One of my favorite books is The Luck Factor, by Richard Wiseman. Why do some people lead such happy, successful lives while others are consistently unlucky? Can perpetually unlucky people do anything to improve their luck – and their lives?
After years of studying the ways in which lucky and unlucky people behave, Dr. Wiseman reached an astonishing conclusion: we aren’t born with the Luck O’ the Irish, but we can learn it.
When bad luck happens to good job searchers, it’s an opportunity to apply Dr. Wiseman’s 4 Principles of Luck – to your job search and professional life.
1.) Maximize Your Chance Opportunities. “Lucky people are more likely than unlucky people to create, notice, and act upon chance opportunities.” We all know that referrals are the #1 way to get a job. One of the best ways to obtain referrals is through networking. Lucky people use networking as one strategy to increase their likelihood of obtaining opportunities, but lucky people are also more open and relaxed when talking to people. The irony is that by not trying so hard, lucky people end up obtaining far more.
2.) Listen to Your Lucky Hunches. “Lucky people make successful decisions by using their intuition and gut feelings.” Lucky people’s gut feelings are surprisingly reliable and accurate. When meeting a new person or learning of a new business opportunity, lucky people tend to listen to their inner voices and use them as alarm bells. They also have the confidence to trust their intuition and take active steps to boost it. Think about how your intuition helped you in your professional life – when you met certain people, or encountered certain situations and acted upon that feeling. Then think about times you failed to follow your intuition and lived to regret it.
3.) Expect Good Fortune. “Lucky people’s expectations about the future help them fulfill their dreams and ambitions.” Unlucky people rarely obtain what they want from life. They are negative and believe their futures are bleak. In contrast, lucky people believe that unlucky events will a.) be short-lived, and b.) ultimately benefit them. These self-fulfilling prophecies can and do affect how they relate to people, how they persist in the face of failure, and their overall success (professionally and personally). If you aren’t confident in your abilities, how will employers be confident in you?
4.) Turn Bad Luck into Good.“Lucky people are able to transform their bad luck into good fortune.” Rather than dwelling on not getting the job or promotion, lucky people compare themselves to those who are less fortunate (“I’m thankful to have a job.”), they assume some good will come out of the event (“There’s a better opportunity coming up in a couple months”), and they persist forward, learning from their mistakes (“I’ll try for the promotion again in 6 months, and this time, I’ll make sure I have the data to demonstrate what I’ve done.”).
Shamrocks are always greener when you water them. Happy St. Patty’s Day!