28th August 2007

Timeliness..

Yeah, in that previous post I really should’ve stated which Monday I was talking about!

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve realised that luck is related, very closely, to positivity and attitude in general. How we perceive the world around us, and how we react to our perceptions and experiences, appears to be the engine that drives our luck.

I can’t say that I understand it to the point where I can express it fluently, but I’ll try.

There is no such thing as good luck or bad luck. These are just terms we use to describe or explain events and opportunities that happen to us. The more positive we are, the more these events will appear as good luck. The more negative we are, the more they appear as bad luck. It’s our perception, understanding and inner thoughts that determine whether or not luck is good or bad.

I’m spending this week getting ready for two weeks in the Floridian sunshine. A much needed holiday and my brother’s flying down from Portland for the last weekend. While I’m there I’ll be working on ideas for this site because, honestly, it didn’t work out the way I planned it!

But hey, I tried and I’ll try again. Few changes here and there, new attitude, new experiences, and when I get my tanned backside home, a new beginning..

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27th July 2007

Update 2

Okay, it’s been longer than I expected or even thought.

Back properly from Monday. Well, that’s the plan.. :wink:

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18th June 2007

Update

The more observant of you will have noticed that there’s been very little added over the past couple of weeks. There’s a reason for that. You see, the more that I think about luck the more I realise that it’s not as simple as the book makes out.

I was preparing a post about how I was building the practical exercises into my everyday life. How I was going to improve my luck. As I was writing it out on paper my mind wandered. I started to realise that the relationship between luck and my personality was more complex than I first thought. That improving my luck was just one thing that I needed to change out of many.

So since then I’ve been doing a lot of writing and probably too much thinking. I find writing a cathartic experience and prefer to do so on paper. I can’t type as fast as my thoughts want me to, and seeing my minds ramblings flow onto paper is soothing.

It’s also a lot cheaper than a therapist.

I’m not quite finished. For every answer that I find within myself I come across another question. But for me it’s been an experience. I feel that I’m clearing the decks and getting down to the basics. I should’ve done this a long time ago.

Luck, I realise, is one way in which personality and attitude manifest themselves. To change my luck, I need to change my attitude and outlook. The luck exercises are only one part of that, albeit an interesting part.

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6th June 2007

Luck Principle 4: Just do it

So we finally reach the fourth principle of luck: turning all that bad, bad luck into good luck.

Principle Four: Turn your bad luck into good

  1. Lucky people see the positive side of their bad luck
  2. Lucky people are convinced that any bad luck in their life will, in the long run, work out for the best
  3. Lucky people do not dwell on their ill fortune
  4. Lucky people take positive steps to prevent more bad luck in the future

Yes, I’m going to repeat myself here but the key word in there is positive. It’s mentioned twice in the sub-principles, so that tells us something. And this principle is about how lucky people turn their bad luck into good luck, and how they manage it.

Lucky people see the positive side of their bad luck
Imagine you’re in a car accident. The guy behind has driven into the back of you, and while you’re unharmed the car’s badly damaged. Good luck or bad luck?

The unlucky people would consider this bad luck. Someone hit them after all and damaged their car. The lucky people consider this good luck because they weren’t hurt or even killed.

To me, this is about perspective. You might think of it as looking for the silver lining on the cloud, but it’s the same thing. It’s about stopping, standing back, looking at the situation and realising how things could be worse.

As an example, when the front springs went on my car I was gutted. Big repair bills after all. But looking back, the good luck was that I wasn’t driving on the motorway at time. If I had been, then hey, I might not be writing this.

Lucky people are convinced that any bad luck in their life will, in the long run, work out for the best
Again, this is (for me anyway), about keeping a sense of perspective.

I don’t hide the fact that I have a large amount of debt. However, I know that in ten years time it won’t be an issue (and if it is then damn, I’m really doing something wrong), because there are ways to solve it. I know that I’m going to get a good, well paying job offshore. And the hardships that I’m experiencing at the moment are teaching me some important lessons about the value of relationships, family and money.

