Every week I will receive a few messages on social media or via email addressed to me like this: “Dear Lucky.”
This used to annoy me, but not anymore. For I have decided that I am… really lucky.
Luck is something we seek. It is often seen as a chance event or a serendipitous accident of birth. What if there is more to luck than catches the eye? What if we can work our luck or increase our exposure to serendipity?
Luck is a Process
Successful people seem to get lucky, to have gotten lucky, and to be moving from one opportunity to the next.
This is annoying, and most of all to those concerned because such an account masks the hours of hard work or continuous deliberate practice – popularized as the ‘10,000-hour’ rule described in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book Outliers.
The case against luck is that what is portrayed as “luck” is actually the culmination of a long underlying process of hard work and practice that finally bears fruit through the inevitability of increased competence and visibility.
When luck is the result of hard work, the word obscures rather than elucidates the actual process. Seen from this angle, hard work, continuous practice, competence and consistency are key. There is simply more to life than luck, because opportunities without ways of responding to those opportunities are useless.
“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.”Serena Williams
Luck is a Calculation
Although hard work and an underlying process undoubtedly are very important, there are several ways of increasing or decreasing your luck.
Seen from this angle, luck is about exposure and probability.
There are ways of increasing one’s luck or decreasing it. If you go out working each day, the chances of meeting new people and hearing of new opportunities are greater than if you spend your day on the couch watching soap operas.
You can expose yourself to both good luck (potential gains) and bad luck (potential losses), and some activities give you higher potential gains or losses than other activities. For example, some entrepreneurs may gain little, but with a “lucky break” they could multiply their income in ways that wage employees cannot.
Income generation that is time-dependent – based on hours in the day and in the workweek, such as salaries or freelancing – has much less potential for multiplication than income streams that do not depend on time. By building a diverse network, by having an active and varied life, by investing some time besides work and home in professional and social networking, by traveling, by doing new things and meeting new people, you are exposing yourself to higher chances of good (or bad) luck.
“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.”Oprah Winfrey
Luck is a Mindset
Luck can also be a choice, a mindset.
What if you choose to be lucky today and every day? Would you attract more luck if you started looking for luck and counting your blessings? Is luck a mindset that we can tap into, a conscious choice?
Back in the day when I bought my first phone (an old Nokia phone in the nineties) I used to get a daily text message with my horoscope.
Usually it was not a very positive, upbeat message but would contain sentences like, “you will have a conflict with a close family member; you will go through a difficult period at work”, etc. After two weeks of this misery, I had to go through great lengths to stop these horrible messages from coming.
These messages were literally affecting my days. Instead of looking for good luck, I was continuously on the lookout for bad luck. Bad luck hit me as a daily staple, but when the messages stopped my luck turned. What if we tell ourselves in the morning that today we are going to be lucky and are actively on the lookout for all the lucky breaks? Surely we would notice more of the good and get (see) those lucky breaks more often.
“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”Thomas Jefferson
So what is my recipe for good luck?
You need a pound of hard work, two cups of exposure to opportunities, and three tablespoons of a lucky mindset. Use this recipe every day and you too will start to get lucky.
Finally, are you wondering, what I do with the occasional “Dear Lucky” email or the “Hi Lucky” call? I have decided to do what I always do when luck comes knocking at my door… I open it or, in this case, I answer, “Speaking.“
About the Author
Lucy Schalkwijk is a women’s empowerment champion, a connector and a skills development enthusiast. She is passionate about connecting and empowering women in the workplace and writes about careers, networking, women’s empowerment, and leadership.
Want to join a tribe of successful women who have your back? Contact the Career Women’s Network Kigali: firstname.lastname@example.org and +250783719431.