Do you consider yourself a lucky person?
Do doors seem to open and opportunities knock on a regular basis? Or do you consider yourself more of a magnet for parking tickets and disasters? Whether you could use some more luck or think all your good fortune was just pure coincidence, you might be pleased to learn that your actions play a big role in attracting luck.
That’s right. You can make your own luck.
Some people think that being lucky is all about being at the right place at the right time. Sure, good luck has a lot to do with chance, but it also has to do with preparing yourself for these lucky breaks and opening yourself up to new opportunities and experiences.
We can’t predict the future or control every single aspect of our lives, but we can manage our lives in a way that can help us attract more luck. Here are seven ways we can make our own luck.
1. Be prepared
As Louis Pasteur said, “Luck favors the prepared.” If you want to attract more opportunities, you’ll need to maximize your chances of attracting them. One way to do this is to prepare yourself for the opportunities you want. That means putting in the work or honing your craft, so that by the time opportunity knocks, you’ll be more than ready to answer.
Comedian Michelle Wolf held a day job in finance while also performing stand up and writing jokes on Twitter. A writer on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” noticed Wolf’s Twitter account and asked her to submit a writing sample. Wolf was then hired as a writer.
By the time she was discovered on Twitter, Wolf was already consistently going to open mics, writing jokes, and developing her craft. Through hard work and preparation, she was able to set herself up for opportunities.
So how can we prepare and position ourselves for good luck?
If you’re a writer looking for an agent: write everyday and work on your craft. Take workshops, online class, and befriend your classmates. Write new material even if you don’t have a deadline.
If you’re a small business looking for press: update your website. Get professional photos taken. Work on your marketing copy and update your social media presence. Have all your ducks in a row so that when a potential media opportunity does arise, you’ll be well prepared.
If you’re stuck in an unfulfilling job and looking to transition careers: update your resume and LinkedIn. See if there are any skills that you can develop and take classes. Send your resume to three people you trust and ask for their feedback. By the time you see a posting for a job you really want, you’ll be ready to apply and impress.
2. Take action
TV writer Andy Breckman was working at a video store when he caught his lucky break and was asked to submit a writing packet to the “Late Show With David Letterman.” The only problem was he was given one day to write it. Breckman ended up spending all night working on his packet and submitted it. He was hired.
While not all of us might get the kind of major breaks that are clear keys to our dream jobs, we are presented with opportunities every day. The difference between lucky people and unlucky people is that unlucky people don’t seem to act on these opportunities, while lucky people answer the call.
Is your company holding a panel on a topic that you’re interested in? Go. You’ll never what you’ll learn or who you’ll meet.
Does your manager need you to cover a meeting or perform a task that’s above your level? Do it. Not only will you develop more skills, but you’ll show your company that you’re capable of doing more, which will potentially lead to greater opportunities.You’ll meet the people who make things happen. You’ll be better positioned when they are looking for someone to give a chance to.
Did your neighbor invite you over for a barbecue? Say yes. Not only are you opening yourself up to potentially having a good time, you’re also meeting people outside of your social circle who could connect you to something life changing.
Does your friend have an extra ticket to a concert? Go with them. You’ll never know who you’ll bump into or how the music itself will inspire you and your work.
Did an editor of a publication just tweet that they’re looking for new writers? Direct message them and send them your clips. The worst that will happen is you’ll hear nothing back, or you’ll get a no with valuable feedback to help you improve.
Lucky people notice opportunities and are willing to act on them. When Breckman found out he only had one day to write his packet, he could have easily given up and thrown in the towel. Instead, he acted on it and took a chance that paid off in a big way.
3. Create your own opportunities, create your own luck
If you feel stuck in your life or career, it’s easy to feel like there isn’t a single opportunity out there. This can be especially true if you’ve just relocated to a new city or if you’ve been living in the same place and have dried up all your resources.
If you feel like you haven’t been attracting opportunities, it’s time to create your own.
You’re an aspiring musician with no connections: host an open mic at a coffee shop or bar. You won’t have to worry about needing connections because you’re adding value outside of yourself and your own network. More importantly, you’ll also help create opportunities for other people, which reflects positively back on you.
You’re looking to start a side gig but have no potential customers: if you’re financially able, see if you can start offering your services for free. In return, you can ask your customers to write testimonials for you or refer you to other paying clients.
You’re applying to jobs without success: try to build relationships with the company where you’re seeking work. Ask for an informational interview with HR. See if there’s anyone you have a connection with on LinkedIn. Organize a mixer with people in that industry and chat up people with connections to the company.
Sometimes, when opportunity doesn’t knock, you have to create your own doors.
4. Be prepared—mentally
Lucky people not only prepare by putting in the work and honing their craft, they also prepare themselves mentally.
Professional athletes use visualization techniques to imagine themselves performing well during a game. Marathon runners will visualize the entire course from start to finish and imagine themselves running at their optimal state. Musicians and actors use visualization techniques during rehearsals and imagine that they’re performing in front of a live audience, so they’re not shaken by the real deal.
Visualization is similar to a concept that psychologists refer to as predictive encoding, which is preparing your mind for particular situations and behaviors, so that when you find yourself in that particular situation, you’ll be ready to successfully perform.
So the next time you’re feeling unlucky, try setting aside some time to meditate and visualize the outcomes that you’re seeking.
Another powerful method is to write down what an ideal situation looks like to you. You can use a journal or notepad and start freewriting what your ideal day or meeting would look like. Capture all the details and sensations down on paper, so that when the real situation arises, you’ll know what it feels like to succeed.
5. Break up your routine
Lucky people try new things and meet new people. It’s hard to find new opportunities if you’re stuck in a routine and hanging out with the same groups of people.
Here are some ways to introduce some novelty into your life:
- Read a book or magazine that you wouldn’t normally pick up
- Take a class in an unfamiliar subject
- Sign up for a class you’ve been meaning to take but haven’t pulled the trigger on
- Eat lunch with a co-worker you don’t know very well
- Take a different route to work
- Strike up conversations with people in the elevator
- Connect with people outside of your circle on social media
- Learn a new language
- Go to a different coffee shop to work
A change in your routine can usher in new experiences, which in turn can connect you to new people and opportunities. Even something as simple as switching up your commute can be life-changing. For example, I once took a subway that I don’t normally take and ran into an acquaintance who ended up booking me for a dream gig. This all happened because I got on a different train!
6. Trust your gut
Another trait that lucky people possess is their willingness to trust their instincts.
One way to hone your instincts is through trial and error. By trying new things and making mistakes, you’ll know how to act and respond the next time around, and you’ll get a sense for which opportunities are worth your time.
According to this article: “Intuition is very real and something that is never wise to ignore, because it comes from deep within your subconscious and is derived from your previous experiences in similar situations. If your mind is telling you "yes" but your gut is telling you otherwise, it's usually for a good reason.”
7. Pay attention
You can also make your own luck through the simple act of paying attention. It’s so easy to get sucked into our digital worlds these days, but if you look up once in a while, you might notice a new business that’s looking to hire people. Or you might run into an old friend who will become pivotal in your future. Or you might notice the beauty of nature and the kindness of strangers, which will help reaffirm your motivation to keep going.
If you’re feeling inspired, you can write a list of all the new activities you want to try and all the opportunities you’ve been noticing on our new lucky notepads. These beautiful designs will make your writing feel that much more special, which in turn, will make you poised for attracting a little more luck and magic into your life.