“In the field of observation,
Chances favor the prepared mind.”
Are you lucky? Do situations happen to you that seem to come ‘out of nowhere’ – events that enhance your life mentally, spiritually, emotionally or socially? Do you believe these things happen simply by chance or that you are lucky? Or, do you believe these ‘happenings’ are predestined?
I’ve met a number of people who appear to be incredibly lucky, individuals who seemingly stumble into wonderful opportunities that enhance their lives on every level. I’ve met others who claim they are just plain unlucky and wondrous events only happen to others. Into which category do you fall?
What if I told you that you could ramp up your chances for having new and exciting possibilities come your way – that you could increase your ‘luck’ factor? You can – if you are willing to shift your thinking and take what you might consider –a few small risks.
Let’s lay the foundation by looking at a basic attribute of how your brain works. Your brain operates on what is called a ‘pattern seeking recognition’ system. You make connections between situations and ‘things’ that seem to fit logically into your unique pattern or model of how the world works. The patterns you see and the connections you make are based both on your beliefs and your experience. This recognition system is like a software program that helps you make sense out of what you see or expect to see. In other words, your beliefs act as a ‘filter,’ letting in the familiar and shutting out what is unfamiliar. This mental software shapes your experience.
We all naturally tend to gravitate towards what is comfortable, familiar and safe, even if what is comfortable is not good for us. The key is to play a little trick on yourself, shift your mind and automatically boost your ‘serendipity’ quotient. You simply need to broaden your experience.
I want you to briefly examine your own mind set. Do you believe that you can increase your ability to have more luck? If the answer is ‘yes,’ – good for you. If the answer is ‘no,’ then you might want to shift your thinking. As a performance coach, I’m going to ask you to open your mind and play a game for one week. You might want to look at this as a personal experiment. I promise that you will find this an interesting, stimulating and fun mental exercise.
This experiment is based on a single principal. This principal is, that once you shift your mind into believing that something very interesting just might come your way, it automatically puts your mental processes in the ‘alert’ mode. If you approach the following four tips with your mind ‘on alert’ for lucky possibilities, I guarantee that you will spot and seize new and different opportunities:
1) Be open to taking a little risk. In order to get lucky, you may have to step out of your comfort zone. Be aware that being open to new experiences automatically sets you up for change. Our knee-jerk reaction to stepping out of our zone of comfort and changing anything is to play it safe and avoid or dismiss what we think will make us uncomfortable. So be open to risk and change for the next week. Embrace whatever comes your way. Just ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” That question will switch whatever fear or discomfort you may have into – curiosity.
2) Be pro-active in having new experiences. The connections you make and the opportunities you see are based, in part, on your past experience, your history. To increase the chances for a serendipitous event is to have new experiences and to broaden your personal history. This doesn’t have to be as dramatic as jumping out of a plane or vacationing to a foreign land. It could be as simple as trying a new restaurant, eating a different kind of food, reading a different newspaper or magazine, or watching different types of television shows. It might be as easy as taking an alternative route to the market or to your job. It could also be considering different points of view on a single topic or reevaluating another’s opinion. Or, make it a mission for the next week to meet someone who has a different point of view or belief system than you do. Create new experiences for yourself – soon. Serendipity comes to those who are fearless about embracing new experiences.
3) Just say “Yes.” This is an important mindset that will serve you throughout life. Ask yourself, “What do most people feel when a new and unfamiliar opportunity is thrown in their path?” They feel a mixture of both anxiety and interest. They are curious about whatever opportunity they see but they often think of a thousand reasons not to take the job, travel, meet someone new or…? You don’t want your life to be full of regret. Take the leap, be flexible and acknowledge that there is more than one path that will lead you towards what want to achieve. Just say “yes,” at least for the next week.
4) Starting right now – be aware of your negative judgments. Negative judgments can kill creativity as well as opportunity. It’s not wrong or bad to have judgments; it’s only a detriment if you let fear and negative judgments separate you from others or limit your choices. So, choose to recognize and immediately let go of your judgments for one experimental week. Notice any negative thinking and say to yourself, “Isn’t that interesting?” Turn judgment into curiosity.
People who live an exceptional life seem to be blessed with good luck. But, the truth is, they set themselves up for luck by the way they think. With a slight shift of your mind, you can increase your chances for serendipity. Just give it a go for one week and you may just surprise yourself.