You open a fortune cookie and it tells you your life will go swell. Now if only it was as easy to get good luck as buying Chinese food, we’d all be dating Leo DiCaprio, earn a million dollars a year and save the world on a daily basis. It seems like it takes a little bit more effort to get lucky though. However, there are a few tricks to the trade…or are there?
Let’s have a look at what some famous minds throughout history have been saying about luck and how to sway it in your favor. If there is an answer for how to get good luck, we’ll find it.
Overnight success takes seven years
You know those people who just “got lucky?” The ones who suddenly founded a business and achieved massive success? They did a study on people who had goals which they achieved, so to speak, overnight. On average it had taken these people seven years of hard work to get there. So if you want to get lucky – be prepared to work for it.
I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have. ~Coleman Coxsee
The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work. ~Harry Golden
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them. ~George Bernard Shaw
Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
An old Chinese tale about luck
If you’ve suffered through some bad luck lately, you might need to rethink that because bad luck isn’t necessarily bad luck. It’s like taking the wrong road to work by mistake and swearing about being late, only to realize had you gone the other way you’d have been on a road that collapsed. You may think it’s bad luck when you lose a job and a boyfriend, but six months down the line you may land your dream job – and man.
The only sure thing about luck is that it will change. ~Wilson Mizner
Life is ever changing. One thing continuously leads to another. And the best way to ensure you have good luck is usually to play the cards you are dealt in the best of all possible ways. That, if anything, will help you feel happier and luckier, and when you’re happier more people will be attracted to you. Only too many times people resist change they can’t control instead of going with it and turning it into something amazing.
Luck never gives; it only lends. ~Swedish Proverb
There is an old Chinese tale that sums this up beautifully. In fact, when things have gone wrong I have many times thought of this tale. It’s also nice because once you come to terms with life being ever changing, you do not fear the changes so much, nor fight them. Rather, you look forward to the next turn in the road, because who knows? DiCaprio (insert whoever you find amazingly hot here) might be standing behind it, ready to marry you, naturally.
A long, long time ago, there was a kind old man who lived on the plains outside the Great Wall of China. The gentle old man had only two passions in his life: collecting rare breeds of horses, and his son, whom he loved more than anything else.
The old man and his son would ride their horses every day. They would travel great distances to trade horses, meet new people, and enjoy the good fortune that life had bestowed upon them.
One morning, a servant left the stable door open and one of the old man’s favorite stallions escaped. When the neighbors heard the news of the stallion’s escape, they came to comfort the old man. They told him they were sorry he had had such bad luck.
But strangely enough, the gentle old man was not upset. He explained to his neighbors that losing the horse wasn’t necessarily bad luck. There was no way to predict that the horse would escape, it just happened, and now there was nothing that could be done about it. “There is no reason to be upset,” said the old man.
The neighbors soon realized that there was nothing they could do to help get the horse back, and that they shouldn’t feel sad for the old man’s misfortune.
One week later, the stallion came back, and he brought with him a mare. This was not just any mare, but a rare and valuable white mare. When the neighbors heard of the old man’s good luck, they quickly came to congratulate him.
But again, the old man was not excited. As he had explained before, it was not necessarily good luck that had brought him this new and beautiful white horse. It just happened, and there was no reason to get excited over it. Still a bit puzzled, the neighbors left as quickly as they had come.
A short time later, while his son was riding the white horse, she slipped and fell. She landed on the son’s leg, and broke his leg, so that he would always walk with a limp. Again, the neighbors came to the old man’s house to give their sympathy for the bad luck that had befallen his son.
One of the neighbors suggested that the old man sell the mare before any more bad luck could happen, and others said that he should take his revenge and kill the mare. However, the old man did neither. He explained to the neighbors that they should not feel sorrow for his son, nor anger towards the mare. It was purely an accident that could not be predicted, and there was nothing he or they could do to change it.
At this point, the neighbors thought the old man was crazy and decided to leave him alone.
Two years later an enemy invaded the country, and all of the old man’s neighbors were drafted to defend the country against the attack. Because the old man’s son was lame, he did not have to join in the fighting. The war was very bad, and most of the old man’s neighbors were killed, but his son was spared because he had been hurt by the white horse two years earlier.
Very often, when an event takes place that everybody thinks is good luck, the end results are disastrous. In the same way, an unlucky event can bring about happiness. Therefore, you should not lose your will to continue if an unlucky event happens, nor should you be too overjoyed or feel too self-satisfied because of a lucky event, or because something that you desire comes very easily to you.
The freak accident
One night last year I woke up in the middle of the night as the alarm went off. Again. I live Cape Town (when I’m not in L.A.) and there you have alarms with armed response, high fences and, in this case, a German Shepherd to protect yourself from potential intruders.
So this was a night of alarm going off, dog wanting to go pee, alarm going off… And just as I was contemplating my misfortune I had an idea for my business – a name change. It was brilliant. And that is the genius of some accidents. They make us stop. Look up. And find a better solution.
Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident. ~Mark Twain
Can you do it without luck?
Those who have succeeded at anything and don’t mention luck are kidding themselves. ~Larry King
On one hand of the spectrum, those who work hard usually reap the fruits of their labor. On the flip side of the coin, you can work real hard your whole life and still earn nothing. It all depends on what doors open and what doors close and the decisions you make along the way.
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. ~Jim Carrey
Some people say luck favors those who believe in it – those who seek shall find, those who believe shall receive, and those who knock will have doors opened for them. In many ways that is true.
Have you ever wondered how global corporations became global corporations? Because once upon a time someone had an idea they believed in and they kept knocking on doors till the day they had the fortune of having someone answer. Did they magically attract the person believing in them, or did they work hard? I’m not sure.
I spent seven years working on the idea for a company, this year I found investment for it. This year, I also sat back a bit more and simply surrendered to the idea it would happen. Rather than knocking on doors, I opened mine.
Then again, I knocked on a few too. And they answered. I also kept my eyes open – I kept searching for answers; for clues on how to put it all together. And it’s like they say – if you look for yellow cars, chances are a lot higher you will find them.
Maybe successful people attract luck, maybe their attitudes open doors to people who want to be associated with them, or maybe they find opportunities simply because they keep their eyes (and minds) open to them. Maybe these people are grateful and therefore receive more blessings, or maybe their gratitude itself is a blessing.
One thing is for sure – if you get upset every time life hands you difficult cards, chances are you will play your hand even worse. Those that find inspiration in challenges are usually the ones that rise above them. Those that look for solutions are likelier to find them. Those that focus on what they have instead of what they don’t have, feel a lot luckier too.
Those that can laugh in times of trouble often feel themselves to be luckier, because they don’t let the world dictate their mood – they seek to find their own fortune in what they have.
Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re usually right. ~Henry Ford
Are you feeling lucky yet?
To refer this back to my life once more – last year I had RSI in my hands. This meant I couldn’t type. As a writer, that was painful. I spent all my money on doctors and alternative practices that didn’t help. I had problems doing anything that required my hands, but mainly writing.
Suddenly, I realized I was lucky having hands. I was lucky to be alive. I was lucky I could still dance. I saw luck in everything I had. I also completely ran out of money as I couldn’t work.
When I cured my hands, using Doctor John Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain – the Mind-Body Solution, I considered myself incredibly lucky. I found online forums that described other people using Sarno’s method to cure themselves, only they had lost their jobs, their car and their home, before they did so. Some had undergone surgery.
Would I have been luckier if I didn’t get RSI in the first place? Maybe. But would I consider myself less lucky if I hadn’t, because I wouldn’t have experienced how lucky I actually am not having it right now? How lucky am I to be happy and healthy and alive?
Luck, as most things, is perception.