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How to Be Lucky

How to Be Lucky

How to Be Lucky

    Let me give you what might seem a strange piece of advice – be lucky. Sometimes you have good luck and sometimes you have bad luck. But do you have a choice? Can you make your own luck? Dr. Richard Wiseman has studied why some people are lucky and others are not. He advises that there are four main traits that lucky people have that help them to be ‘lucky’.

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    1. They create, notice, and act upon chance opportunities that come up.
    2. They make good decisions using their intuition as well as their logic.
    3. They have positive expectations about the future.
    4. They don’t let bad luck get them down; they find a way to turn it into good fortune.

    There are more details in his book, The Luck Factor.

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    By changing your attitudes, behaviours and actions you can change your luck. If you see obstacles as opportunities rather than difficulties then you can turn them to your advantage. If you notice unusual things and think laterally you can see novel openings. This is particularly true in the contexts of creativity and innovation.

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    • Sir Alexander Fleming noticed that a growth of mold in a petri dish resisted bacteria. He investigated this and discovered penicillin.
    • Clarence Birdseye noticed that people in Canada kept fish fresh by packing them in ice. He developed this idea and created frozen food industry.
    • Percy Spencer noticed that a chocolate bar in his pocket melted when he stood in front of a magnetron. He used this insight to help develop the microwave oven.
    • Hiram Maxim found two problems when he went shooting. There was a powerful recoil after each shot which hurt his shoulder and he then had to go to the trouble of reloading. He wondered whether he could use one problem to solve the other. He invented the Maxim machine gun which used the energy from the recoil force to eject each spent cartridge and insert the next one.

    Each of these people was doubtless called lucky by some contemporaries. But their ‘luck’ was the product of observation, insight and action.

    Many people blame bad luck for their failures – especially on ventures where they invested considerable time and effort. People with positive outlooks recognise that each obstacle is a step along the way and that there is much that can be learned from setbacks. They learn lessons from reverses and they seek out fresh opportunities. They are always optimistic and receptive to ideas. They see opportunities in situations where others give up. They make their own good luck.

    When the great golfer, Gary Player, was asked why he was so lucky he replied, ‘The harder I work, the luckier I get.’ So the lessons are clear. There is a way to be lucky. It involves a positive attitude, hard work, observation, preparedness, action and a willingness to see every setback as a learning opportunity and a step towards success.

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    More by this author

    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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