Luck marches with those who give it their very best – – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
What is luck? We know it is good and some people are blessed with it but the big question is how do we get more of it?
First of all, let’s find out exactly what luck is.
According to the dictionary, luck is “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”
While this is a good definition, there do seem to be people who are more prone to “lucky breaks” than others.
You have probably heard on occasion that you make your own luck. This is true and I can show you how to make more of it for yourself.
Luck can appear to be magical and there are some seemingly magic elements involved. However, if you really understand how life works, you can easily see how to make your life luckier.
First you have to understand what each of us as individuals are trying to do in life. We are trying to survive and to help others to survive better. We are connected as families, towns, countries, races and ultimately as the human race. What affects one of us affects the rest of us whether we know it or admit it or not.
When you look at luck, you cannot just look at luck for yourself but luck as it affects everyone involved in any given situation.
A thief who finds someone’s door unlocked may feel lucky, but the loss of property for the one being robbed and the subsequent self degradation of the thief makes us realize that his discovery of the open door was in fact, extremely unlucky.
When one commits harmful or criminal acts, he also creates his own bad luck. Call it Karma or give it another name. It doesn’t really matter, it is a fact of this universe.Advertising
This brings me to my first point that must be observed when making your own luck
1. Observe the Golden Rule.
You remember this one: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”
In a nutshell, don’t do anything to someone else that you would not want someone else to do to you. This is a simple and effective rule of thumb in life. It is easy to remember and it is the first step on the road to luck.
The bottom line is that you allow yourself luck or deny yourself luck. If you have degraded yourself by being a person who is unworthy of trust, you wil not allow yourself luck. Take this one step in life and see how that affects your luck factor.
2. Be the Rising Tide.
This takes step 1 a bit farther.
Whenever I undertake an action that not only benefits me, but benefits others as well, I pull in TONS of luck! There is a saying that I live by and it is :”A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”.
And this is true. As a species, we inherently try to help each other. We realize that there is an interdependence, one upon another, that must be cherished and nurtured for us to be successful. Being the Rising Tide provides nourishment to our native spiritual desires.
3. Really decide what you want to do.
Nothing can get you to your goal if you have not clearly outlined that goal and made the decision that you are going to reach it NO MATTER WHAT. That “No Matter What” part is the most important thing. If you have that mindset, you will succeed.
Anyone can make a vague decision about something, but if you change course every time something throws you off, you will never be “lucky” enough to get what you want. Those who get what they want, never stop going after it.
4. Purge negative people from your life.
Speaking of being thrown off, nothing throws you off more than other peoples’ negativity. No matter what worthy goal you choose for yourself, there is guaranteed to be someone who disapproves, doesn’t like it, and thinks you should do something else or better yet, do nothing at all.
You cannot and should not have as a goal, “to make everyone happy”. There are people who use their unhappiness to manipulate others. Those who feel that they must make everyone happy are slaves to such people.Advertising
People who make their own luck have decided to be masters of their own souls. Ignore negative comments, better yet, severely limit your contact with such people. They are too much work to deal with and you have better things to do with your time than try to reason with nasty, negative, naysayers.
5. Outline the steps to take to achieve your goal.
Every goal you can ever think of has a series of exact steps that will get you there. The tricky part is finding out what these steps are. How do you know what are necessary steps, what are desirable steps, and what are time wasters?
Here is a tip: Find someone who is successful at what you want to do and find out what he/she did to get there. Then create your own set of steps that mirror theirs.
If you are doing something totally new, find someone who has done something close to what you want to do. Hang out with those who have successfully achieved their goals and learn from them.
6. Don’t shy away from education.
Every goal you make comes with some training requirement. Luck comes from being prepared when opportunity knocks. Hanging out with successful people in your field will give you an idea of what you need to study.
If you purchase a how-to course, buy it from someone who is wildly successful in doing what they are going to be teaching you and not from someone who is simply good at marketing a course.
7. Make the Devil look like a slacker
You have heard that phrase, “Work like the Devil”. Don’t work like the Devil! Work harder! Work Smarter! Get more done in a day than anyone you know and make your actions count!
I love those talent shows on TV. They try to make you think that these humble people one day woke up and decided to sing opera. They stumble into the auditorium, try out for this competition and blow everyone away.
This is not how it works. Talent is not a God given gift, it is a hard won skill. Talent is nothing more than the burning desire to do something until it is perfect and to never give up.
While it is true that some of the most amazing artists and businessmen believe that they are nothing special, they have developed a work ethic that makes the Devil look like a gold bricking, good-for-nothing, goof-off.
