Some people hold the belief that things ‘happen for a reason’, or ‘the universe works in mysterious ways.’ While there are certainly circumstances and points in our life where this could apply, the problem behind this frame of thinking on a daily basis is really about control and our perception of it.
However, putting things down to ‘luck’ or ‘chance’ sends a message that we are not in control of our own lives whatsoever. It sends the message that regardless of what we do, the universe will tilt and adjust to miraculously meet our needs or give us what we are searching for at that exact time. Or not. Or later on, if the universe feels that is better, of course.
Don't get me wrong - I don't believe that we can control every aspect of our lives. And I don't intend to start a philosophical/ neuroscientific discussion about whether or not there is such a thing as free will (I'll leave that to Sam Harris to discuss).
But I believe that we can have a fair say in our own fortune, influence it, and choose how we respond to our external circumstances. Cue: Self-Leadership (of course!)
Things you commonly hear people say about luck include:
“So lucky to be chosen for X, Y or Z”
Your colleague gets a promotion. Your friend gets picked for an exclusive committee. There are opportunities all around. Self-leadership helps with knowing your strengths and honing your goals to make them realistic and achievable.
Does it matter your friend got picked for the committee? Is it something you want for yourself (self-knowledge)? Or are you just admiring her skills and the fact she made it seem ‘easy’?
Knowing your own values and strengths and having a clear vision helps to re-focus your energy on your own ‘luck’ creation, and what that would look like in your life. i.e. “I would feel so lucky if…”
Increase your own luck by
Really knowing yourself
Having a clear vision for your goals (short and long-term).
“Right place, right time”
So often people claim to have been in the right place, or met someone at the right time. It can seem coincidental…eerie. But with self-leadership these events or opportunities can come around much more often, and are driven by active choices made.
For example, because you are aware of your strengths and choose to actively pursue your goals, you may join clubs or networks that put you in front of more people in your sphere of influence – which means you have increased opportunity for that ‘right place, right time’ moment.
Mobilising your social capital (part of goal-setting) is also part of self-leadership. So often we think something has just ‘magically’ occurred, however later find out that it was because of seeds planted earlier (like joining a special interest group or volunteering for an organisation) that connections were fostered that help those seeds now blossom.
Increase your own luck by:
Letting your support network know what is important to you
Telling them what you want to achieve
Taking one tiny step in the direction of increasing your participation in a network of people who have similar aspirations as yourself.
“That happened overnight for him/her/them - they are so lucky!”
As Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos has famously said, “It took 10 years for Amazon to be an overnight success.” Persistence, grit, determination – all qualities necessary for success, are things we can teach ourselves. We too can become ‘overnight successes’, with luck or not. The way in which we harness our capacity for self-regulation (self-awareness of our thoughts, habits, behaviours and our ability to influence and control these) has a direct link on how effective we are at achieving our goals.
Speak to any person who you view as ‘successful’ and it is likely this has not happened without long nights, early mornings, constant set-backs and continuing to show up to work towards their goals.
Increase your own luck by:
Cultivating a growth mindset
Leaning into learning rather than ‘succeeding’ or ‘failing'
Continueing to show up for yourself to double down on your ‘luck.’
“It’s because of my lucky charm”
We all have habits, superstitions and beliefs that support us. It might be the cup of tea at night that is a ritual, or touching your lucky charm/ token before a big moment or event. These habits and routines (part of self-regulation) can be immensely beneficial due to the grounding nature and mindfulness involved, as it can bring us back to our ‘why’.
However, it is equally important to recognise when success does happen, that it was YOU that harnessed that ‘luck’. Placing the benefit of all good occurrences in the world at large and neglecting to recognise the role we play in our own good fortune devalues and dismisses our skills, abilities, and control in our lives. This makes those eventual successes less satisfying and detracts from our perspective that we can, indeed, achieve the goals we want simply because we choose to be active participants in our own lives.
Increase your own luck by:
Developing your own ritual, habit or mantra to help you stay on track towards your goals
Celebrating loudly and thanking yourself - not your lucky charm - when your success does happen.
Want to rub shoulders with other ‘lucky’ people? Come and join our socials – we’d love to have you. Don’t forget to sign up to our weekly newsletter and get free access to our most recent free self-leadership resource.
Most importantly, learn how to cultivate your own ‘luck’ in more depth, with evidence-based knowledge, support and a wonderful community online by joining our next FRESH START group – due to open in January 2022 - and create a life you love.
And, next time, instead of wishing your friend the magical conspiracy of the universe by saying ‘good luck to you’ maybe prompt them with ‘go luck yourself’!