How to Get Lucky

Ah – the coveted luck ‘o the Irish! Although I don’t know how lucky the Irish really were (potato famine, Irish slavery (yes, there were Irish slaves), tough times as US immigrants) – being Irish was no cake walk. Ireland itself, as green and gorgeous as it is, isn’t the easiest country to live in. But I like the Irish and they are closely associated with luck.

Several recent books and articles have attributed the success of many people not so much to their great skill or hard work, but to their luck. Luck is said to consist of things like being born with the right color skin or at the right time in history, etc. Hmmmm…..not quite sure how that explains a George Washington Carver or a Michael Phelps, but it’s a theory.

I tend toward the Jeffersonian school of thought, “I am a great believer in luck and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

If you believe that some large degree of your success is under your control, you are empowered. If you think it’s all a matter of luck, you are a victim of chance. Those of you who want to bet on sheer luck, Vegas is waiting. For the rest of us, here are some tips:

1.) Make the most of your strengths. People who are “lucky” play up their strengths. Think of the short unattractive guy who seems so lucky in love. Guess what? It’s not luck – it’s that amazing sense of humor he has honed so well over the years. Maybe you are lucky enough to have some gift – a talent for singing or writing. You have to work hard to develop that gift – possibly at the expense of other things.

2.) Be Jefferson – work hard. Tiger Woods isn’t a great golfer because he’s lucky. He’s a great golfer because of hours and hours of work and discipline. Edison didn’t discover electricity because he was lucky. It took 10,000 attempts. He was relentless.

3.) Get smart. What are you trying to be lucky in? Love? Business? If you’re not lucky now, you might need a new approach. Read books, attend classes, ask for help. You might not need more luck, you might need more information.

4.) Make it a priority. The people that are really successful make whatever they are successful at a priority. Athletes that win aren’t out getting drunk the night before a big game. They don’t skip practice. Their choices all revolve around what they want most. Luck? I don’t think so. Discipline. Focus.

5.) Use good judgment. I paid off my mortgage last year. People say, “Oh, you’re so lucky not to have a house payment!” Luck has nothing to do with it. Living within my means and making excellent financial choices had everything to do with it. The more often you use good judgment, the luckier you will be.

5b.) Stay away from the chronically unlucky. I’ve known some people that always seem to have bad luck. But when I look closer, they’ve made a series of really poor judgment calls. They got married way too soon. They bought things they couldn’t afford. They let shady people into their lives. They loaned money repeatedly to people who didn’t pay them back. And on and on and on. They are not unlucky, they have poor judgment. And if you spend enough time with them, their unluckiness will start to impact you.

6.) Learn from your “unlucky” experiences. You lost money gambling? Ummm – stop. You blew your diet the last time you went to Golden Corral? Ummm- don’t go there. You dated a loser who cheated on you? Be much more careful about who you let into your life next time. I know I am making light of this, but let’s own up here. Many of the “unlucky” things that happen to us happen because we didn’t learn the lesson the first time they happened.

7.) Choose the lucky mindset. Do you think of yourself as lucky or unlucky? People who think of themselves as unlucky will find evidence all day long to back that belief up. People who think of themselves as unlucky will do the reverse. Let’s use the example of a breakup with a cheating partner. The “unlucky” person thinks, “I’m so unlucky in love. If I had better luck I’d be getting married right now.” The “lucky” person thinks – well, better to find out what a louse this guy is now rather than after we were married! How lucky!”

I’m so lucky these points came out to be lucky number seven!! Just remember, at the end of the day, you really do make your own luck. Here’s to the Irish!



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