You probably have friends who come to mind when you think of lucky. They happen upon tickets to the most in-demand events, get invited on really great trips, skip lines, succeed in their careers, and stumble into one awesome experience after another.
While these events seem to occur randomly and with very little effort, research shows that lucky people have similar habits and beliefs. London-based author, physician, and mind coach Stephen Simpson says that luck is actually something that can be learned and increased. How are your lucky friends attracting all their good fortune?
- They go out of their way to meet people. As Max Gunther writes in his book How to Get Lucky, “Luck flows along linked chains of people until it hits targets.” A lot of what we consider luck is really just opportunities landing at our feet. Those opportunities flow through people. The more people you know, the more opportunities are presented.
- They say “yes”. Lucky people say “yes” to offers that come their way, even if it’s not something they originally planned. This flexibility allows them to experience more, meet more people, and parlay those experiences into more opportunities. While it’s important to have a plan, it’s just as important to let yourself deviate from your plan to explore ideas or opportunities that interest you.
- They trust their gut. Simpson, who works with professional poker players, says the lucky players listen to their gut feelings. “Intuition, like any other skill, can be improved with practice,” he says. Becoming more in touch with your inner voice, and developing the ability to read people and understand unspoken social cues can improve your intuition. “The next step is trusting your intuition and acting on it,” Simpson says.
- They stay positive. Lucky people aren’t lucky all the time. Everyone faces adversity and experiences failure, but you won’t find your lucky friends ruminating over a bad break. People who appear lucky take hardships and turn them into something positive. They learn from their mistakes and use them to make their next experience better.
- They give. Lucky people are givers. This has nothing to do with karma and everything to do with making a lasting impression. Lucky people don’t just meet more people, they connect better, and maintain relationships. They know a lot of people, but more importantly, a lot of people know them. When you meet new people, focusing on what you can give to them, rather than what you can get from them is the best way to build genuine relationships and make a lasting impression. Give your time, give your full attention, and look for ways to add value to your new relationship. At first, you may have to make a conscious effort to make giving your focus, but eventually, it becomes second nature — as it is for many lucky people.
- They think outside the box. Lucky people are creative thinkers. In 1975, Gary Dahl invented the pet rock. The fad lasted six months, but it was enough to make Dahl a millionaire. It’s one of those ideas that makes you think, “Why didn’t I come up with that?” His success could be attributed to luck, but really he saw an opportunity to solve a problem. Dahl came up with his brilliant idea when he was at a bar in Los Gatos, CA with some friends, and they were complaining about how they had to walk, feed, groom and clean up after their pets. His out-of-the-box thinking about how to solve pet problems changed his life. Your lucky friends, who experience success in business, probably have the same ability to look at a problem from a different vantage point and come up with a creative solution.
This post is not to say that everyone is dealt the same hand in life and all luck is created. Many people have innate privilege or fortunate circumstances that contribute to their luck or success. But what you make of the hand you were dealt is up to you. What do your lucky friends do? They leverage it into opportunities.