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Hey, it’s Siimon Reynolds here from The Fortune Institute and today I want to talk about something a little unusual. I want to talk about luck.
Most people – the vast majority – believe in some type of luck. Some people are more superstitious than others, but certainly deep down a lot of us feel that we can’t catch a lucky break or that luck is against us, but we don’t really know how to think about luck and even most of us are not even sure whether we should believe in the concept of luck.
Well I believe if we are going to become outstanding in business we have got to look at every area possible and see if we can improve it, so when it comes to the area of luck I’ve done quite a bit of research in order to really analyse whether luck can really be increased for an executive or entrepreneur. And the leader in this area, in my opinion, through my studies, is Professor Richard Weisman from Hertfordshire in England, and he’s done many, many years of research on whether luck exists and how to maximise luck.
Now in a nutshell his conclusion is ‘Yes, there are definitely some people who are luckier than others’, and also he’s come to the conclusion that you can change your luck – you can become a luckier person – and he’s got a whole lot of research to back this up.
So in a nutshell there are 4 conclusions he has reached – there are 4 ways that are scientifically proven to increase your luck.
So the first one is you need to maximise chance opportunities. You need to maximise chance opportunities, so if you run into somebody a lucky person may begin a conversation with them, or if you’re in a room with someone that could make you money or could lead to a joint venture, a lucky person will often initiate a conversation with that person.
Basically, the more times you collide with chance opportunities and make the most of it, over time, Weisman showed, the luckier you will be. So just think about that: you may naturally be a bit of a wallflower, bit of an introvert, but can you reach out more?
When you meet someone or read an article or see an opportunity that just goes past you, can you grab it? Can you reach out? Can you suddenly be proactive and make something of it? People who are highly fortunate in life do that.
The second thing that makes someone luckier is they listen to lucky hunches. So if you have got a bit of an intuitive feel that this particular direction might be the way to go down or this person may be the person to hire or perhaps you should investigate this country and expand there, well lucky people tend to listen to their hunches much more than other people. A lot of unlucky people just dismiss these subtle areas of intuition and then get back to doing the same kind of stuff that everybody else is doing to grow their business.
Well think about that, maybe next time you get a hunch, play around with it a bit. You don’t have to risk everything on a hunch, but maybe you should investigate that hunch. Maybe you should really look into whether it’s viable much more than just letting it go in and out of your head.
So step 3 for being a much luckier person in business is to expect good fortune. Professor Weisman showed of all his interviews with people who are highly lucky, and he did years and years of research on this, what he’s found is that people who tend to have more luck in life expect good things to happen.
Now that’s a really important point because when you think about it, if you expect something good to happen, let’s say you expect your business to do well, you expect to be a success in your industry then you’re going to behave in a certain way that’s more likely to attract success, more likely to position yourself as a leader in your field and therefore get more clients. You’re also more likely to persist, aren’t you?
I mean if deep down you don’t really think your business has a chance or your career has a chance then you’re not really going to give it 100%, but if you actually expect good things to happen you’re going to persist, and when you persist, as we all know you often eventually get a superior or successful result.
The 4th thing that highly lucky people do that we can all do, is they attempt to turn bad luck into good luck. And why that’s so vital I think for entrepreneurs or CEOs is that business itself is full of problems. In fact, a really good entrepreneur, as my wife was telling me, a really good entrepreneur is really just an excellent problem solver.
If you can see yourself as an outstanding problem solver… If you can try and improve in your abilities as a problem solver and you direct that at your business, you are going to go really well because there are just so many darn things going wrong all the time in any company, particularly if it’s a high growth company, particularly if it’s really getting some velocity, there’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes going wrong and so there is going to be a lot of bad luck.
Now time and time again you find highly intelligent people who have got a good product or a good service, but they give up too easily or they see an adverse circumstance as being a disaster when many, many times in business history, people have turned around a bad circumstance and in fact used it to drive the company forward to an even higher level.
So let’s have a look at what it takes to turn bad luck into good. Well I think there’s 3 areas and the first is you have got to look for the opportunity in the disaster, so if you employed someone and they were absolutely terrible, instead of just being miserable about it, say:
“OK what can I do with this? Is there a different way I can look at employing everybody?”
“Can I create new systems for interviews that can take my company to another level?”
“Is there a different HR consultant I can go and visit and use who could take my company to another level?”
Not just how do I solve this problem but how do I use this problem to make my business or career even better? So turning bad luck into good and looking for the opportunity in the bad.
Then also, lucky people don’t dwell on bad luck. They don’t dwell on bad things that happen. Weisman showed they tend to move on, and thirdly they take control of the circumstances. If they have got a problem they take control of it. They don’t just cry about it, they don’t just put up with it. Take control, try and change it and try and improve it.
So let’s have a look at those 4 ways to increase luck:
1. Maximise chance opportunities
2. Listen to lucky hunches
3. Expect good fortune
4. Turn bad luck into good
Now, what’s really interesting about this is these aren’t stunning skills that only a few could master; these are things that if we focus on them we can all get much better at them and if we do, we are likely to be not only much luckier but a whole lot wealthier as well.