Good luck is defined as success brought about by chance rather than through one’s own actions. According to a recent Scientific American article, research suggests that our success may be influenced more by luck and opportunity than we believed in the past. Their findings suggest that where you were born, the name you were given and even the month of your birth could contribute to your ability to succeed.
Think of the success of Bill Gates. It just so happens or as luck would have it, that his mother, Mary Gates served on the board of United Way alongside John Opel, CEO of IBM. It is rumored that she spoke with the CEO about Microsoft, the fledgling software company that her son co-founded. Not too long after, when IBM as looking for an operating system to run its first personal computer, IBM met with Microsoft and the historic deal was struck that would put Microsoft on the map.
So if it’s true, that luck and opportunity play a big part in success, what are we to do, those who are not in the right place at the right time? How do we compete with those who seem to be born “lucky?” What can we do to tip the scale of success in our favor?
Think about this, for every other Bill Gates who has a mother perfectly positioned to make an introduction but doesn’t apply talent and effort, their natural born “luck” is rendered useless because they aren’t prepared with anything worthwhile to deliver. This leaves a huge opening for the rest of us to step up and take their place. How can we be ready? How can we create our own good fortune?
Here are 5 qualities you can cultivate right now to change your “luck.” The best part of all is that you will also bring down your stress levels by being proactive and increasing your mental and emotional resilience.
- Be attentive: Learn to pay attention on more than one level. Be more of an observer as well as a doer. Researchers distinguish between two types of attention, open and narrow. This will enable you to see opportunities that others miss, increasing your chances for success. Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture (open attention) as well as taking the time to focus on specifics that others gloss over (narrow attention) are worthwhile. Learn to practice both. You might discover someone in your network that could get you that valuable introduction. You might also discover a way to fine-tune an area of your work that creates a game-changing turn of events. Mindfulness exercises are an excellent way to hone your observation skills, both open and narrow attention.
- Be persistent: When you believe that you have some control over your success, you will continue trying even when circumstances don’t look so good. Many people who experience stress when in difficult situations, simply give up too soon to make a difference.
- Be positive: Each time you fail or receive less than what you had expected from your efforts, find the good in it. Even if the only good is that you have learned what NOT to do next time. Attitude matters. Perception makes all the difference. A difficult situation can be interpreted as the kick in the pants you needed to get moving in the right direction.
- Be different: Apple’s famous “Think different” campaign slogan in the late 1990’s celebrated those who saw things differently as the hallmark of genius. Successful people are the ones who are unpredictable, who break the status quo, who find the road less traveled. Their “luck” and opportunity is increased by doing what no one else is.
- Be grateful: In a research study on gratitude in which participants were asked to note things that made them feel grateful over a 10-week period, the changes were dramatic. Physically they felt better, had improved sleep quality, were happier, more outgoing, compassionate and alert. When you are swimming upstream, against the tide of all the lucky ones you envision have it easier based on their fortunate circumstances, a good dose of gratitude can keep your energy and enthusiasm levels high.
Attentive. Persistent. Positive. Different. Grateful. How can you start cultivating more of these qualities right now? How would your “luck” change if you did?
Wishing you the best of “luck”!
Jo-Aynne von Born-Executive Coach, Work/Life Strategist, Workshop Facilitator
I will be starting a weekly group coaching call in April on Creating More Success with Less Stress. Limited to 6 participants. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.