... You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?
-- Harry Callahan in "Dirty Harry"
What is good luck anyway? Can we just "luck into" success? Sometimes, from a distance, it may appear that way. Let's take a closer look.
Some people observe luck as simply being in the right place at the right time. Even others consider it a result of the planets being in perfect alignment or divine destiny unraveling part of its intricate plan for each of us. Still, others feel there's really no such thing as luck; rather, that good fortune is merely a byproduct of one's hard work and determination.
Let me acknowledge that I feel that being at the right place at the right time is important. It can be better than being the smartest person around. However, I must add that most people appear at the right place at the right time not by luck but by design. They get what appears to be the big break, but in reality, they worked hard planning and following their hearts to get to where the big breaks come.
The most accurate definition of "luck" that I know is: Luck is that moment in time when skill, preparation and intuition meet opportunity.
When we are prepared, things go our way more often. When we are not, things can fall apart. The key to having more good luck is hard work, preparation and self-awareness so that we can recognize and be ready when luck crosses our path.
I have no doubt that some people have been successful through what seems to be sheer good luck. This often happens when one person meets another who provides him with an opportunity. If you play tennis with a girl, then marry her, then join her father in a booming business, which probably counts as some sort of luck. So, luck may present the first opportunity for success, but then characteristics such as perception, vision, determination, dealing with people, etc. turn that first opportunity into success.
It is important to note that our beliefs about luck can really shape our chances for success. For example, if we take a passive view on luck, success may happen to fall our way. But, if we take a positive view on luck, we can increase our ability to deal with negative situations, as well as take advantage of opportunities as they occur.
THE PASSIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD LUCK:
For some people, it is a comforting thought that success may be due to luck. It means that they do not have to do anything more than just carry on and hope that luck - like winning a lottery ticket -- might make them successful. They may also feel there is no point in striving because without luck nothing will happen. It can be satisfying to feel that you are just as talented and just as worthwhile as the successful person, but just not quite as lucky.
THE POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD LUCK:
The positive attitude toward luck is when you put yourself in a position to recognize and take advantage of luck when it comes and then carry it to success. It means that you are not only ready to spot these opportunities, but that you may intentionally generate such opportunities. This attitude acknowledges luck as a possible ingredient in some cases of success and then places the emphasis on the other ingredients, such as knowledge, persistence, strategy, and style. It's less about what happens to you and more about what you make of each opportunity.
Here are some qualities, skills and strategies that can help you feel luckier:
* Drive and focus can help you work through tough situations.
* Building a great network gives you more support to help you thrive in more situations.
* Modeling the success of others can help you avoid wrong paths and painful mistakes.
* Skills like anticipation and being able to read a situation can help you avoid bad scenarios or leverage them more effectively.
* Building success by following a step-by-step plan can prepare you for that "lucky" opportunity.
Most successful people come to realize over time that the harder they work, the luckier they get. They view "good luck" as the direct result of consistent, organized, enthusiastic preparation and effort.
No matter how you view luck as an element of success, it's up to you to seize that moment, to control your future, no one else can do it for you. So ... do you feel lucky? Well, do you?
Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from Northern Utah. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.