Do you consider yourself to be a lucky person? Are you envious of those who seem to have all the luck? Do you believe in good luck and bad luck?
An acquaintance recently made a comment to me about how lucky I was. “It must be so nice, ” she said, “to live in a nice house in a great neighborhood, to get to travel, and to be able to work whenever and however you want. You are so lucky.”
I smiled and thanked her. What I didn’t say, but what I understand and believe 100%, is that we make our own luck.
The four-leaf clover is a great symbol of what it takes to be lucky. In my experience, there are four things that create luck.
Recognize opportunity when it stares you in the face.
Luck isn’t going to run and find you. You have to put yourself out into the world. You need to meet people. You need to be curious, to listen, watch and learn. You need to engage with ideas and look for potential. Recognizing opportunity is about being open, being present, and paying attention. A lot of people don’t recognize opportunity, because as Thomas Edison said, “it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.”
Do the work.
This is the difficult part, and the part some people don’t see when they see someone they think is lucky. Yes, I have a career that I love and that to outsiders, might look easy. What people don’t see is the self-imposed long hours I put in at my work each day, or the thirty plus years I have devoted to getting the education and experience I need in order to do the work I now love. No one ever gave me anything. I made things happen through taking action, being dedicated and working hard.
More than once, I have been accused of being an optimist. I’ll take it. If you want to be lucky, make it a habit to look at the bright side of things. Be grateful for what you have. Stop the pity party. Give up blaming others for your circumstances. Seeing the bad in everything just drags you down and limits your potential. If your head is constantly mired in misery you won’t be able to stop looking at the ground long enough to see the great things that are right in front of you. Things aren’t always perfect, but you can deal with adversity in a positive way.
You are going to deal with adversity. We all do. You can take negative experiences or failures and quit, or you can use them as an opportunity to learn and try again. I’ve had my share of fails. Most recently, a partner and I have had ended a struggling business venture. We evaluated what we had done right and where we had gone wrong. We decided to salvage the good and use the lessons we learned along the way to rework and start again. Our actions will result in the odds being in our favor this time. Maybe we will get lucky, but it is more likely that we are taking the steps to create our own luck.
Luck is an amazing thing. It feels good to be lucky; we all want to be winners. The mistake is thinking that luck is something that happens to you, rather than something that you make happen.
I hope you are creating some luck for yourself!