By: Laura Walton AFC®
The saying’s origin is disputed. With a history of invasion, starvation and mass emigration, some say it mocks Ireland’s history of adversity. Or it may go back to California Gold Rush days when many fortunes were made by miners who happened to be Irish.
It may have been a derogatory term suggesting dumb luck but I’m guessing the Irish miners made their own luck. After all, those who survived a history of starvation and emigration had to be hard workers and super motivated.
Which brings us to “How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love and Life,” a recently published book by Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh.
These authors believe that luck is a combination of random chance, talent and hard work. They suggest four ways to make your own luck in a recent Wall Street Journal article:
Pay attention: I’ve seen this play out with goal setting. If you take the time to commit your goals to writing and flesh out an action plan to achieve them, it’s uncanny how opportunities then seem to present themselves – opportunities that you might have overlooked had you not been looking for ways to achieve your goals.
Get off the standard path: How many successful ideas were thought of as “too out there” by others? The article cites the success of American Idol after most network executives wouldn’t take a meeting to hear it pitched.
Change the odds: In the spirit of every failure bringing you closer to a success, the more attempts you make, the greater likelihood of a win. I’m thinking this was the key for the Irish miners.
Think yourself lucky: Sheer optimism is a key ingredient. It allows you to see failures as opportunities. The placebo effect of believing in yourself is powerful, helping you to push through obstacles and “make your own luck”.
Sometimes luck is just about being in the right place at the right time. We say “a rising tide lifts all boats” to describe speculators who make money in a rising market. Warren Buffett observed that “only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked” to suggest a speculator’s run of luck was just that, luck, not talent or hard work.
This concept goes way back. Roman philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 BC – 65 AD) said “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Need I say that financial security is a lot about preparation meeting opportunity.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day – go out and make your own luck!