So really, the bad luck that I’m experiencing is setting me up nicely for the future. The only issue I have with myself is my tendency to dwell on the past, which leads us on nicely to..

Lucky people do not dwell on their ill fortune
Ah, the ability to let go of whatever’s happened in the past.

Lucky people, or positive people if you wish, have the ability to shrug their shoulders, accept what’s happened and either move on or deal with their bad luck. They can also see the silver lining in the situation and use it constructively. My girlfriend’s very good at this and it’s a quality that I admire in her.

Unfortunately, I’m the opposite. My past lays heavy on my mind and I find it difficult to let go. I see the bad luck and the ill fortune and struggle to find the positive. I keep thinking “if only I’d done this”, and that’s a very negative, destructive trait.

So the secret is acceptance. Lucky people accept the past, take from it what they can and move on.

Lucky people take positive steps to prevent more bad luck in the future
Tying in nicely with the last one, lucky people learn from their mistakes and bad luck and make sure they do something about it. Unlucky people don’t.

Lucky people will do something to improve their situation or to stop whatever’s happened from happening again. There’s an element of perspective, self understanding and perseverance that makes them improve their chances and increase their luck.

Unlucky people tend to either give up or blame their misfortune on someone else. They don’t persevere or take responsibility. Something that I’m guilty of as well.

Exercises to improve your luck score

My score in my luck profile for this principle was a low 9.

But again, I lack perspective, don’t persevere, haven’t learned from my mistakes and prefer to blame others or bad luck for my situation instead of taking responsibility for myself. All very negative traits and weaknesses, so I’m thankful I didn’t score lower!

Treasure in the trash
Lucky people see the positive side of their bad luck, unlucky people don’t.

The idea here is to think about what’s happened and then ask yourself a couple of questions. Does it really matter in the long run? How could it have been worse? Will it affect me in ten years?

If you can force yourself to find the positive in the negative, the silver lining, then you can start to regain perspective. I like to write things down on paper, I find it very cathartic. It’s not always easy but it’s helped. I just need to do it more.

A phoenix from the ashes
This suggestion from the book is an interesting one to do when you’re relaxed.

Get yourself comfy, close your eyes and think about what’s gone wrong. Now think about the good luck that might flow from the bad luck. You might not have got the job you went for but hey, you can apply for something better now. Be creative. Imagine the next job pays twice as much and think of the things you could do.

And ask yourself two questions - what evidence is there to suggest that the positive events won’t happen? And what evidence is there to suggest that something even better won’t come from your bad luck? None.

The future’s a damn big place and it’s all unwritten, so go for it.

Distraction
The BBC has a wonderful thing called the Brain Map.

Apparently, a tiny little bit in the centre called the amygdala is responsible for negative emotions. The way to beat it into submission is by keeping busy.

I’m not a psychologist, but this makes sense. When you’re busy you don’t focus on the problems, you focus on the task. And I believe it’s the same for luck. By doing something that makes you feel better or lets you vent your negative emotions, then you give yourself a release and don’t dwell on your bad luck.

It could be watching a movie (make it a funny one), listening to music, exercising, washing the car, or even beating up a pillow. Just do something to distract yourself!

The Five Step Plan
I like this idea from the book. The theory is that there’s always something you can do to improve a situation by planning it.

First, you never assume that there’s nothing you can do. Make a decision to take control and don’t be a victim of bad luck.

Second, do something now. Don’t put it off, just do it.

Third, list your options and be creative. If something hasn’t worked before then think differently. Even if it’s absurd or stupid, list it and let your imagination run free. The more options and solutions you have then the better.

Fourth, look at your list and make a decision on how you’re going to move forward. Consider the pro’s and con’s of each solution or idea you listed and think about how easy or long it’ll take to implement. Think about the outcomes, your ability to do each, the skills you have.

Five, make a start. Once you’ve made a decision then you’ll feel better and it’ll give you something to focus on.

Summary

For me, this is one of the most important sections in the book as it focusses on the areas where I know I fall down.

