17 Ways to Be Luckier in Business and in Life …

Do you know somebody who is just flat out “lucky” in everything they do in life?

They seem to get all the breaks.

They have great relationships … more money than they'll ever need … merrily going from one great opportunity to the next …

And even when they do stumble, they always seem to land on their feet.

On the other hand, there are those who seem to attract bad luck.

They never seem to be able to catch a break. They go from bad relationship to bad relationship. They live from paycheck to paycheck. And they always seem to be putting out fires.

To steal a line from a famous blues song: "If it wasn't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all."

So what’s behind this?

Are some people born lucky and others not?

That was the question British psychologist Richard Wiseman set out to answer. In his book The Luck Factor, Wiseman lays out the four basic principles seemingly lucky people use to create good fortune in their lives. Wiseman says:

  • Lucky people are more likely to be in the right place at the right time. Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the good fortune in their lives, according to Wiseman. They are more likely to go out to places and meet new people. The right contact could even prove to be life changing.
  • Lucky people have a more relaxed attitude about life. Calm and easygoing people are more likely to see and take advantage of opportunities that come their way. They are more likely to open themselves up to new experiences that uptight people would shy away from.
  • Lucky people trust themselves more. They are more likely to go with their intuition. Unlucky people don't trust or act on intuitions as much.
  • Lucky people expect the best out of life. As Dale Carnegie once said, "Expect the best and get it." What we think of ourselves and how optimistic we are about the future play a key role in how lucky we are. Lucky people expect to win and feel they deserve good things in life. Unlucky people feel they are at the mercy of events and they don't deserve a lot of good fortune.

Makes sense, right?

As Wiseman's research tells us, you can control how much so-called luck you have in life.

So I've put together a list of 17 things you can do to make your own luck for living a successful writer’s life:

  1. Put yourself in more and better positions to meet people. Networking and the number of contacts you have matter. Join online groups and discussions. Meet new people in your area through Meetup.com. If you're targeting the local area, join your local chamber of commerce. Go to events. Many copywriting careers are kick-started by attending AWAI's annual Bootcamp. As Woody Allen once said, "80% of success in life is showing up."
  2. Introduce yourself first. Take the initiative and be the one who introduces yourself when you meet a new person. If you wait, it might never happen and you'll miss out on your opportunity to meet someone new.
  3. Try new and different things. Do you do many of the same things every day? Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every morning … take the same route to work each day … have lunch at the same cafe every day? Don't be a creature of habit. Change things up a bit. Try new things. Put yourself in new circumstances and situations.
  4. Expand your comfort zone. In order for more luck to enter your life, you'll need to go beyond what's easy and without risk. Take some chances. Confront your fears. If you feel like you're spending too much time in your comfort zone, please read this article I wrote called “14 Tips on How to Achieve More by Living Outside of Your Comfort Zone.
  5. Expand your mingling circle. Wiseman talks about a technique one of his study participants uses to meet new people. Instead of talking to the people he is comfortable with at a party, he thinks of a color and then he makes a point to talk to everyone at the party who is wearing that particular color.
  6. Never give up early. Always persevere. Motivational expert Napoleon Hill once said, "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." Lucky people tend to stick things out for the long haul. They see the job through to the end, no matter what obstacles get in their way.
  7. Always look on the bright side. Imagine being in a bank. An armed robber enters and fires a shot that hits you in the arm. How would you react? This was a scenario Wiseman put to his study participants. The lucky people commented how things could have been worse and they “could have been shot in the head." The unlucky people thought how unlucky they were to have been in the bank on that particular day. How would you respond to Wiseman's scenario?
  8. Don't worry; be happy. Don’t let negativity creep into your mind. Focus on the positive. Chronic worrying can cause restless nights, which means less energy and a lack of performance at work. If you feel you worry too much, check out an article I wrote called "Are you a worrier?"
  9. "Turn it into something good." Best-selling author Joe Vitale relates a "turn it into something good" story about legendary showman P.T. Barnum. Barnum wanted to buy a rival's elephant. So he sent his competition a telegram detailing his offer. His competitors took Barnum's telegram and ran it as an ad saying, "Here's what Barnum thinks of our elephant."

    Instead of being upset, Barnum decided to turn it into something good. He joined up with his competitors and the Barnum & Bailey Circus partnership was born.

  10. Reject superstitions. To quote singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder: "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way." Don't rely on superstitions of any kind to improve your luck. Wiseman says when you do, you take the focus off other activities that could lead you to having more luck in life. An example he uses is a woman who blamed her multiple car accidents on the car she was driving instead of the fact that she was a bad driver. By blaming her lack of luck on the car, she missed an opportunity to improve her luck by learning how to drive better.

    (Note: This is not to say you can't have a lucky charm. Anything that makes you feel lucky is a good thing.)

  11. Count your blessings. In his book Over the Top, Zig Ziglar talks about an encounter he had at a Phoenix airport. Ziglar noticed that people were taking out their frustration for the bad weather and the fact their flight was delayed on the gate agent. The agent was not a happy camper. Ziglar greeted him with his usual "Good morning. How ya doin'?"

    The gate agent responded, "Compared to who?"

    Ziglar smilingly responded, "Compared to the individual who doesn't have a job, who doesn't have nice, warm clothes to wear or a comfortable building to work in, compared to those people who have no future they can call their own. And especially compared to those people who live in lands where there's no freedom of speech, travel, or worship. How ya doin'?"

    The agent replied that he was doing much better and thanked Ziglar for the reminder. The agent's attitude improved immediately, which made things better for not only the agent, but also for all the other passengers who were waiting in line.

  12. Make peace with the past. Ever think back on some past decision you've made and shuddered? I have. Not only is it a waste of time, it can pretty quickly change your mood. You can't change your past. Focus on the future, and you'll get where you want to be in life a lot faster.
  13. Know what you want. Create goals and objectives for your life. Being focused on what you want in life will make you more aware of opportunities.
  14. Let others know what you want. People can only send opportunities your way if they know specifically what you want to achieve. If you're a freelance writer, make sure friends and family know exactly what it is you do and the type of clients that can help you be successful.
  15. Work harder. Hard work produces more opportunities. When you have more opportunities to choose from, your luck tends to improve.

    Thomas Jefferson said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."

  16. Be open to new opportunities from unexpected sources. Sir Alexander Fleming noticed that mold on one of his Petri dishes resisted bacteria. He looked into it further and discovered penicillin.

    Percy Spencer noticed that a chocolate bar in his pocket melted when he stood in front of a magnetron. He invented the microwave oven.

    Clarence Birdseye created the frozen food industry when he noticed that people in Canada kept their fish fresh by packing them in ice.

    Pay attention to things happening around you—mistakes and all—and be open to the possibility that an opportunity is brewing.

    As a writer, always be on the lookout for new income opportunities. The person you're chatting with at the next social gathering you attend may not be in a position to hire you, but they might be able to provide you with an introduction to someone who is.

  17. Always assume the best. Believe you're going to come out on top in everything you do, and your odds of “winning” will improve substantially. Optimism brings success.

As Wiseman points out, there are things you can do and ways to approach life that can have a direct impact on how much "luck" you have in life.

Incorporate his four basic luck principles into your life – use all or some of my 17 tips – and you'll not only find your luck improves, but your whole attitude towards life will be enhanced.

And having a great attitude can't help but make you a more successful writer and a more successful person in general.

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Published: August 19, 2011

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