Education & Career Trends: March 19, 2023
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Article by Mitch Horowitz, published on Medium.com
All my life, I’ve been fascinated with the question of good luck. I believe that what we call luck or fortuitous circumstance is not blind chance but rather a network of causative factors, which can be identified and cultivated.
As the 1908 occult classic The Kybalion puts it: “Chance is merely a term indicating cause existing but not recognized or perceived.” This is close in nature to chaos theory, although the word complexity might be substituted for the chance.
In matters of luck, here are 10 rules:
1. Luck Is Learnable
We have difficulty saying what luck really is. Good or bad luck could be seen merely as an accident. Yet barring extreme exceptions, is anything truly accidental when cause-and-effect are detectable behind every event, even if only afterwards?
Obviously, no one can control the myriad and vast factors behind every occurrence. Yet certain practices and habits regularly improve good luck or put differently, sway circumstances. This is true even when the recipient is unconscious of what is occurring.
Talent and intellect matter; but pivotal events in people’s lives, and sometimes the arc of their entire adulthoods, result from the presence or absence of the practices and disciplines considered here.
If followed, these practices place motivated people into the current of destiny or flow of good luck.
2. Cultivate Chemistry
Never take for granted the powers of relationship and collaboration. Things we attribute to talent alone are, in reality, due to the intangible but vital chemistry that arises from complementary efforts, well-balanced weaknesses and strengths, personal affinities, and shared visions. It also arises from being in the profit centre of a particular business.
Good chemistry is good luck. Scan your life for it. When you find or already have it, value and maintain it. Flee from the opposite.
3. Get Noticed
You cannot profit from opportunities unless other people, including those of influence, know who you are and what you are doing. This does not mean becoming a slave to social media or a tiresome self-promoter. Rather, you must honestly and plainly make clear to others your actions and enthusiasm.
Getting noticed and taking responsibility are more likely, in the long run, to place you in the stream of recognition and good luck. If you step up to take responsibility there may be times when you get saddled with the blame. And there may be occasions where blame is unfairly pinned on you. But even this can be a reminder of a lucky practice: taking credit when it is given.
4. Prepared Minds Win
In 1854, the pioneering scientist and germ theorist Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) said in a lecture at the University of Lille in Northern France: “In the fields of observation chance favours only the prepared mind.” Preparation heightens all fortuitous chance factors around you; it ensures that you’ll be in the proper mental state to notice, receive, and benefit from opportunities.
You should know and be reasonably versed in every aspect of your field, even as you focus on a niche or speciality within it. Be aware of current technology and developments. Above all, be an absolute expert within your area of focus. Practice your craft as a martial artist repeatedly runs a routine to the point where it becomes part of his or her innate knowledge.
5. Persistence Beats Odds
If persistence possesses some hidden power, it is this: runs of luck, whether good or bad, always reverse. And in work situations, people are far likelier to recognise you for the good runs than the bad. One success can outweigh several failures. That may be irrational but it is how many workplaces function.
Hence, it behoves you to stick with things. Or at least those for which you are well suited and personally enjoy. The wheel of fortune will inevitably turn your way. And the gains you reap — especially as a prepared person — outweigh what you lose when the opposite occurs.
6. ‘No’ Is Not Always Final
Always remember: Conditions can change and then the answer changes.
This doesn’t mean being a pest or badgering people — much less sticking around people who don’t appreciate or get you, which is distinctly unlucky. It means keeping open lines of communication and maintaining sound relationships so you can always reapproach someone.
Essayist Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) wrote in his “Credo” in 1912: “I believe that when I part with you I must do it in such a way that when you see me again you will be glad — and so will I.”
Conditions in business and other facets of life change or reverse all the time. If you have the capacity to reapproach people, and the presence of mind to do so, you can benefit from those changes. Or as a music industry executive once told me: “Be a pest, but be a nice pest.”
7. Do Not Confuse Enthusiasm with Optimism
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) famously wrote in his 1841 essay “Circles”: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Absent enthusiasm, every task is menial. But never confuse enthusiasm with blind optimism. Indeed, enthusiasm coupled with watchful wariness forms a potent combination.
You will never regret giving in to that creeping feeling that something may be off. Assuming the worst and rechecking or resaving work will, at one time or another, rescue an important assignment, presentation, legal matter, or exam. Luck favours the pessimistic enthusiast.
8. Recognise Others
Rather than merely avoiding offence, you should actively buildup people — sincerely and when properly due. Get in the habit of thanking people and recognising their contribution to a project, and do so in cold, hard cash when the occasion calls for it.
Saying thank you is not just a matter of courtesy and ethics, although it is both. By recognising other people, privately and publicly, you allow them to feel that they benefit from your success and you give them a stake in its continuance.
9. Act Quickly
“Time dissipates energy.” When presented with a good chance — move on it. Slowness dampens or negates opportunities.
Quick and decisive action should not be confused with impulsiveness. If you are following all of the rules laid out here you will not fall victim to blind impulse. You will have sufficient information about yourself and your surroundings so that you can act intelligently and quickly when the wheel of fortune stops where you are standing.
Intuition arises from amassing and storing a huge amount of information so that when the chance arrives the prepared person has “data banks” on which to rely.
10. Help ‘Fate’ Find You, or Show Up
Are you reliable? A large part of what makes someone reliable is the simple but vital act of showing up and doing so on time. You have no idea how fully other people notice and judge you by this.
In today’s culture, people feel at ease bailing on commitments, whether family, social or work-related, for nearly any reason. The need to run an errand is not a sufficient excuse. Busyness is not a sufficient excuse (at least usually). Nor is feeling a bit under-the-weather. We as a culture are, I believe, too self-coddling. We deem things urgent that are merely passing.
As philosopher Jacob Needleman (1934–2022) said “The only real emergency is a medical emergency.”
Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)