Over the past 18 months I’ve become more of a thinker than a doer, and the thinking’s led into procrastination and a very negative, destructive attitude. I am my own worst enemy!

The ideas in this section are simple: lucky people have perspective and attitudes that allow them to deal with their bad luck. They have a positive mindset that lets them accept ill fortune, learn from it, and move on. They know that in the long run life will get better. That bad luck is just a blip.

Unlucky people don’t have that. They have a mindset similar to my own at the moment and that’s what I’ll be working to change.

Now if I can only find someone to blame for the weather today I’ll feel so much better..

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5th June 2007

Luck Principle 3: Believe in luck

Okay, it’s been a few days but I can now post with perfect ease!

Anyway, the third luck principle - expecting good fortune - is long overdue so, if you’re sitting comfortably, we’ll get started.

Principle Three: Expect fortune

  1. Lucky people expect their good luck to continue in the future
  2. Lucky people attempt to achieve their goals, even if the chances of success seem slim, and persevere in the face of failure
  3. Lucky people expect their interactions with others to be lucky and successful

Now stop and have a think about each sub-principle and you’ll notice that, like everything else so far, each one’s positive. Expecting good fortune is a positive state of mind.

In the book, the exercises on positive and negative expectations fall under this chapter. You shouldn’t be surprised to find out that the people who were more positive were also luckier. There’s a common thread here that’s worth pulling!

Lucky people expect their good luck to continue in the future
We all have an idea as to what the future holds for us. When things are going well it’s positive, when they aren’t it can be more negative.

But the key here is that lucky people believe that if they suffer bad luck it’s a blip in the grand scheme of things. Lucky people believe that, no matter what happens, they’ll continue to be lucky in the future. How simple is that?

Well okay, not that simple if you’re one of the unlucky people, but later in this post we’ll look at ways of changing that.

Essentially, it’s a power of expectation and self-belief. If you believe in something then, chances are, you’ll find a way of making it happen. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and I know that I’m very guilty of not believing in the future.

Lucky people attempt to achieve their goals and persevere in the face of failure
Simplified, this means keep trying.

When I talked about the first luck principle, I said that you had to be in it to win it. For example, if you didn’t play the lottery then you couldn’t expect to win it. This is the same idea.

If you give up playing the lottery because you never win anything then you’ve no chance of winning. But if you persevere, even if it’s only £1 a week, then you automatically increase your chances.

Lucky people don’t give up. That sounds like a mantra that you expect to find on a motivational poster, but it’ true. With perseverance, determination and strong self belief you can achieve what might appear to be miracles. But all your doing is increasing your chances and reaping the benefits.

Lucky people expect their interactions with others to be lucky and successful
This relates, for me, very closely to the first sub principle here. And also the second when I think about it.

Lucky people expect things to go their way. They expect the best of people. They don’t even consider that something might go wrong because they know what they want and they go for it.

Their expectations have the power to create the outcome they desire. Because they believe in themselves, in the future and in others.

Exercises to improve your luck score

My score in my luck profile for this principle was a lowly 7.

No surprise for me because I don’t believe in a lucky future, I don’t persevere and I don’t expect the best of other people. I am a career procrastinator. So what can we do to change this?

Affirm your luck
The book suggests that each day you repeat the following to yourself:

  • I am a lucky person and today is going to be another lucky day

  • I know that I can be even luckier in the future
  • I deserve good luck and will receive some good fortune today

By telling yourself that you’re going to be lucky, you start to improve your belief in luck. And apparently it works a treat!

Set your goals
Take a piece of paper and list your short, medium and long term goals.

Avoid generic goals like “be happy” or “get rich”. Be specific. If you want to be happy then think about what would make you happy. If it’s a holiday, where do you want to go? And when.

Break each goal down in detail so you know exactly what you want and when you want it. I suggest that you then take each goal and think about the steps you need to take to achieve it, and write them down.

Sometimes the simple act of writing can be a release in its own right.

