Friday, September 14, 2007

Make Your Own Luck

I love the old adage, “I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” (It has been variously attributed to Thomas Jefferson and Stephen Leacock.)

So it makes sense that the other day I picked up a book called, How to Create your Own Luck, by California author/consultant Susan RoAne.

It’s a pretty sketchy work – mostly a seemingly endless series of two-page anecdotes about people who helped strangers in the rain and ended up making the biggest deal of their career with them. If I stick with this book, I will skip the next 60 pages and try to find the sections with more practical, prescriptive advice.

But the book is worth it for Page 2 alone, where RoAne identifies the eight “counterintuitive traits” that distinguish “luck-makers” from the rest of us. You open yourself to luck, serendipity and opportunity when you leave convention behind and display the following characteristics of “lucky” people:

Trait One: They talk to strangers.
Trait Two: They make small talk.
Trait Three: They drop names.
Trait Four: They eavesdrop and listen.
Trait Five: They ask for or offer help.
Trait Six: They stray from their chosen paths.
Trait Seven: They exit graciously without burning bridges.
Trait Eight: They say yes when they want to say no.

“These ‘You Never Know It Alls’ don't conform to the ‘keep it to yourself and play your cards close to your vest’ school of thought,” says RoAne. “They remain open, and that openness is the linchpin of their so-called luck.”

Fort further reading:

How To Make Your Own Luck, from Fast Company, 2003
Get Lucky, by Susanne Ruder, from PROFIT Magazine, December 2006


George Torok said...

Hi Rick,

I agree will all the traits except number 8.

In fact I suggest just the opposite approach. People need to say no more of the time, yet are reluctant to do so.

If your gut tells you no - say no! And don't feel guilty about it.

George Torok

JPI said...

Hi Rick,

Thanks for posting this. I will take note of the 8 traits. There are a few in there I can work on. Many of them seem to be basic networking related skills.

As far as number 8 is concerned, I know entrepreneurs who have found themselves "lucky" when they said YES to an opportunity. When opportunity knocks sometimes you have to say YES even in the face of fear!

All the best,

John Pratt