Richard Wiseman's experiment and book "The Luck Factor" are discussed in February's Oprah Magazine. According to Wiseman, "Luck is not a magical ability or a gift from the gods... Instead it's a way of thinking and behaving." Only about 10% of life is random. The rest is defined by how you think. "Lucky people create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives." Being in "the right place at the right time" is actually about being in the right state of mind.
Some people seem to have all the luck - the magic touch. You know them. They float through life. Perfect job, perfect family, perfect home. When that promotion comes up, you know they'll get it. Just before they take their dream vacation to celebrate. You also know the other type. "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all." Even when opportunity starts to gather around them, you can bet they'll be some difficulty that arises to thwart success.
Recent research indicates that luck may not be as fickle as we think. To a large extent, you create your own luck, according to Colleen Seifert, PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Michigan. As Louis Pasteur phrased it, "Fortune favors the prepared mind."
How can you increase your Luck Factor?
• Take off the blinders
Opportunity is everywhere. Relax. Open yourself to alternate ways of achieving your goals. Listen to your intuition. How many times have you not followed up on that lead, asked the follow-up question, accepted that invitation, because "it wouldn't lead anywhere"? Stop negative thinking. We've all heard the stories of the modestly dressed, unassuming customer who enters the jewelry store, almost ignored by staff, making the store's record purchase. We know the truism "Ask and you shall receive." Don't forget the first part. You have to ask.
Visualization techniques are rampant for a reason. It's been claimed that preparing your mind for a certain behavior increases the chances for success by as much as 50%. Be prepared. Do your homework. As you're about to meet that special client or attend that special social or business event, go over your facts. Know your stuff. Visualize a successful encounter. Advisors coach politicians to practice debates with sample questions and rehearse speeches for a reason. Practice makes perfect. It sets the right gears in motion.
• Increase your sphere of influence
"It's not what you know, it's who you know." As you increase your network of contacts, you correspondingly increase your chances for success. Grow your business and social networks through online sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Join organizations. Attend events. Meet new people. The most successful people have the largest Rolodex. It increases the odds of having the right contact at the right moment.
• Be bold
Fortune favors the bold, according to the traditional Latin proverb. Why? It's thinking outside the box. It's moxie. It's chutzpah. It's that audacity to do the unexpected, to go one step further. It inspires others. It takes your breath away. It breeds success.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most powerful. Be positive. Be likeable. People like happy people. It's the essence of charm, of charisma. Nothing succeeds like success.
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus divined, "Man's character is his fate." Culturing your good fortune is culturing yourself. They're intertwined. Success is a self-fulfilling prophecy.