pen rainbow

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday—A New Week of Luck

Snowie, our good luck charm

Luck has been described as a set of events or circumstances (good or bad) that happen beyond one's control.  

Like the 57-year old guy in Missouri who (in 2010) hit the lottery twice in three months.  He won a million dollars in June, then another cool $2 million in September.  I'd say that was pretty lucky, even if it were a matter of probabilities—the number of lottery tickets, the number of tickets purchased, and the number of draws.  Still, I'd call winning $3M in 3 months lucky.   

The appearance of white animals seems to be a sign of good luck in a number of different cultures.  But, it's not a matter of luck as much as it is simple genetics.  White elephants, white buffalo, doves, white kitty cats who raise one paw up in the air...all signs of good luck.

As it turns out, some people really are luckier than others because of a very specific set of personality traits.  Last week, I put together a happiness list for real people with real imperfect lives, and because today is St. Patrick's Day, I'm putting together a How To Be Lucky list.

How To Be Lucky

1.  Cognitive & behavioral flexibility
Serendipity tends to happen to people who have a more relaxed and flexible approach to life.  The more relaxed you are, the more open you are to possibilities.  People who are open to lots of possibilities tend to also be risk takers, and risk takers are more inclined to explore new opportunities.  A willingness to experience new situations increases the chances that something good may come of it. 

2.  Friends
Lucky people tend to have more friends and acquaintences.  The more social connections a person has, the more opportunities there are to be in the right place at the right time.

3.  Confidence
Confidence and a sense of competence makes a person more likely to take advantage of happenstance.  A confident person is more likely to frame situations as successful experiences.  They are more likely to engage in new activities, meet new people, and take on new challenges.

4.  Low on Neuroticism
Lucky people spend less time on negative emotions like anxiety, anger, guilt, and depression.  People who perceive themselves as lucky generally have a happier outlook on life.  They don't spend a lot of time worrying about all of the ways that something can't work.  And, they brush off disappointment and move on to the next opportunity pretty quickly.  

5.  Take it Easy
There is such a thing as trying too hard.  Lucky people know when to ease up and take a break.  Good luck often happens when people change their normal routines and notice things that they would have missed if they hadn't changed their plans.  A chance encounter often leads to a fortuitous outcome.

6.  Be resilient!
Lucky people tend to bounce back from failure.  They pick themselves up and move onto the next adventure.  I know that this one sounds easier said than done, but resiliency is a key factor in setting and pursuing goals.  Lucky people take defeat with grace and a sense of optimism toward the future.

Have a lucky week, my friends!