Some people consider themselves lucky, others do not. There’s a whole world of luck-related pop psych out there, some of it common sense, some of it less so. Google ‘lucky charms and amulets’ for that one.
Yet, research has shown that a lot of luck boils down to a series of attitudes in that lucky people tend to:
- Follow their intuition and explore their feelings. The old gut reaction wins here.
- Do not depend on routines and are open to variety and take chances
- Have a positivity about them, even when their luck is down. A broken leg is bad luck, but it’s a lot better than two broken legs…you get my drift.
The point is that unless you are prepared to open yourself up to luck, it’s unlikely to happen.
So how does that explain the colleague I have who somehow manages to win a raffle prize every single time he’s in the same room as me at some charity event? I’ve seen this happen time and again. Okay, I’ve never subjected it to statistical analysis, but out of the last 4 events, he’s won something at every one. And usually more than one prize. Is it possible that some people are simply born lucky? Or, on the other hand, born unlucky?
Thought processes such as these tend to occupy authors. I won’t pretend that this wasn’t part of the fertilizer that helped the germ of an idea grow into The 400Lb Gorilla, the blurb for which begins with , “Matt Danmore is unlucky. Smashed up in a car accident and told that his missing girlfriend is the figment of an addled brain. Fate must be having a damned good laugh.”
So, was it luck that made me think about luck the day I thought up the idea? When discussions around generating ideas for writing come up, sentences like, ‘It isn’t a matter of luck” are used in order to quash the idea that authors somehow have a kind of magical gift. And yet, when the techniques for generating ideas are examined, some of them have distinct parallels with what we know about lucky people. For example, in a Writers Digest post about finding ‘Great writing Ideas’, the list includes:
- Mine your emotions–find the common link between you and other people who hate changing their passwords for example
- Follow alternative paths–try out a different route to work.
- Cultivate weirdos–strike up conversations with strangers (But be careful not to become that weirdo yourself!!)
But aren’t the last two exactly what research shows increases your chance of being lucky proactively? The point is that luck does play a part because the human mind is an idea generator, sparking off thoughts at the rate of…Yes, well, Google that one, too, and you’ll get all sorts of meaningless numbers. But it’s a lot. And are we even aware of how many thoughts and ideas we have every day? Of course not. Luckily, we have a data bank that stores them even when we aren’t looking.
That’s why you can wake up first thing in the morning with the answer to that nagging problem that’s been gnawing at you for weeks. Unlike your conscious mind that does the bare minimum and lets go of anything irrelevant, your subconscious keeps processing problems from the day it receives them to the day it gets an answer. Millions of thoughts processed day and night, even when you’re asleep.
So what has this to do with luck? The fact is that for most of us, luck is in effect a state of mind. An attitude to life. So it is possible to be luckier if you change your pattern of thinking and behaviour. That’s a given. So, come on, get weird.
Unless, of course, you believe that it is something else. Something that’s out there, unseen, waiting for you to plug into and control if you have the ability. In The 400Lb Gorilla, Matt Danmore has to come to terms with this idea. Except for him, the stakes are a bit higher than simply winning a raffle ticket. As it says on the cover;
Sometimes you have to make your own luck, or die trying.