Ever wonder how some people seem to have all the luck? Whether or not you believe in luck, there’s something to be said for being in the right place at the right time. For example, say we were walking together and saw a sign offering $5,000USD to any responder who could write a 250-word article on a topic revealed at the start of a 20-minute time window.

We’re both decent writers and the price is right so we follow up on the sign. Within minutes, we’re each sitting before a computer. The monitors blink on, the countdown starts, and our assigned topic is displayed. “Write about the development of cold-hardy peach varietals.” I stare at my monitor, deflated. I type a few lines about liking peaches but that’s it. Today wasn’t my lucky day.

Your story is different though. You know the guy who developed the premier cold-hardy strain of peach tree. You know enough about the topic to produce a satisfactory article in the given time and walk away with a check for $5,000USD. It’s your lucky day! But it wasn’t really luck, was it? We were both in the same place at the same time with the right skills to make the most of the situation. You just happened to have that extra bit of information that allowed you to succeed while I lost out. Why does that happen? How was it that you had the right information at the right place and at the right time? Why were you lucky?

Your good luck, as well as the luck enjoyed by most successful people, can be attributed to the combined force of three simple elements:

1. Proximity

“You cannot catch a fish without being near the water.”

The people you think of as lucky often put a lot of effort into being near as many pertinent opportunities as possible. In my example, we both had a shot at getting lucky because we weren’t just two idiots reading a random sign. We were skilled writers looking at a writing opportunity. We were both close to the opportunity. Not just in skill or location but in timing as well. Most of life is less random than my example. You can put yourself in the right place at the right time more often by identifying an area in which you have the necessary skills and knowledge to capitalize on sudden opportunities.

Questions: What are you doing to make timing right for you? What area have you put yourself in a position to “get lucky” in? Is there a skill you can improve for knowledge you can gain that will allow you to better capitalize on opportunities you discover?

2. Practice

“The fish not caught on the first try is larger when finally caught.”

Ask any professional athlete about a shining moment in their athletic experience and they’ll tell you that “luck” came only after long hours of practice. Wide receivers practice catching the ball thousands of times for every touchdown catch they make. Web developers create hundreds of applications before bringing the perfect one to market. And you? You read (possibly) millions of words before arriving at this article. In every case, the practice that precedes the instance of “luck” is just as important as the crowning moment itself.

Questions: Have you given up on practice only to wonder why you’re not improving in your field and experiencing the same luck as others? What steps can you take today in order to hone your senses and polish your skills so the next opportunity can be turned into a lucky moment?

3. Persistence

“If you do not fish often, the fish have little chance to bite.”

One sad truth of existence is that most people give up long before they should. Being in the right place at the right time involves being in a lot of places at a lot of times that might seem inconvenient or even painful. You’ve heard that luck favors the well-prepared but what about luck favoring the tenacious? Ever successful (you might say “lucky”) person I know has come very close to giving up many times. They’ve looked failure directly in the eyes and said, “not yet.” Sure, they’ve closed businesses, lost clients, and left relationships. But they never stopped trying. They never gave up.

Questions: Do you have a tendency to give up on things too early? Think of the last project you gave up on. What might have happened had you stuck with it? Are you currently giving your everything to the project or relationship at hand?

Ever wonder why some people seem to have all the luck? By paying close attention to your proximity to opportunities and following through with practice and persistence, you may soon become one of the people we look at and wonder how you got to be in the right place at the right time. Just luck, right? =)

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