Why Some People are Luckier than Others
How You Can Increase your Luck
If you have seen the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you likely marveled at the luck he encountered. Everything just seemed to work out for him, from being able to hack into the school’s attendance system, to narrowly avoiding being caught by his dad, to outrunning his parents back to the house. It’s quirky, it’s funny, and it’s Hollywood; that kind of luck never really pans out in real life.
But there are those in real life that seem to have all the luck. Things seem to go their way quite a bit more than the average person. People tell them how lucky they are, they tell them how things go their way, and often those people sit back and quietly accept the praise.
I’ll fill you in on a little secret; there’s no such thing as luck. Here’s what those “lucky” people aren’t telling you.
Luck Doesn’t Just Happen
When talking about luck, and how things work out, it’s almost always just described as happenstance. You happened to be in the right place, and you got lucky. You happened to be in the wrong place and fell into some bad luck. The way we think about it is that there’s nothing we can do to control it, it just happens to us.
That notion is great when we want to slough off the responsibility of bad luck. We can claim, “Woe is me!” without ever having to accept responsibility. It just happened, so it’s not my fault… right?
Unfortunately, that’s wrong. Except in some extreme cases of freak accidents, there are steps you can take to change your luck.
Effort Makes You Smart & Talented
Did you do well in school? If not, did you blame it on genetics and say, “Well, I’m just not one of the smart kids.”? Most of us did, and we resigned ourselves to the fact that we just weren’t smart enough to ace those tests. For the smart kids, the perfect scores came back and we simply told ourselves that they got lucky, or they were lucky to be born smart.
What we don’t see, however, is that there were many hours of work behind-the-scenes to pull off that A+. In fact, it didn’t happen during an hour-long cramming session the night before; it all started at a young age of preparing them for a lifestyle of study and learning. They put in a whole lot more effort than the C average student.
Or consider those with extraordinary athletic talent. In high school there was a basketball player a couple years older than I was. He was phenomenally talented, and helped the team surge to many victories. People would talk about his “innate” talent, or his “gift”, or go on to explain how he was lucky to be such a great athlete. There was a week, not even during basketball season, where I had to stay late at school to work on a project. As I was leaving I would wait by the gym for my ride. That player would be in there, often alone, dribbling two balls at once as he ran up and down the court. Every. Single. Day. He didn’t fall into the talent, he put in the effort that 99% weren’t willing to do.
How to Increase Your Luck
The next time you’re tempted to blame (or give credit to) luck, stop and think about the circumstances. Was it lucky to find that $5 on the ground, or were you actively paying attention to your surroundings? Was it unlucky to be in that car crash and need to take your vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center? Or could you have been paying more attention to other drivers? Is it unlucky that you can’t land your dream job? Or have you failed to put in the effort to make yourself stand out far and above the rest of the applicants?
Luck favors those that put in the hard work.