Some people seem to have all the luck. They’re in the right place at the right time. They’re top of mind and chosen for the best assignments. And they just happen to make connections that end up advancing their career.
While luck seems like a random concept, it’s actually something that can be learned and increased, says Stephen Simpson, author of Get Lucky Now: The Proven 7 Secrets of Successful People. “If you open yourself up to the concept of luck, it often seems to find you,” he says. “A closed mind is one of the worse mind-sets to have.”
A London-based physician and “mind coach,” Simpson works with professional golf and poker players, helping them attract more luck in their lives. Through his research, he’s discovered that lucky people have similar practices and beliefs.
“A lot of these people do it unconsciously or had parents who were inspirational,” he says. “Others work at it.”
Whether you consider yourself to be lucky or not, there are things you can do to bring more health, wealth, happiness, and success into your life. Here are six activities that set the stage for lucky breaks:
1. Work On Developing Your Intuition
The most important secret to being luckier is developing skills of intuition, says Simpson. “Intuition, like any other skill, can be improved with practice,” he says. “Poet and author Robert Graves knew its value when he said, ‘Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer.'”
Instead of fussing with poker chips or worrying about the other players, Simpson says lucky poker players listen to their gut feelings. “The next step is trusting your intuition and acting on it,” he says. “Very often, when I talk to poker players, they say that their first feeling often turns out to be the right approach.”
2. Set Goals You Can Control
A lot is written about setting goals, but Simpson says most people don’t choose the right goals. “They’re too big and too far away,” he says. “Even though we would like to think otherwise, we’re all kids, and we would all rather have instant gratification.”
In 2014, Simpson started coaching professional poker player Chris Moorman, who had a goal to earn more money. Moorman shared that he was irritated by the things people were saying about him, as well as the distractions that go on in a poker tournament, neither of which he could control, says Simpson.
“Instead of setting a goal to earn more money, he set the goal of controlling his mental focus,” says Simpson. “He committed to giving every single hand his maximum attention to avoid mistakes. The amazing thing is that two weeks later, he won his first live event and over a million dollars.”
3. Expand Your Circles
“In the business world, as in movies, the big breaks flow through contacts between people,” writes Max Gunther in his book, How To Get Lucky. “Not necessarily close friendships, just contacts–sometimes tenuous ones,” he explains.
Your chances of getting a lucky break are in direct proportion to the number of people you know. Develop a network of friends and acquaintances at home and at work. Attend events with the goal of meeting one new person.
“Luck flows along linked chains of people until it hits targets,” Gunther writes.
Thor Muller and Lane Becker, authors of Get Lucky: How To Put Planned Serendipity to Work For You and Your Business, say this kind of motion is a basic element of serendipity.
“To move is to shake things up, to break out of your routine, to find new ways to consistently meet new people and run into new ideas,” they write. “Motion does not discriminate based on experience, IQ, or educational background–it simply rewards energetic, spontaneous action.”
4. Be Open To New Ideas
While long-range plans are helpful, it’s important to not take them seriously, says Gunther. Lucky people permit themselves to be distracted by ideas that are interesting and exciting.
“The lucky are aware that life is always going to be a turbulent sea of opportunities drifting randomly past in all directions,” he writes. “If you put blinders on yourself so that you can see only the straight ahead, you will miss nearly everything. A plan can be used as a kind of guide into the future, but should never be allowed to harden into a law.”
Luck is often about making connections no one else has. For example, Arthur Fry, cocreator of the Post-It Note, learned about the adhesive technology because he happened to attend a lecture given by the inventor, Becker said in an interview with Inc.
“So, for anyone looking to activate their geek brain (the part of the brain that has many curiosities), take steps to advance your education–in whatever shape that takes,” he said. “Be alert and be present, even when you’re doing nonwork-related activities. You never know where or when inspiration will strike.”
5. Get Your Head In The Game
Being able to visualize your success is one way to obtain it, says Simpson. He suggests developing a mantra, a few sentences that can act like your game plan. “I’ve got this,” for example, or “Because I can.”
A mantra, or positive affirmation, provides a single focus point, removes past and future, leaving only the present and the now, and enhances intuition, says Simpson. It also deals with distractions, highlights what is possible, and builds confidence.
“Although the concept appears so simple, it is an extremely powerful tool for the subconscious mind.”
6. Turn Negatives Into Positives
No matter how lucky someone is, they will have to deal with adversity. Instead of ruminating over bad luck, look for the bright side or the new opportunity that presents itself.
“True champions in the world of sport define themselves by how they turn the most terrible negative into a positive,” says Simpson.