Photo by Nickolas Sushkevich
Have you ever wondered why some people seem so lucky?
There are numerous stories of actors who were discovered by being at the right place at the right time.
Then there are stories of those who were able to take a small loan or investment and turn it into an empire. Such stories are part of popular culture and give us hope. Yet at the same time, not many people seem to believe that they too can have good luck.
The notion of luck is something which has been part of human consciousness for a long time. I don’t know about you but I used to think that luck was handed out by some mystical being who just wielded their magic wand whenever they pleased. The way I saw it, lady luck was very fickle and very selective.
That all changed when I met the man who would become my husband. One day, we started to talk about luck and he simply told me that there was no such thing. To be candid, I thought he had lost his mind. However, despite my initial disbelief, I asked him to explain why he felt the way that he did.
He went on to tell me that people create their own destiny and that there is no need to wish people luck. He told me that events in life are not arbitrary but rather self created and realized.
What he said made sense on an instinctual level but I needed to further probe the issue. Sometimes we know things in our hearts but in order to fully grasp them, we need to experience them for ourselves. Thus began my journey to figure out luck.
Luck: Is it Destined or Created?
In my journey to understand luck, I read numerous books and articles that described the subject. Inevitably, the concept of fate and destiny came up which only seemed to confuse the issue.
Being that I am an enlightenment seeker, I do believe on some level in the concepts of fate and destiny. Yet I also believe that we have the power to overcome any situation. Nothing in life is set in stone (except for the fact that we will all pass away at some point). Free will is real and does exist. It is also a tool that we need to utilize fully. We all have the ability to rise above any situation if we want.
I have known people who were born into horrible circumstances only to rise above them and become successes in every way imaginable. In my own life, I have faced odds that seemed insurmountable but somehow I managed to overcome them. Did I consider that luck? No, I considered it a product of lots of hard work and determination.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
So was luck destined or created? Both my mind and heart started to reach the conclusion that luck was self-created…but how? I decided to talk to some people who could easily be considered lucky.
The interesting thing is that in the ten conversations that I had on the subject of luck, one common theme emerged. All the people I interviewed (a world known doctor, artist, fashion designer, game designer, monk, surfer, writer, banker, home maker and web designer) told stories of how they were doing what they loved and somehow they were presented with numerous opportunities that enabled them to make their dreams come true.
It was then that I realized that the above-mentioned quote from Seneca describes the concept of luck beautifully and accurately. In order to be “lucky” one must master being not only prepared but ready to create and take advantage of opportunities. For when the two meet, luck becomes a reality.
Whatever it is that you are passionate about in life, study every aspect of it. Knowledge is power.
If you are passionate about art, study what goes into the making of a painting or a sculpture. Know the details about previous art periods and the various techniques. Study the lives of the artists that you admire. Learn about the paints, the kinds of canvases and all the tools involved in making a masterpiece. Basically, learn every single possible thing there is to know about art.
Expertise is not something you are born with…it is something that you earn and develop. Read books and listen to lectures on your area of passion. It doesn’t matter what your passion is…just master it. If you want to be the best mother there is in the world, then read up on the subject.
2. The 10,000 Hour Rule
In this study, it was discovered that those who became successful in their given field had practiced it for a total of 10,000 hours prior to being discovered. In Gladwell’s book, he uses the example of the Beatles and how they practiced for 10,000 hours prior to becoming famous.
The point of this rule is that practice makes perfect. Or rather, practice helps turn luck from a concept into a reality.
Of course, this leads to the question: how can one person possibly practice for 10,000 hours? This is where the study factor becomes very important. Any time you are doing something that relates to your passion or whatever it is that you want to master, that time is counted towards your 10,000 hours.
Keep in mind, this does not mean that you need to document every single minute or second you spend on your passion or career or whatever. The number is not meant to set a rigid goal that needs to be met. Rather, it represents the concept of how important it is to master your subject.
Ten years ago, I realized and accepted the fact that my passion in life was to be a writer and I knew in my heart that my niche would be personal development and spiritual writing. The only problem was that I sucked as a writer and all my studies were just concepts at that time. I was not living my studies. All that I was reading were things that I admired and thought about but I was not putting them into practice.
I decided that in order to achieve my dream, I really needed to master my writing and know my subject thoroughly. So I spent the next ten years perfecting my writing and my knowledge. I worked at all kinds of jobs to support my desire for knowledge and travel. Every spare moment I had, I was reading or talking to someone who was doing what I wanted to do. I also began to apply the theories to my life and started living what I studied.
All that hard work paid off. Did I actually spend 10,000 hours? I have no clue. I still could be even better at my craft but I do know that I am much better now than I was then.
Whatever it is that you want to experience in life, visualize it. See yourself doing whatever it is that you desire or want to achieve. If you want to be a successful artist, visualize what that would look and feel like. Imagine your work on the walls of a gallery. Carry yourself as if you already are a working artist who is not lacking in funds or commissions.
Years ago, I read a biography on the life of the singer Madonna. Many people recounted how when Madonna was just a club act, she handled every show as if it were a concert in a huge arena. The general conclusion was that she was acting like a superstar even before she became one.
Visualization is a tool that I use frequently because I have seen it work. Many times in my life, I visualized achieving certain goals or having certain funds. And every single time without fail, each item that I visualized became a reality. Sometimes it took hours and other times it took years.