It is work to achieve a goal. Lots and lots of work.Advertising
8. Do what you love.
How can you force yourself to work if you hate your job? You cannot do it for any sustained period. You may be able to force interest for awhile but ultimately you will quit in disgust.
On the other hand, if you are doing something that you love, something that you would do whether or not you were paid for it, you will succeed.
Lucky people who manage to work hard are generally doing something that they feel is worthwhile. They have a burning desire and nothing can stop them.
what you love and find out how to turn it into a career.
9. Stop the negative thoughts.
We all have them. We pour our hearts and souls into an activity and then some set back occurs. We stop for a moment and start to think that we should have listened to Uncle Joe when he told us we were completely insane to have started out on this ridiculous path.
Well, Uncle Joe is still full of it. Just because you had a set back does not mean he was right, ever!
Everyone has set backs. When those negative, naggy thoughts pop up, tell them to take a hike and figure out how to correct the set back. Then move forward again on your path.
10. Create positive thoughts.
Positive thoughts do not just happen. They need to be created and created often and with great clarity.
Let’s use the example of a new car. If you want a new car you usually can picture that car in your mind. It has to be a certain make and model, a certain color and have all the features you want. You even know what it will smell like.You have a very clear picture of exactly what you are looking for.
Create a positive a picture of your goal and the steps it takes to get you there.
Vagueness breeds confusion via uncertainty. Get certain about what you want and how you are going to get it.Advertising
11. Repeat after me “I get EVERYTHING I want!”
Repeat this often and believe it. I have taken this on as my mantra and it works! There is no reason you shouldn’t get everything you want.
12. Stop believing that there is something wrong or evil about having everything.
Life is a game and the things in life that make us happy are the rewards of playing well. I have no clue why some people think and say that people who are successful are evil, greedy thieves who have made their riches off the backs of someone else. Aside from some politicians, I don’t know anyone who is successful that hasn’t worked his or her butt off to get there.
If you get educated, work for the good of mankind, and work hard, you deserve everything in life.
Also know that you having everything does not stop anyone else from having everything. Life is not a zero sum game. Everything in it has to be created but there is no limit to the amount of creation. And you deserve the fruits of your creations.
13. Focus on what is important in life.
I think many of us have reached a point in our culture and education, where we see that money is not the ultimate reward of the game of life. Money is simply a symbol for the amount of work someone has done. Each dollar bill stands for a certain amount of work of some kind. That is all it is.
Money is not love, family, community, help or any of the things that make life worth while. If you think that it is, take a dollar bill out of your pocket and let it make you happy. I guess you could make a paper airplane out of it but after that, the bill is pretty much a spent force as far as entertainment and quality of life are concerned.
Now go find a friend or loved family member, or your dog. Which one makes you happier?
14. Count your blessings
And when I say “blessings” I mean the rewards in life that you have made come true. Sometimes we focus so much on the future goal that we forget what we have accomplished.
Every so often, go back and look at all you have done for yourself, your family, your community and mankind. You will be surprised how much you have gotten done.
15. Give yourself the love that you would reserve for the person you most love in your life.
Then crank it up a notch. Love is what makes your life worthwhile. Your idea of your own self worth is what makes you lucky. The amount of love you have for yourself is the amount of love you can give others. Our love for each other is what drives us in life. Look in the mirror and find some things to like about yourself. Do this A LOT!
Then start finding things you like about others as a daily exercise. Your luck will improve.
Last Updated on October 22, 2020
8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener
How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.
Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.
When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.
Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.
What Makes People Poor Listeners?
Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.
1. You Want to Talk to Yourself
Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.
Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.
It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.
2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said
This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.
Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.
3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”
It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.
I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.
If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!
4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge
While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?
To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.
My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.
Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.
Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.
How To Be a Better Listener
For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?
1. Pay Attention
A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.
According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”
As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.
I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.
2. Use Positive Body Language
You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?
A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.
People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.
But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.
According to Alan Gurney,
“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.
Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”
3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker
I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.
Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.
Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.
Be polite and wait your turn!
4. Ask Questions
Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.
5. Just Listen
This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.
I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.
I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.
6. Remember and Follow Up
Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.
For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!
According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”
It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.
7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential
If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.
Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.
Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”
Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.
NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:
- If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
- If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.
8. Maintain Eye Contact
When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.
Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.
By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.
Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.
You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.
And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!
More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener
Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com
|||^||Skills You Need: Active Listening|
|||^||Filtered: Body language for active listening|
|||^||Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions|
|||^||TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality|