You should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky

Image by Katharina N. from Pixabay

To paraphrase pop princess Kylie!

Does everything you do have to be meticulously planned out or do you leave something to chance or luck? We are encouraged from an early age to make grand plans “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, develop strategies and check in to make sure we’re still on track and everything is under control. But how much do we put down to sheer luck?  Can luck be harnessed or manifested?  Surely we’d all have won the lottery by now if we were that lucky.

When you consider events that have truly shaped your life, random encounters that introduce you to the love of your life, coming up with a new business venture whilst stirring your latte in the coffee shop, or bumping into an old acquaintance who ends up offering you the job of your dreams, sometimes these aren’t just passively passing luck stopping by for a visit.  According to Dr Christian Busch in Psychologies Magazine, there is an active element that prompted you to seize an opportunity that presented itself, and you did something with it.

It’s a different kind of luck at play here. Not the blind luck such as you happened to have been born into a wealthy family, but the smart luck we create for ourselves when we turn random and unexpected into something positive by our own actions.  Its about joining the dots and making the most of what you are presented with.

According to some research the greatest opportunities and improvements, good and bad, are often down to serendipity.  Good luck resulting from unplanned moments in which a proactive decision leads to a positive outcome. Suddenly the most mundane of encounters can have the potential to change your life for ever.

There are some who seem to be luckier than others, and they may have somehow developed an intuitive muscle for the unexpected.  We can underestimate how predictable the unexpected really is.  True learning and success isn’t about having a linear process and controlling the exact outcome.  Instead of having an exact plan, we need to learn to join the dots.

Successful people tend to have a combination of planned direction but with some freedom to accept the unknown. Its not about letting go of control but gaining influence over uncertainty to be able to use it to your advantage.

Accepting unexpected changes, limitations and imperfections allows you to reframe situations to see an opportunity where others may just see a problem. Busch offers five ways to cultivate serendipity into your everyday life:

  1. Set hooks – whenever you communicate with someone, case a few hooks: concrete examples of your current interests, hobbies and vocation.  This maximised the change you and the other person coincidentally latching onto common grounds and shared passions.
  2. Change the way you ask questions – imagine meeting someone new at a dinner party.  You might go into autopilot and ask what they do.  This limits the other persons response but positioning yourself for smart luck means asking more open-ended questions that open up conversations that might lead to something more intriguing.
  3. Nurture and expand your network – technology fosters serendipitous networking from home but setting “serendipity bombs”.  Write honest, speculate message to people you admire to share you they have already shaped your trajectory, and open up a dialogue about how they can be part of your future journey.  Follow people your respect and make a point of providing thoughtful, relevant commentary on what they have posted.
  4. Reflect on incidences when serendipity could have happened but didn’t – perhaps you bumped into someone but didn’t start a conversation with them.  Perhaps you had an idea in a meeting but didn’t share it.  Identify what held you back and tackle it.
  5. Write down three thing you would do if you had no constraints and you couldn’t fail – write down the reasons why you think you cannot reframe the situation.  Then the reasons why or how you can. Then act on them and make it happen.

Serendipity can be a profound source of moments that make life meaningful and turn unexpected potential threats into a source of opportunity.  Every chance encounter is an opportunity to find love, make new friends, forge a new interest, get that career started.

Go out and grab it by the horns.


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