In Richard Wiseman’s book The Luck Factor, he identifies four factors that make some people luckier than others. You know the kind—people who seem to have luck following them everywhere. Things just always seem to go their way. They are the ones who always win things at the school auctions, who always get the best parking spots.
Of course, there are those on the other end of the spectrum, too. For them, it’s like a black cloud of misfortune follows them everywhere they go. And then there are the rest of us, who fall somewhere in between. I have certainly lived on both sides of luck, and I stumbled upon how to improve my luck when I began daring myself to try doing things the opposite way. When I found Wiseman’s book, I was amazed how his scientific research confirmed all that I had experienced. It is so simple, and yet life changing.
In order to improve your luck and open yourself up to more opportunities, you will need to think and act like a “lucky person.” You need to step into the vortex of being that person. These are the four steps you need to take in order to live “luckier.”
- Change your perspective, and focus on the good.
- Shift your mindset to expect more good fortune.
- Listen and act on your intuitive hunches.
- Maximize your “chance opportunities.”
Wiseman found that lucky people shared a default perspective to look for the good in everything. In fact, perspective was the key differentiator between the lucky and unlucky. One example he points to is two families who suffered the same destruction to their homes after a tornado. They both lived through equally unlucky situations. But the difference in how they moved forward was driven by how they perceived the situation to begin with. The family that was able to feel gratitude for making it out alive was more likely to thrive going forward than the family that focused their attention on what they had lost and how they were victims.
Our perspective is the one thing we can control, and it carries the most weight in how we move ourselves forward—or the luck we create next. Let’s take this a step further. The next key distinction after being able to see the good is to expect it. Those who are luckier have a predisposition to expect the best possible outcome and not worry about the worst-case scenario. This is a mind shift for many of us planners who go through life being “cautiously optimistic.” This shift alone will start to position you into a new way of being and receiving. Usually our fear keeps us from allowing us to trust in the best-case scenario. Personally, I know I was always afraid I would jinx myself if I did that.
Try experimenting with this idea on something risk-free, like getting the perfect parking spot. Let yourself just expect the good to come out of a situation, so you can relax into the idea of things going right and not worrying about when the other shoe will drop. Now, imagine what the best outcome could be if you left your work in pursuit of what you really want …
Luckier people don’t just think differently, however, they act differently, too. Luckier people are significantly more likely to trust their intuition and follow through on their hunches. Of course, since they trust things will go their way, they are more apt to be comfortable taking risks, and taking risks will be something they do more frequently. Those who are luckier don’t see it that way, though. They see themselves as the creators of their luck, which is validated by the new and opportunistic situations they seek out.
One of the most effective ways you can start to improve your luck is to do just that. Start to do something different every day. Put yourself in a situation where you could encounter a new opportunity. This can be as simple as going to a different Starbucks for your morning coffee, perhaps even near the location of your dream job. Take a small step like this, and notice how something shifts.
After I left my 22-year corporate career in marketing and market-research consulting, I invested in myself and went to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, where I met with several spiritual teachers, healers, and coaches who all echoed the same message to me: My next phase in life was to be a healer, a counselor, or a coach. I remember laughing at this idea initially. A coach! Coaches don’t exist in Boston; that’s a Google perk, a California thing. Surely, to be taken seriously, I would need a PhD, my overachieving ego thought. The idea of a psychologist felt okay. In fact, that was what I had always wanted to be when I was a child, but fear—of lack of money, of a clear path forward—kept me from pursuing it.
Leaving Canyon Ranch, I didn’t realize the seed had been planted around coaching. But on the plane home, I decided that I would continue my new practice of being open and seeing what connections I could make. Normally, I would have sat by myself with my headphones on and my nose in a book. Instead, I started talking with a young man seated next to me. He was, of course, from California, a young millennial in high tech. He asked me what I had figured out about myself at Canyon Ranch. Trying it out, I said, “I think I might become a coach.” He replied that everyone needs a coach and handed me the book Flourish by Martin Seligman. It was about positive psychology. Taking it as a sign, I went ahead and ordered the book as soon as I got home. It sat on my bedside table for two weeks, but when I finally opened it, I knew after two pages that this was what I was meant to do with my life.
The same can happen for you. Put yourself on the actual path of what you want, and open yourself up to new possibility.
This post is excerpted from Kimberly’s book Know What You Want Next: Break Free of the “I Don’t Know” Trap and Love Your Life Again.
Kimberly Napier, CiPP graduate, is a certified life and business coach, professional speaker, and intuitive medium who helps successful, professional women create a life and business they love, with meaning and fulfillment. Kimberly found her path and calling as a life coach after a tragic wake-up call that propelled her to design a new life for herself and her daughters. Through her celebrated DAREchangeTM Process, Kimberly has helped hundreds of women cultivate the clarity and courage to live empowered lives, both personally and professionally, on their terms. In addition to her coaching practice, Kimberly leads global retreats and online courses, spearheads a Mastermind for Women Entrepreneurs, and is the co-host of the podcastManifesting Mastery. She lives outside of Boston with her husband, four children, and two golden retrievers. Find out more at kimberlynapier.com.