How to be Lucky

In this article, I would like to deal with the subject of luck and more specifically, how you can increase the odds of things going your way more often. There will probably be some people who will be inclined to dismiss the principle we are going to look at, but for others, this approach might make all the difference for the future.

If you want to be lucky, there are always things you can do to improve the odds in any situation, no matter how you presently think of it, if you open your mind to what follows and then you start to think about the situation that you want to go your way along these lines. So that said, let’s get into the meat of the matter. We first need to understand exactly what luck is and then, when we properly understand, we can begin to apply the principle for ourselves.

Luck is the perfect marriage of opportunity with preparation. That statement is derived from something that Deepak Chopra once said and is so profound. If you want to know how to be lucky, then this little statement contains the vital clue. Actually, although it was indeed Deepak who I remember stating the principle so eloquently, the same principle appears in James Allen’s classic As a Man Thinketh.

The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. See a man grow rich, they say, “How lucky he is!” Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, “How highly favored he is!” And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, the remark, “How chance aids him at every turn!”

James Allen goes on to say that people usually fail to see the trials, struggles and failures that such apparently lucky people have voluntarily endured. They don’t see the sacrifices or the effort it took to persevere and make their vision a reality. They don’t see any of the darkness, they only see the light and the joy and they call it luck.

In other words, staying with Deepak’s statement, what James Allen is saying is that people don’t tend to see the preparation that was put in first before the opportunity actually arrived. What they see is someone who was in the right place at the right time when the opportunity came. If only they had been in that place, they reason, then they would have benefitted from the same opportunity when it came.

Of course, we know that we cannot know what is going to happen in the future, so how can a person be in the right place at the right time when we cannot know the future? The only logical explanation for those who did not see the preparation is that the person got lucky. However, in this article, I would like to encourage you to think a little differently.

If you want to be luckier, then you have to work at it so I guess a question we need to address right up front is: are you ready to work at it? It is an important question because, by the usual perception of what luck is, the notion of work does not come into it at all. I hope that your answer to the question is that you are prepared to work at it because if you are, I believe that I can help you. Let’s start by taking a couple of examples.

There is a TV program we have here in the UK called Deal or No Deal. I don’t know if you have it in your part of the world, but essentially, a group of people are assembled with the purpose of opening boxes each of which effectively contains an amount of money, anywhere between 1 pence and £250K – that’s about $395K (USD) at today’s exchange rate.

The amounts of money are randomly distributed before each game and one person gets the chance to open the boxes one at a time. To keep this brief, that person gets made monetary offers, at various intervals, on the basis of what has been already revealed. The player can accept any of the offers or reject them all and take the amount in the final box. The person playing might win absolutely any of the amounts between the two extremes. That’s a very quick description of the game.

Now there have been games where the player has won the full £250K and there have been games where the player has won 1p. There have been very many people who have finished up with less than £1K. I have not done the sums, but I would not be surprised if that figure amounted to half of the contestants. Why should that be? Because the £1K value box is roughly the mid point in the array of values. The law of averages dictates that you have an even chance of winning less than £1K in that game.

If you were to ask the people who won the relatively small amounts of less than £1K if they would have been happy winning £10K, without exception they would all say yes. And yet, the vast majority of them would have been offered such an amount somewhere in the game. So, how could they have been luckier in this situation? By understanding a little about the maths and then making sensible choices based on the likelihood of the outcome. That’s the kind of preparation you need to do if you want to appear on that game and be sure of winning.

The same is true of many situations in life. Remember that to be lucky is simply to be prepared for the opportunity. Let’s look at an extreme example next: winning the lottery. Is there a way to prepare for that? You would think not, but in fact, it turns out that there is – yes absolutely, a guaranteed way. It works every time. I’m a little tempted to make you wait just a bit before I actually reveal this method, but I wonder if you can think of a possible method for yourself. What do you think? What preparation would you need to make in order to guarantee that you would win the lottery. Well, I tell you right now exactly how one conglomerate actually did win the lottery.

According to the New York Times, one Australian syndicate group won the Virginia lottery, in the USA, back in 1992 by preparing to do so. How did they do it? The idea is very simple: you just have to buy every available ticket i.e. you purchase every possible number combination. In this particular case, it seems the syndicate didn’t quite manage to buy all of the tickets because of time limitations, but they did buy enough to reduce the odds to be in their favour and – what do you know – they did actually win the jackpot. As you can see, the preparation that went in to winning the lottery, in this case, involved a quite complex plan.

Now you could say that the above examples are not really luck and – if you do – that’s the point. Because they say that fortune favours the brave, but it is really not true; fortune favours the prepared. You can achieve astonishing things in life if you are prepared to identify your target, determine what needs to be done and then commit yourself to preparing for the opportunity.

The title of this article is: how to be lucky. I hope you don’t feel that you have been short-changed in any way because the above stories do indeed illustrate what needs to be done to increase the odds of success for you and that’s exactly what we mean when we use the word lucky. So, if you want to be a luckier person in the future, you now know what you need to do: first, understand the opportunity – whatever it is for you – craft a plan that improves the odds of you winning, then carefully follow through and execute your plan.

When you win, the people around you will comment that you are lucky. We, of course (that’s you, me, Deepak and James Allen) will all know better.

2 thoughts on “How to be Lucky

  1. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Sylvia

    A nice little example. Just goes to show all of that book learning wasn’t entirely in vain eh?

    Will 😉

  2. Sylvia

    Hi,

    I totally agree with you. Opportunity opens to those who are prepared.

    I got interested in reading economic books written by the likes of Willian Easterly, Professor Paul Collier and the lot. At that moment, I was reading merely for the fact the subject interested me.

    I later had a discussion with a friend on this subject who really got interested and invited me speak on several events held at the university. I actually got paid!

    I had not forseen this happening but I know that the subsequent events were a result of equiping myself with knowledge from reading the economic books….and a bit of understanding….

    Sylvia

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