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5 Ways to Create your Own Luck

Catching that "lucky break" in life is always up to you.

Some of us feel a bit envious when good things happen for others. Depending on the circumstances, we may attribute another’s success to “hard work,” “manipulation,” or “dumb luck.” Some of us may also wonder when we will get our own “lucky break” in life. Whether it is finding true love, landing the perfect job, or winning the lottery, it’s seldom just “dumb luck” that brings these jackpots into someone’s life.

Researchers have determined that folks who we might consider as “lucky” are those who actively seek to make their own good luck in life. For instance, think about that friend who shows up at lunch and tells you about the $20 bill they found on the sidewalk on the way into the restaurant. The money was there for the finding, but your friend was the one who was doing the looking. Researchers have found that the people who find money blowing in the wind are the ones who are actually exercising higher awareness of their surroundings. Not only will your friend end up a few bucks better off, but her heightened awareness of her surroundings may also help keep her safe from harm.

Have you ever narrowly escaped a crisis or an accident? Do you say to your friends, “Whew, I caught a lucky break!”? Chances are, though, that you actually made your own lucky break by yourself. By listening to some inner voice or intuition, whether you attribute the voice to a higher power or not, you took action that may have kept you from physical danger or injury. The legendary "lucky break" can happen to anyone, anywhere; what matters is how well a person recognizes what is right there for them to grab.

I know people who have described themselves as “luckier than most.” They might describe their good fortune in terms of career, finances, friends, romance, family, fancy toys or possessions, and whatever else they value. They may not actually have life any better than someone else, but the difference lies in their own awareness and acknowledgement of their good fortune. Everything is relative—and when we are able to see our own lives more clearly, we are able to see what needs doing to rectify the things we believe aren’t doing so well.

Here are five ways to increase your luck:

  1. Take action! There’s a saying that “fortune favors the bold” and it is indeed true that if you don’t take action to reach your goal, it is unlikely you will ever reach it. For instance, if you want a better job, if you don’t start looking, it is doubtful you will find it. You want a good friend? If you don’t show up in life (in reality or online), you won’t be meeting her.
  2. Know what you want in life so that when it arrives, you will be able to recognize it. If you live your life with a bunch of “woulda’, shoulda’, coulda’s” bouncing around in your brain, you really understand what this suggestion is about. A generic “life could be better” malaise can be most easily cured by tuning in to what we specifically feel is missing. Have you ever stepped back to let another person take credit for something you’ve done? Then kicked yourself for being too “nice” or “too modest” or something similar? Remind yourself that you are longing for some glory for your own good work and when the next opportunity for a pat on the back comes along, get in line. It wasn’t “good luck” that got your colleague the positive attention, it was a chain of events that didn’t happen in a vacuum.
  3. Take off your blinders and sharpen your metaphorical peripheral vision. Being focused on your goals is essential, but don’t let unexpected and one-of-a-kind opportunities go by unnoticed. Sometimes “luck” is about taking advantage of an unplanned detour or a sideline distraction. Listen to what the folks on the side are saying and keep your eyes peeled for potential paths that might be off the beaten track. Capitalizing on something that no one else has spotted isn’t just “good luck,” it’s an example of astute perception and a shrewd response.
  4. Build your social network. This is key to increasing the opportunities that will show up at your doorstep. Have you ever asked someone how they got their dream job and heard them respond, “I just knew the right people”? Or did your best friend meet his true love because a good friend hooked them up? So often, good things happen because of “who you know,” not always “what you know.” Get out there into the social world and see if your own “luck” grows in direct proportion to your social network.
  5. Similar to building your social network, this suggestion is to build your geographical or virtual network. Learn about the world around you – get involved in community organizations, special interest groups, and professional associations. Not only do good things happen when you “know the right people,” it is also essential that you are “in the right place at the right time.” If you spend your days surfing the web as a lone wolf, you may gain a lot of knowledge, but you won’t have the opportunity to put it to use if you don’t leave your laptop.

Good luck, happy accidents, and lucky streaks won’t happen in a vacuum. If you’re not moving through this world, keeping your eyes open and your sixth sense tingling, it’s difficult to change your story or your fate. For those of us who might prefer to ascribe the outcome of our fates or our lives to a higher power, remember that it’s written that God helps those who help themselves. Remember, too, not to give up or to let failures keep you down. The lucky break that can change your life may have to be courted a little more persuasively than you might expect.

Find your own lucky break by blazing a trail through life that only you were meant to follow.

More from Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.
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More from Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.
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