Why am I so lucky?
We live in a world obsessed with luck. But is this preoccupation healthy or does it do more harm than good?
Famous people have ‘lucky’ breaks. Rich people are ‘lucky’ with their investments. People dating the hottest person in town got ‘lucky’ (okay, on that one perhaps they did!).
But is this obsession with luck healthy and does it do more harm than good?
Luck is one of those things that people assume you either have or don’t. People may look at me and think I’m lucky to have the life I have, doing work I enjoy, and with everything I could ever need materialistically speaking.
I think that luck, however, is often confused with privilege and the reality is that most of you reading this will be living a fairly privileged life. If you don’t believe me, consider where someone who earns 5 per cent of your yearly income sleeps at night, and what their bed might be like.
The fact is, when people focus on luck they lose sight of their own potential. Rather than thinking they can achieve anything they set their mind to, they spend their time bemoaning those they consider ‘lucky enough’ to have already attained or experienced it.
Recently I worked with a Chief People Officer who felt his colleagues in the boardroom were lucky to have the ear of the CEO when he didn’t. By focusing on the luck of others, the privilege of his current position was invisible to him. Unable to see how much his professional peers in other companies and industries would covet his role, he was lost in his own story of others being at the table when he wasn’t.
Over the years, I’ve developed my own theories about luck, and how it can be increased in just three easy steps:
1. Give and you shall receive
We spend so much time worrying about what we haven’t got, we fail to notice what we do have and can willingly share. I recently walked past a homeless man, telling him I had no change. He gruffly retorted that he’d “only said good morning”. Ashamed of my assumption that he was asking for money, I turned back, sat next to him on the floor and spent some time talking to him. Time was something I could share and was valuable to the other party - he was appreciative of the conversation, telling me he often feels invisible. I went away with a different perspective on my own luck in life.
2. Put effort in to get rewards out
In his excellent book, Bounce, author, broadcaster and sportsman Matthew Syed writes about how much effort goes into being an expert in your field. Debunking the idea that people just get lucky, he suggests instead that luck is about hard work and perseverance. For a refreshingly real perspective on how to achieve your goals, I strongly recommend taking a read.
3. Recognise the real sources of luck
The pop artist on stage, performing as if afloat on a magic carpet, may appear to be the epitome of luck, but it’s what you don’t see that makes them truly lucky: the backstage team supporting and crafting the dream, from the dance choreographers to the catering team, the folk lugging lighting rigs past the assistant hand-washing outfits. Who or what do you need to surround yourself with to create your own lucky break?
My advice, then, is to take stock of your life as it is to recognise and celebrate what you already have. This is a good habit to get into. Notice your privilege too and how it has impacted your life so far.
If what you want is really worth it, work for it. Pride in your achievement always outlives the sense of easy attainment.
Ask yourself: “how can I perform at my absolute best to achieve the goals I set myself?” This is hugely influenced by the people you surround yourself with. Do they share your vision of your potential for growth?
If you’re looking for support in creating your own luck, be sure to get in touch. I love to help people ‘put the effort in to get the rewards out’.
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