Life & Beauty Weekly: Happy You
Get Lucky: How to Improve Your Fortune
By Carol Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly
Sometimes it feels like the people around you have all the luck, but you can’t seem to catch a break: Your best friend gets a raise that allows her to buy a new car, but your old minivan gets sideswiped in the parking lot.
“It’s not true that luck dictates your life,” explains Renee Meggs, registered psychologist. “Your thoughts influence your life, not luck. How we choose to perceive and respond to life’s events makes all the difference. Choosing to move on from a situation and figure out ways to help yourself is much more empowering than being devastated.”
What’s more, people we may call “lucky” weren’t just born under an auspicious star; rather, their actions and attitudes open them to the good turns in life. “Being mindful about what’s happening in your life — that is, living in the moment — can open you up to new possibilities,” says Meggs. Follow these expert tips to make your own luck — no four-leaf clovers or rabbit feet required.
Capitalize on Your Good Fortune
If you strike up a conversation with a parent at the playground whose company just happens to be hiring, you can chalk it up to luck. But it’s up to you to follow through. “It’s ultimately up to you!” says Meggs. “You have to take action to make good things happen in your life, not just wait for them to happen.” The next time you catch a break, make a list of follow-up steps that will make the most of that luck, and schedule time in your calendar to complete them.
Be Forever Curious
“People generally love to talk about themselves or share their knowledge of something,” says Meggs. “Asking a person all sorts of questions gives her the impression that you’re really enthusiastic and care about what she has to say.” For example, when you’re around someone you want to impress — such as a boss, a new friend or a potential client — ask questions and listen rather than showing off your knowledge. Being humble could get you a new donor to your charity or a favour from your town’s top real estate agent.
Think of People as Opportunities
Everyone you meet is a potential mentor, friend or coworker. The woman you meet at a cocktail party may run a nonprofit in a field you’re passionate about. The mom sitting next to you at the PTA meeting may be looking for someone to help her start a new business. But again, it’s up to you to make the most of your chances. “The power of networking can’t be underestimated,” says Meggs. “Just think about that power that social media like Facebook have on our lives and you’ll realize that conversations can make a big difference in finding out about opportunities and being able to act upon them.” So before you step away from a promising encounter, invite that person to coffee or set up a meeting. You’ll be surprised at the good fortune that will roll your way.
Put a Smile on Your Face
Happy people tend to be more successful, shows research from Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at University of California, Riverside, and author of The How of Happiness. Those with a sunny disposition are more likely to get the things that are often associated with “lucky” people: job interviews, a satisfying career, supportive friends, a healthy love life and better problem-solving abilities. Not naturally cheerful? Then try smile-inducing strategies, says Lyubomirsky. Keep a diary in which you imagine your best possible future. Do favours for friends and strangers alike. Pursue a goal that’s meaningful to you. You’ll be in a better mood and reap happiness’s good-luck benefits.
Talk About Your Good Fortune
Now that you’re on a lucky streak, talk up recent good surprises — without bragging. If you happen to get bumped up to first class, say to your seatmate, “I’m so grateful to stretch my legs!” instead of “It’s about time I got a good seat.” You just might attract more prosperity: “Being thankful and enthusiastic about things has the potential to build and enhance connection with others,” says Meggs. Also remember to send a thank-you note afterwards to anyone who helped you. They’ll be more likely to lend a hand in the future. This advice won’t help you win Lotto Max, but with so much good fortune, who needs the lotto?