Make Your Own Luck in the New Year

Do you consider yourself to be lucky? Is having good luck something that just happens or is it something you can make happen? The general consensus is that luck is something that comes at us randomly. Mostly, luck happens to someone else, not you or me. Luck is something beyond our control. It just happens. Maybe there is more to it. Recent studies suggest that while certain events are driven by chance, many events that we think are purely accidental actually arise out of our beliefs and behaviors. I have been told that luck is “where preparedness meets opportunity”. True. But if you set yourself up to meet that opportunity you can change your luck. In other words, luck is a skill. It is a skill you can get really good at. You can make luck happen. Here is an example of what this means: British psychologist Richard Wiseman conducted an experiment where he asked volunteers to count the number of pictures in a newspaper. What the volunteers weren’t clued into was that a rather large message was inserted into the papers that said: “Stop counting. There are 43 photos in this paper.” Volunteers who had categorized themselves as “lucky” prior to the experiment, found the tip and quickly offered the answers. The folks who had described themselves as unlucky continued the count. After all, they couldn’t be that lucky. Belief in good fortunes sets up a feed-back loop where luck brings more luck. When we expect positive outcomes we are more likely to look for and to actually find them. This is a really big idea! THE KEY IS TO NOT OVER-CORRECT IN THE FACE OF DEFEAT Researchers at the University of Toronto, among others, showed that people who consider themselves lucky report feeling happier and more optimistic about life in general versus people who have a darker view of themselves. Luck comes at us all. It’s a matter of being ready to recognize it that makes all the difference. Here are some ideas to help bring us more luck. First of all, change it up. Mix up that routine. Don’t be so rigid with you schedule. Being lucky, to a certain extent, depends on being open to the unexpected. A chance meeting makes a new friend. A snippet of conversation leads to a great new job. Plans are a great thing to have, but not so etched in stone that you can’t be open to the “new” that’s out there. So make it a point to taking a new path every now and then. Life-coach, Janet Bray Attwood says: “Good fortune comes into your life when you start paying attention to your life.” Who needs a rabbit’s foot? Maybe you do. A lucky charm can, actually, make a difference. When the outcome of a situation depends on performance that lucky coin in your pocket could help you focus more positively on the task. Researchers found that when golfers were told that they were using a “lucky ball” they sunk 35% more putts than subjects using a regular ball. That charm helps us believe that we can accomplish the task. We reach for higher goals. We stick to the challenge longer when we have belief. Okay, not everything works out in our favor. Sometimes we just miss out. The key here is not to over-correct in the face of defeat. Changing your entire game plan may not be the best strategy. Second place finishers tend to over-correct which can make outcomes even worse. Close calls can interfere with what we are already doing right. Instead of focusing on the down side which is “I lost”; focus on the fact that you “almost won.” This will improve your chances of winning next time. Now go on out there and try your “luck.”

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