Helzberg had never met Buffett, but had read about the financial criteria that Buffett used when buying a company. Helzberg had recently turned sixty, was thinking of selling his company, and realized that his might be the type of company that would interest Buffett. Helzberg seized the opportunity, walked over to the stranger and introduced himself.The man did indeed turn out to be Warren Buffett, and the chance meeting proved highly fortuitous because about a year later Buffett agreed to buy Helzberg’s chain of stores. And all because Helzberg just happened to be walking by as a woman called out Buffett’s name on a street corner in New York.
Helzberg’s story illustrates the effect of luck in business, but good fortune also plays a vital role in all aspects of our lives. Stanford psychologist Alfred Bandura has discussed the impact of chance encounters and luck on people’s personal lives. Bandura noted both the importance and prevalence of such encounters, writing that “some of the most important determinants of life paths often arise through the most trivial of circumstances.” He supports his case with several telling examples, one of which was drawn from his life. As a graduate student,Bandura became bored with a reading assignment and so decided to visit the local golf links with a friend. Just by chance, Bandura and his friend found themselves playing behind two attractive female golfers, and soon joined them as a foursome.
After the game, Bandura arranged to meet up with one of the women again, and eventually ended up marrying her. A chance meeting on a golf course altered his entire life.
So is it possible to increase your chances of being lucky? Richard Wiseman and Max Gunther think so. Richard has written a book called The Luck Factor and Max Gunther has also written a book on ‘How to Get Lucky‘. Both authors draw on years of scientific research to prove to us that luck is a skill that can be learned and doing some key things increases our chances of being lucky.
Here are four things outlined by Richard Wiseman on how to improve your luck.
1) Maximize Opportunities
It makes intuitive sense: if you lock yourself in your house, how many exciting, serendipitous things are going to happen to you? Not many.
In his book Luck Factor, Richard wrote: “Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives.” Here’s Richard:
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing, and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, which include building and maintaining a strong network, adopting a relaxed attitude to life, and being open to new experiences.
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. They also take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities — for example, by meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.
Lucky people simply know when a decision is right. They trust themselves to decide. And if they get it wrong, they take it as a lesson learned and then adjust their approach. In contrast, unlucky people view many of their poor decisions as yet more evidence of how they are always destined to fail.
In his book, The Luck Factor, Dr. Wiseman discusses another study he conducted in which more than a hundred lucky and unlucky people answered a short questionnaire concerning the role of intuition – the rather curious sensation that something we have just done, or are about to do, is very right or very wrong – in their lives. When it came to luck, intuition mattered. Lucky people’s gut feelings and hunches tended to pay off time and time again. In contrast, unlucky people often ignored their intuition and regretted their decisions.
3) Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people are certain that the future will be bright. Over time, that expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because it helps lucky people persist in the face of failure and positively shapes their interactions with other people.
Lucky people believe they CAN be successful. Studies have shown that a managers’ positive beliefs and expectations in their staff have a profound effect on the productivity and success rate of their staff. Likewise, managers who believe in themselves motivate the people around them to perform well and believe in themselves as well, while those with poor expectations cause those around them to become despondent and unproductive.
Positive beliefs and high expectations also motivate lucky people to persist even in the face of considerable adversity; which means they eventually reach the finish line as the other contenders walk back to the starting line.
4) Turn Bad Luck Into Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, they don’t dwell on the ill fortune, and they take control of the situation.
Everything in life is a lesson. Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc. They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’
Never forget to acknowledge the lesson. If you don’t get a job you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting. And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it. Lucky people learn from their mistakes. When ill fortune blocks the path to their goals, they explore other ways of solving the problem and squeeze some benefit from their misfortune.
Unlucky people often dwell on mistakes from the past, obsessing about the bad luck that put them in their present unlucky situation. But remember, good luck has a lot to do with choice. Use all of the lessons you have learned to make educated decisions and create good luck for yourself in the future.