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How To Make Your Own Luck

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Some people have all the luck. You know who we mean. Those folks who sail through life with opportunities dropping into their laps left and right. While others…sure, every once in a while good things happen, but overall it’s just same old, same old, nothing happening. Why are some people just plain lucky while the rest of us, well, aren’t?

…okay. That’s enough whining for one day. ‘Cuz, you see, those lucky people? Most of the time, it’s not luck they’re reaping…it’s merely the result of a lot of hard work and a very specific outlook. Kind of like how most “overnight sensations” have actually been working a long time to reach their goals. And that’s awesome, because it means that luck doesn’t just come to you…you have to create it.

Now, this isn’t going to be some New Age “think positively, visualize it and it will happen” article. No matter how hard you try, you’re (probably) not going to become America’s Next Top Model…but when it comes to taking charge and forging a path towards the life you want, here are some realistic, boots-on-the-ground tricks to hunt down Lady Luck.

Trick #1: Ask for it.

Oftentimes, lucky people are individuals who were shameless about letting people know what they want. We’ve all been trained to be polite and to not be demanding, but how will people know what you want if you don’t tell them? So figure out what you want, and go ahead and ask for it. Whether that’s a promotion, starting up a hip-hop acapella group or anything else, just remember: the worst anyone can say is “no.”

Trick #2: Take the road less traveled.

There’s always “the way it’s done.” It’s the common path, and it’s been the common path because a lot of people choose to follow it. But that doesn’t mean you have to. So you’re nearing 60 and want to start a new career as a photographer when the “normal” thing is to be thinking about retirement? Grab a camera and rock on with your bad self, sir. Decide you want to sell your house now that the kids are grown, buy a boat and sail around the world! You do you, ma’am. Sure, there may be bumps and bruises along the way, but the more you make your own path, the happier–and luckier–you’ll feel.

Trick #3: Always think positively.

Sure, this sounds a bit Pollyanna, but there are lots of studies that show when you take the glass-half-full approach, things just seem to work out better. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to act like every cloud has a silver lining, but it is a good exercise to try and always look for the opportunity–even when things are negative. Whether that’s learning a lesson from a misstep or simply dusting yourself off and trying again, it means you haven’t given up…and perseverance and luck often go hand in hand.

Trick #4: Embrace a little bit of chaos.

Perfection is what we all strive for. The perfect job, the perfect marriage, the perfect kids, the perfect life. But guess what? Perfection is boring…and predictable. And if you’re trying to get out of your rut and go searching for luck, you’re going to need to invite a little bit of chaos into your life. Chaos means new experiences. New ideas. Multiple choices and options and perhaps feeling a little anxious about making a misstep. And that’s okay…because if you never stretch and get out of your idea of perfection, you’ll never grow or see how far you can go. As someone once said, “great opportunities happen outside, not inside, your comfort zone.”

Trick #5: Say “yes.”

Saying “yes” can be scary when it comes to new things. It means trying something you might fail at. It means being vulnerable to looking silly, or being unsure. But it also means being ready for new adventures. To being fearless. To opening your arms to everything the world has in store for you. Sure, it can be easy to say “no”…but where’s the fun in that?

As you can tell from looking at all these tricks, making your own luck boils down to one very important truth: being open to possibilities. And when you’re willing to say “why not?” when opportunities come knocking, you’ll find—more often than not—that luck can follow soon after.

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