The first phase of luck is the preparation phase. Opportunities are abound, but if you're not prepared to take advantage of them, you'll just be frustrated when the next person ends up with what or who you should've had. Always make sure you know more about the world today than you did yesterday. Work hard, whether out of desire or desperation. Learn all there is to know about the areas in life you could use a little luck in. If it's in a particular career field, use the 10,000 hour rule and become an expert in your field. In relationships, focus on being the type of person you would like to date, just in case the person of your dreams just happens to fall out of the sky and not break a leg when they land. Being prepared also means being open-minded and optimistic. Sometimes what seems like a setback or what may not jump out as obvious may be just the thing you've been waiting for. If there are 100 opportunities immediately surrounding you, the optimistic person may see five or six. The pessimistic person will see none. Be prepared to take advantage of those five or six.
The second phase of luck is the opportunity phase. Being prepared means nothing if the opportunity to capitalize on your preparation never presents itself. In order to increase your chances of luck, you have to increase the number of opportunities you come across. This is a little tougher because it involves coming out from under a rock and taking a little risk. Take action. A dream without action will never leave the bedroom. Get out and meet people. In real life. You never know who you'll run into. The person waiting to take you to the next level is out there waiting for you to introduce yourself. Even when it comes to dating, you only have to be right once. If you meet 100 people, your chances of being right greatly increase. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. Wayne Gretzky said that.
Be kind to people. The person who broke you in line at Chipotle could end up being the person who knows the person who can connect you to your dreams. Cursing him or her out will help your luck run out. Also, let people in your existing network know what you're seeking. When they stumble across job openings, or meet people who know other people, they can pass the opportunities your way. There are countless people who have come across favorable circumstance when one of their friends saw something and thought to themselves, "Oh yeah, I remember John was looking for something like this," or sees a guy jamming to Taylor Swift in public and thinks, "Oh, I've got the perfect girl for you." Lastly, seek out new experiences. The person responsible for making Starbucks what it is today discovered the idea of a coffee shop when he saw them while on a visit to Italy. What if he never went? A lot of friends discovered a love of teaching while volunteering with children. What if they just decided to stay in their dorm rooms? Increase the number of opportunities you're exposed to and increase your chances of being prepared for one.
In order to increase your chances of good luck, increase your preparation and the number of opportunities you come across. Then, be sure to take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves. The randomness of the universe will sit you next to the person who can make your dreams come true. It's up to you to notice when this happens and connect the dots. When a petri dish you're working with gets contaminated, will you discover Penicillin? When a candy bar melts in your pocket while you're working on radar equipment, will you discover the microwave? When the person who is just as weird as you walks right past you, will you remain silent? Hopefully, you'll do the right thing. You'll be lucky if you do.