I should be so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky)

I should be so lucky

There’s a form of farewell used by Londoners that fascinates me. “Be lucky”, they say as you are parting. Although similar to saying “good luck”, “be lucky” suggests that you have some choice in the matter and that you can decide to be lucky. But can you?

What is luck?

You can find all sorts of definitions of luck, but most people would agree that you know luck when you see it. It could be something good that you didn’t expect to happen, or something bad that you expected that didn’t happen. What about bad luck? Just the opposite I suppose.

Do I feel lucky?

Luck seems to be concerned with the way you feel. If you feel lucky, you will be lucky. If you don’t, you won’t. How does this work? People who have a lot of positive experiences, or positive thoughts and feelings about the experiences they have, will tend to feel lucky. Would an impartial oberver consider them lucky? It’s hard to say, but generally we accept it if people tell us they are lucky (or not). This is possibly because only they know their actual circumstances.

Can you make yourself luckier?

Napoleon Bonaparte famously wanted “lucky” Generals. He prized luck over intelegence, training, skill or experience, and it worked for him (up to a point).  Several studies have been done on luck – often looking at the differences between people who consider themselves lucky and people who don’t. Most people would agree that being lucky is better than being unlucky, so here are six things that may make you luckier.

1. The harder you work the luckier you get

This saying is usually attributed to Gary Player the South African golfer after a comment was made about how lucky he had been during a tournament. You can see his point – it wasn’t luck, it was all the practice he put in. So you know what to do.

2. The more people you know the luckier you are

In a study comparing people who considered themselves lucky with people who didn’t, the “lucky” ones seemed to know more people (they were given a list of first names and asked how many people with one of those names they knew). There are a number of ways to interpret this. For example, people who consider themselves lucky are more outgoing, or maybe knowing more people presented them with more opportunities for good things to happen. Whatever the reason, work on increasing the size of your network.

3. Keep going, don’t chop and change, and let luck come your way

In his excellent book “How to get rich”, Felix Dennis talks about a friend of his who he says is much more capable then him but never became rich. He tells us that this is because his friend was always changing course with his businesses and never gave luck an opportunity to come his way. So stick with it and give luck a chance to find you.

4. Expect good things to happen

If you expect good things to happen you will do things to make it more likely that they do. If you expect bad things to happen you will avoid doing anything at all so that they won’t, and good things won’t happen either. Some people talk about visualising what you want and the Universe will make it come to you. I’m not sure I buy into this, but the more you have positive expectations, the more things you will do to make good outcomes more likely.

5. React positively, whatever happens

It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters. Choosing to respond positively to events, no matter unfortunate they are, is a skill worth developing. This is what those positive thinkers mean when they tell us that there are no problems only challenges. There are several techniques from disciplines like NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) that can help with this, and there is plenty of material that you can use to get started.

6. Relax

I’m sure people who feel tense don’t feel lucky. I know I don’t whenever I am tense. You only have to watch nervous people tripping up, knocking things over and generally having a difficult time to see this. So stop worrying about trying to be lucky and luck will be more likely to come your way.

Be lucky!

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