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Just My Luck Print E-mail
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Written by By Thamar Jones   
Thursday, 22 June 2017 00:00

Are you one of the lucky ones? Are you one of those fortunate people who just seem to have all the luck in life? They are successful in love, in their careers, in their finances, and in leading happy and meaningful lives.

Thomas Jefferson once said “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

What, though, is luck?

The dictionary defines luck as the “events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.” But if we analyze Jefferson’s statement, luck then has nothing to do with something operating for or against you. Luck becomes less of a matter of chance and more a matter of being open to new experiences, perseverance, hard work, and positive thinking.

As is true with so many human problems, people tend to deal with this difficult-to-quantify inequality by giving it a name— “luck”— and then disclaiming any responsibility for how much of it they are apportioned.

Richard Wiseman, a professor at Britain’s University of Hertfordshire, has conducted some experiments which indicate to him that we have a lot more influence on our own good fortune than we realize. “The ones who achieve their goals are the ones who - when they hit obstacles - don’t just give up and pack it in, they try again! They find another route. They are versatile, they are flexible, they have got new ways of finding solutions. Luck is accepting responsibility for who you are and being the person who drives the bus, not the person who is being driven.”

The study shows that lucky people tend to be far more open to new experiences. Those who are unlucky are creatures of habit, never varying from one day to the next. If you want to be lucky, add some variety to your life. Meet new people, go to new places, and increase the possibility of those chance opportunities the “lucky” people always seem to run into. Luck, though, isn’t JUST about trying new things. Luck is also about hard work, even when it is, well, “hard.”

Wiseman has outlined four principles to help one increase their good fortune:

Principle One: Maximise Chance Opportunities

Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches

Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune

Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good

Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on the ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

Unsurprisingly, optimism plays a key role in luckiness. Being open to new experiences and persevering are important in creating luck, but so is your thought process. Even though a particular business deal or job opportunity didn’t work out or you missed the bus, looking at the bright side of things may very well encourage more luck to come your way.

Tyler Perry’s empire is valued at an estimated one billion Belize dollars. He is a world renowned, actor, director and producer. But Perry’s success, though to many seems over-night, came as a result of his talent, creativity and above all, his undying determination to succeed.

He moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1991 where he worked as a bill collector and eventually scraped together enough money to rent a small theatre and staged his first play “I know I’ve been Changed”. With only 30 people in the audience, the play was a flop. For the next several years, he struggled and was often broke and sometimes lived in his car.

But Perry refused to give up.

He finally got a second chance in 1998, when a promoter booked the show in the Tabernacle, a concert hall in downtown Atlanta. It was a sold out hit and Perry was more determined than ever to be a success. He then took his plays on the road and  began making a name for himself with African-Americans.

In 2004, he started looking for backers for his first movie project “Diary of Mad Black Woman,” a story about a devoted wife in a bad marriage. He said he faced a wall of ignorance when he pitched white executives in Hollywood. One told him the project was doomed to fail at the box office because the core audience for Perry’s stage plays -- black churchgoers -- wouldn’t go to the movies. Another said the dialogue for his characters was unrealistic.  He was resigned to bankrolling the project himself and selling it as a DVD, when he got a call from the independent studio Lionsgate. They struck a deal and he made “Diary” for about $5 million. The movie earned 10 times that at the box office. Since then, Perry’s movies have grossed nearly $400 million USD and he’s developed a loyal following. He now demands not only creative control but also ownership of the finished products.

Just like Perry, opportunities will present themselves in our lives and our readiness to cease them will play a huge role in the outcome in our lives.

Proponents of the idea that luck is a matter of chance will tell you that some people are just lucky. Some will even tell you that luck happens in phases, and that a bit of luck is sure to come your way eventually. The simple truth of the matter, though, is that luck is not a matter of chance. You make your own luck in this life, and the great thing about it is that anyone can do it. Lucky you!