The 7 Things Really Lucky People Actually Do | Inc.com
You see another person, a rival sports team, or especially a Bush or a Clinton enjoy extraordinary fortune and you hiss through your teeth: “Lucky baskets.” Well, that’s how it sounds when hissed through teeth.
Golfer Gary Player insisted: “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.” This is, of course, complete nonsense. Plenty of golfers practiced just as hard as Player and saw nowhere near his success or riches.
Sadly, cliches such as this get repeated ad infinitum, until they’re an ad for infinite vacuousness.
So I’d like to offer my own thoughts culled from observing the luckiest people I know. And I know quite a few people who are very lucky indeed. And, yes, don’t be fooled — luck exists.
1. They Bother To Know Themselves Quite Well. Player knew he was good at golf. He knew that by adding a little more practice, he’d raise his chances of good fortune. However, if it was practice that made him so lucky, why did he always wear black? He claimed it was his branding device. I could easily make the case that if he’d gone out in all red, all the practice in the world wouldn’t have helped his luck. Wearing red would have got inside his head. Lady Luck (or, as he was actually arguing, the lack of it) would have left him for another man. No, the lucky people I know bother to understand themselves quite well and rarely waste their time trying to achieve things they know they won’t achieve.
2. They Look At The World As If It Makes No Sense. Another great supposed sporting truth that’s been adopted by business people to the point of nausea was uttered by Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is gonna be, not where it has been.” Many interpret this as some uncanny second sight, an instant permutation of all the possible outcomes of a play and a calculation of where the puck is likeliest to end up. Your human hockey algorithm. (It’s a wonder he doesn’t work for Google now.) How clever if that were true. I suspect much of the truth lies in Gretzky simply not skating to where you might expect the puck to go. He can’t possibly have known the puck would turn up at his stick. What he knew was that life is not rational — it’s faintly silly, even — so he had instincts that took him to unusual places and hoped the breaks would come his way. Many of the lucky people I know have an astoundingly sanguine view of logic and allow its opposite to frequently enter their lives.
3. They Don’t Get Hurt. You can take this in literal sports terms, if you like. LeBron James is enormously talented and has a very fortunate life. But if he’d suffered two ACLs like so many other players, you wouldn’t think he was so lucky at all. But look at this at the emotional level. Those who are oversensitive, Prima-Donnaish, instantly reactive, whiny and are known to headbutt people in bars rarely seem to enjoy good fortune. It’s almost as if their actions preclude it. Lucky people seem to have a way not to internalize too deeply the bad things that come their way. This leaves them far more emotional energy to accept opportunities when they actually come along — even when they might not be sure that what’s come along is actually an opportunity. (The one exception to this observation is, of course, John McEnroe, a wonderfully raging Prima Donna. Although, if he’d got injured, he wouldn’t have been lucky at all.)
4. They Naturally Like People. This isn’t necessarily easy. People can be brutal, vindictive and have more faces than the Apple Watch. Lucky people, though, seem to accept the existence of others and not sweat excessively the difficulties that others can bear as gifts. In business, therefore, lucky people are prepared for opportunities to come from more sources. The sources might, to some, seem shiftier than a $7 bill. However, luck by its very definition is unexpected. If you stay in your lane, you’re cutting out many possibilities. If you happily drift beyond it, you never know what luck you might find.
5. They’re Not Lazy. I’ve never heard any of the truly lucky people I know say: “I can’t be bothered.” This doesn’t mean that they buzz about the planet insistently being active, proactive, super-active and actively annoying. They work. They often get up early and have a good internal organization of the mind. But they instinctively allocate the appropriate amount of energy for every purpose. I don’t think they think about it too much. I think they have a certain mental balance. This, in turn, exudes a certain mystical air that allows others to breathe in their presence without feeling as if the air won’t be sucked dry any moment.
6. They Have Really Nice Kids. Teenagers are like advertising. Half of them are a waste, you just rarely know which half. One thing I’ve noticed about truly lucky, successful people is that their teenagers are a pleasure to be with. They’re intelligent and curious without being slapworthy brats. They’re also extremely aware of their parents’ shortcomings — and the ways in which those parents have been lucky — and can chuckle at them without brutishness. These kids have a way of thinking for themselves and deciding what their own life should be. There is a palpable difference between the purely successful adults and the truly successful and fortunate ones. You can see it in their kids.
7. When You Accuse Them Of Being Lucky, They Admit It. Why am I reminded of President Obama offering: “If you’ve been successful, you know you didn’t get there on your own”? Too many successful people in business truly believe they did it themselves. Their heads are larger than Greece’s debt. They bring their kids up to think they’re great as well. American individualistic culture encourages this. The media’s quite fond of painting pictures around this idea too. The truly lucky, though, are extremely aware of all the things that could have gone wrong. They know that the winds blew their way without them necessarily knowing these winds were even coming. Ours is a society that adores post-rationalization, wants to find the reasons why something occurred. The lucky look around and go: “Phew, let’s open a bottle of Amphora Sangiovese.”