The interesting thing about visualization is that it works with not only positive thoughts and images but with negative ones too. So take care of what you visualize.
One more thing in regard to the tool of visualization; it is important to keep in mind that it does not mean that you visualize while sitting back and doing nothing. You have to take some form of action too. Visualization without action will not yield results.
4. Surround Yourself With People Who You Wish To Be Like
The company you keep does have an impact on you. This does not mean that you get rid of all your friends and family. All this means is that you have people in your life who are not only like-minded but who are also doing what you wish to be doing.
Call it vibes or energy or whatever you wish; the people we spend time with do affect what we do and how we think and feel. Spend time with people who complain about life, inevitably you will start doing the same thing too.
Studies have proven this and I have seen it in my own life as well. When I spent time with people who lamented about their lack of success and lack of funds, I experienced those same things.
However, when I started to surround myself with positive people who were doing what I wished to be doing, I began to notice how my mindset of lack was being converted into a mindset of abundance. And you know what happened?
My awareness of my chosen career path began to expand and I began to notice all the possibilities that were out there. I also met an investor who willingly gave me the money to start my own business and I did not even have to write up a business plan.
Someone once said that you can tell a lot about a person by the company that they keep, so surround yourself with people who are living what you wish to achieve.
1. Be Kind To Every Single Person You Meet
We all have our off days. We all have days where it is hard to be compassionate and kind. However, you never know whom you will meet.
The person in line behind you at the supermarket may be an agent who can give you a record deal. The person who is sitting next to you on the subway may be the best friend you always wanted but never had. The guy serving you coffee may be your soul mate.
Every single second of every day we are surrounded by people. You never know whom you may meet at the gym or at the coffee house. Every single person you meet might be someone who has the power to change your life for the better.
In order for you to have your dream become a reality, you need someone to help you. We do not live in a vacuum. The concept of being self-dependent is an illusion because we need other people to buy our record or book or whatever.
The problem is that sometimes when we are out in the world, our focus is on ourselves and our thoughts usually are on what is happening in our lives. That kind of narrow-minded focus limits you from seeing your surroundings.
A guy dressed in sweat pants may seem like a nobody to you but for all you know, he may be the person that has the ability to help you achieve a certain goal.
In our society, we have a tendency to invest more in things than in people. Therefore, many tend to be impolite or totally unaware of others. Compassion and kindness go a long way. Being rude never does any good.
2. Be Confident and Excellent in Your Chosen Field
When you know your subject like the back of your hand, it is easy to be confident in your talents and skills.
This does not mean you have to be aggressive. Aggressiveness is a wasted emotion because it is a mask for insecurity. If you are good at what you do, there is no need to be insecure. Nor do you have to resort to backstabbing or pushy methods to get what you want. No one likes to be cheated or bullied.
When Charlie Rose asked Steve Martin about what advice would he give to others starting out in the acting business, Martin said the following: “Be so good at what you do that they cannot ignore you.”
So if you want to be the next top game designer, then be confident at your coding and designing skills and just be as excellent as you can be. Someone will notice it and provide you with an opportunity. It may take time but it will happen.
Passion combined with hard work always -without fail- pay off and create so called “luck”.
3. Visualize Your “Lucky Break”
Again, the tool of visualization comes into play when creating an opportunity for luck to take place.
We all have dreams of how we would love to be discovered. Why not visualize that dream coming true?
About a year ago, I was working at a job that I did not love. I convinced myself that I loved what it gave me and that I could tolerate the gig until I was able to earn a living doing what I love.
This delusion lasted for some months but then I reached the point where I realized that I needed to quit because the job was creating so much stress which was affecting my health.
Shortly after, I was laid off from this soul-sucking job which then provided me with an opportunity to start a new career. Being that I was afraid and concerned about money, I started to look for another job but despite numerous interviews, nothing worked because my heart was just not in it.
For years, it has been my dream to have my own business. I have spent countless of hours visualizing what it would be like. I just never had the funds or it was not yet the right time. I simply hoped that someway and somehow it would happen.
I remember thinking it would be nice if life provided me with the money to fund my dreams of being self-employed. Then one day I was having coffee with someone who was living their dreams. We got to talking about my situation and one thing led to another and they offered to fund my new business.
They had no desire to see a business plan nor did they care if I paid them back. They saw the passion with which I spoke and that I knew every single detail of what I wanted to do.
I was able to rattle off figures of what it would cost and every other detail imaginable. Because of the fact that I was so prepared and enthusiastic, they wanted to be of help. Someone had helped them to become a success and they wanted to return the favor.
As you can see, my problem of being unemployed was solved simply because I was prepared when confronted with an opportunity.
One of the beautiful things about life is that we get out of it as much as we put into it. We all have our share of challenges and obstacles. No human being is immune from such incidents.
Success has no set definition. It means different things to different people. Someone who stays at home and does a beautiful job raising her/his kids is as successful as the person who runs a small company.
We each have the power to live a life that we love but it doesn’t happen by the simple fickle finger of fate. It is brought into fruition by the way you choose to engage in life. We all have the potential to be masters in whatever it is that makes our hearts sing.
We are the creators of our world and therefore, we are the creators of our so called luck.
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