Cost-benefit analysis
I find this works very well with the last exercise so we’ll use that to help us.

Take one of your goals, write it down, and under it make two columns. One headed cost, the other benefit.

Imagine you achieve your goal or dream. Write down the benefits it will bring in the benefits column. Now think about what you need to do to achieve the goal, and write them down in the costs column. Then look at the two lists and, according to the book anyway, the benefits should outweigh the costs and encourage you to go for your dreams.

Two seconds
Got a problem? Something not working out? Then stop and breathe.

Take two seconds to clear your mind, or two minutes to make a cup of tea, but leave the problem and do something else that’s a little more calming. Then come back to the problem and see what happens.

Visualise good fortune
This is another use for the relaxation techniques that I talked about in another post.

Sit in a quiet place, in a comfy chair, and visualise the future when you’re bestowed with good luck. Think about something specific if you want, like your dream job and what it’s going to be like. Or making a phone call to someone and how you want it to turn out.

And then do it!

Summary

The book goes into a lot more detail than I have, but personally this principle is the one where I probably stand to make most gains.

I’ve never expected good fortune, and in general I don’t. But by changing the way you think then it should be possible to improve your luck. I believe that I want to make this a success and I suppose I’m already changing: I persevered when I hit the problems with the server instead of giving up.

Like the other principles this is about having a positive attitude to life, situations and other people. It’s self belief, confidence and assuredness. It’s about being the kind of person most of us want to be and just getting on with it.

As the German proverb quoted in the book says, no one is luckier than he who believes in his luck.

How very true.

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29th May 2007

Changing perceptions

Here’s an example of how I’m trying to change my perception of luck.

To fix these posting and access issues, a reinstall of Wordpress is needed. Normally, I’d go around thinking “just my luck”, and get really annoyed about it.

However, I now see this as an opportunity to back up the site (which I rarely do), and to install the latest version of Wordpress. It might mean taking the site down for a while, but in the long run it should give me more stability and fewer problems.

And I’m actually a little bit proud of this change in attitude. It’s a small step, but it’s a start on a long journey.

Not only that, because this little experiment hasn’t quite worked out the way I wanted it to, it gives me a chance to change a few things.

Normally I’d give up and walk away from it. Instead, I’ll try and get the last ‘background’ details up and posted before the weekend. That way, the groundwork’s been done and I can spend the next few weeks concentrating on the practical aspects.

That’s the theory, so we’ll see what happens when theory meets real life..

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27th May 2007

Pass me another spanner!

For the second week in a row, problems logging into Wordpress and the server.

The server’s serving perfectly, but it ain’t letting anyone in. Again.

One of the principles of luck states that lucky people never give up in the face of adversity. They just keep on going until they overcome the situation. Perseverance is a good thing so I’ll keep trying. Damn frustrating though..

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23rd May 2007

Luck Diary: 18th-22nd May

The past few days good luck:

  • Heard of a couple of companies recruiting offshore
  • The Girl got £180 back from her lottery fund at work
  • Got the house valued and it’s climbing steadily
  • Sent off my CV for a few more general jobs
  • The Girls parents fed us. Again!

Having been unable to post properly here, or even access Wordpress, I’ve realised that I’m too dependant on technology these days!

Problem sorted anyway, and it’s given me a chance to rethink a few things. Small changes afoot..

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21st May 2007

Pass me a spanner!

It’s amazing how dependant we’ve become on technology, and how lost we feel without it.

Server problems and connection problems all weekend, and while most have been fixed it’s still taking an hour to load one small post. Go get a coffee and enjoy the sunshine..

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17th May 2007

Luck Diary: 17th May

Today’s good luck:

  • Applied for three dive support jobs
  • Sent off my CV for five general jobs
  • The Girls parents again cooked again

I slept on the job decision from yesterday and decided that I wasn’t going to go for it.

I find the agency concerned rude, unhelpful and arrogant. I did think it possible that my experience on the phone had coloured my judgement, but I’m going to trust my instinct. And after I’d made the call I definitely felt better.

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