Making Your Own Luck

While pondering what to write about this week I realized this was my 13th blog, which made me think of superstitions, bad and good. Fear of the number 13 is widespread in our country—it is hard to find a 13th floor in any high-rise building or a row 13 on an aircraft.  And when was the last time you walked under a ladder or let a black cat cross your path?

There are also good luck charms or beliefs that many people cling to—stories abound of actors and athletes who swear by their superstitious rituals. “Break a leg!” is what you better say to actors before opening night.

Famous sportspeople often display superstitious behaviours. Notably, basketball legend Michael Jordan concealed his lucky North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls team uniform. Similarly, the tennis legend Björn Bork, reportedly wore the same brand of shirt when preparing for Wimbledon.

Crossing your fingers or knocking on wood are some of the most common practices everyday people use and they have been around for a long time.  And guess what? These things may actually work, but not because of any magic being cast. In fact, a 2010 study found that superstitions can sometimes work, because believing in something can improve performance on a task.

I believe luck can be created by your own will that you consciously direct towards a goal.  There are those people you meet who are engaged in life to such a degree, it can feel inspiring or overwhelming. Call it charisma, or personality, or an abundance of energy. Luck shines out of their eyes. But often, the truth is, it took years of hard work and conscious effort to get where they are.

The One Constant Factor in Your Life Is You

Being an active participant in your own life is one way to find some of the luck successful people have. You might understand this in an aha moment, or it might be a gradual discovery, but sooner or later you’ll see YOU are the one constant factor in making the changes you want to happen in your own life. 

Take a good look at your life, try to see it from a different perspective and decide what you want to happen.  These are some ways to achieve this clear view:

  • Step outside your comfort zone to try new things
  • Reinvent how you do certain things 
  • Find the mentors you need to get a more focused look at what your strengths are
  • Join groups and meet people who are also looking for change
  • Go to events and interact 
  • Get more connected to dormant sides of yourself you are intrigued by
  • Start new projects, and complete projects left undone for months or years  
  • Seek out people who will change your mind in a way that matters. 

Without going for it, whatever your it is, you’ll never know if you could’ve reached it. Sometimes all the luck and serendipity in the world seems to be one connection away. But without reaching out, the person with the answer to your question never speaks up, because you weren’t in front of them.

Preparation is Key

Preparation leads to better luck. In the sports arena, this is obvious. In other areas of life, the interconnection between spending hours each day working on your own lifelong projects and making your luck may not be as apparent. Sometimes, when looking at other people who are successful, you focus on the lucky break that catapulted them into the stratosphere.  But look closer and you’ll see the years they spent on their craft, in order to be ready to take advantage of that lucky break. As Thomas Edison reportedly said,

“Recognizing opportunity is so difficult for most people because it goes around disguised in overalls looking like hard work!”

The Importance of Asking

If you don’t ask for something, no one can say yes. You have to risk hearing no in order to get to a yes.  Speak up for yourself. Make a claim on your own place in the world. Daily progress comes from realizing everything is a process, and the more conscious effort you put into changing your relationships, your career, your community, the more things will change and the luckier you will be.