Luck? Do you feel lucky?
I was once asked if there was a degree of luck involved in order to be successful, and if I thought life was just ‘a roll of the dice’.
Hopefully this article will help you to understand the concept of ‘Luck’ a little more.
A good place to start our discussion is with Seneca who was a Roman philosopher, and politician he lived way back in (5 BC – 65 AD) and he is quoted to have said;
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
In mathematical terms therefore we would think of Luck as a product of opportunity and preparation.
Luck = Opportunity x Preparation
But is there a bigger picture and are there other elements involved in being or feeling ‘Lucky’?
Some people say that everything we do in life is luck or that luck may just be a feeling and that we really can’t really quantify it at all.
“Everything in Life is Luck” Donald Trump.
“Luck is believing you’re Lucky” Tennessee Williams.
These quotes bring a new intangible element to the equation, and equate to luck being something that is not easily measured and that is something subjective and dependent on a person’s state of mind or the way they feel.
I would go so far as saying that;
“Feeling ‘lucky’ is certainly a whole site better than feeling unlucky”
The important issue here if applied to success and achievement is, that if you feel lucky then you are more likely to have the ‘mind-set’ to find new opportunities and also be prepared to take these opportunities.
How do I make my own Luck?
Most people would agree that
‘if you sit in a room all day, waiting for luck to come to you, you are likely to be disappointed’.
On this note here are the top 4 ways in making your own luck;
1. Maximise your Luck in opportunity.
Do something new, break the old routine, and surround yourself with the right people.
This increases the likelihood of favourable chance occurrences happening to you.
There’s also a degree of momentum to be gained here as ‘lucky people’ are more likely to see opportunity and have better self belief in themselves and have a positive attitude.
A positive attitude is more likely to initiate positive actions, and in the words of Henry Ford.
“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right!” Henry Ford.
People certainly do make their own opportunities and waiting for things to come to you may mean a long wait.
2. Be Prepared.
Preparation is your ability to take action, with the necessary skills that you need, so in the words of Stephen Covey “sharpen your tools”.
It is essential that you skill up, learn from experience, and be ready for the next time that opportunity comes your way.
When we say someone is just ‘lucky’ we don’t always realise what behind the scene effort and preparation has taken place. It’s not just a matter of being in the right place at the right time it’s a matter of being prepared to take that opportunity.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”. Alexander Graham Bell
3. Get That Lucky Feeling.
There’s no harm in feeling lucky, or feeling that something is going to help you succeed, the lucky rabbit foot can make you feel more positive.
Neither can we under-estimate the power of faith to guide us and give us that extra purpose in life.
The theory is that looking for the good things in your life is essential and this in turn will re-enforce a positive attitude.
Some people re-enforce their self belief that they will succeed with positive affirmations of some form, and for years we have known that just by imagining your self winning really does help sportsman to win.
I used to always wear my lucky tie in an interview, I knew it couldn’t get me the job by itself but it may have been the catalyst to stop self-doubt creeping in to free me up to perform better under pressure.
Confirmation bias is a tendency for people to favour information that confirms their preconceptions regardless of whether the information is true.
So lucky people look for things in their life to tell them they are lucky and people who regard themselves as unlucky look for things to confirm this preconception.
4. Use Chaos Theory.
There is probably no ‘Law of Luck’ that defies the laws of Physics to make some things happen only to a few chosen lucky people.
There is however the Chaos theory (aka the butterfly effect) which tells us that
Small changes in the initial environment can have huge unpredicted changes in the outcome.
The Butterfly effect coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before.
Or more simply put a ball placed on a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position or push.
Bringing Chaos theory into the equation in regards to being lucky and successful we can surmise that doing small things such as preparation or looking for opportunity could have huge effects in a future that we just can’t predict.
You never know that lucky rabbit’s foot and its effect on your self belief may just be the small thing that makes the difference and gives you more luck.
In regards to luck I can simply conclude that it’s better to feel lucky and have faith and self belief.
We also need to look for opportunity and be prepared to take these opportunities, perhaps we should also remember that small things really could make a big difference in the outcome.
In regards to life being like ‘a roll of the dice’ all I do know is that we need to take risks at times, we need to throw the dice to get a score and the more often we throw the dice of life the more likely we have of getting what we want.
Or as Baltasar Gracian said in the Art of Worldly Wisdom in 1637.
“Some are satisfied to stand politely before the portals of Fortune and to await her bidding; better those who push forward, who employ their enterprise, who on the wings of their worth and valour seek to embrace luck, and to effectively gain her favor”.