Most entrepreneurs share a belief about fortune: that you make your own luck.
This self-fulfilling prophesy is backed up by science.
- Keep moving. First, any successful entrepreneur will tell you that it’s all about doing things. And statistics tell us that the more things you try, the more chances you have of being “lucky” – that is, stumbling upon an amazing idea or opportunity. Dr. James Austin talks about how “stirring the pot” by a lot of activity keeps you much more open to certain kinds of luck. For entrepreneurs, a huge component of this is not merely doing things, but being curious enough to try new things and then ask why they do or don’t work.
- Think lucky. The research of many scientists show that your attitude and behaviour can make you lucky. One great example is Professor Richard Wiseman’s research into the differences between people who see themselves as consistently lucky, and those who think they’re always unlucky. Wiseman discovered that “lucky” people tended to be more open to the kind of possibilities that seem like luck. In one of his experiments, he had people look for photographs in a newspaper where he had hidden a secret message. The people who considered themselves “lucky” tended to find the secret message – which awarded them money – whereas the unlucky people didn’t.
- Don’t stress. According to Wiseman’s research, “unlucky” people had much higher levels of anxiety. Obviously if everything in your life seems to be unlucky, it stresses you out! But in particular Wiseman found that unlucky people set rigid goals. Maybe Cathy’s so intent on finding a job as a copy writer with a big company that she doesn’t realize the Director of Marketing position with a small firm would be even more perfect for her.
- Expertise and experience make you lucky. Part of being lucky is knowing what to spot. Joey, who’s been playing video games his entire life, can probably spot a potential winner better than Fred, who thinks video games are for snotty brats. Dr. Austin points to the discovery of penicillin as an example of this combination of experience and expertise.
- Weird personal quirks help. Having strange tastes can often open you up to seeing possibilities that others wouldn’t. If ever Fred came across a video game that he did like, this could be a sign that the game could appeal to a whole new blue ocean, a demographic that had previously been uninterested in games.
- Listen to your gut. Not only is your gut often right, but by following your intuition you’ll feel less stressed, and be more open to new possibilities.