What Makes Success? Luck vs. Hard Work
Spoiler: Luck has nothing to do with it.
We hear it all the time — “today’s your lucky day!”
But what if every day could be your lucky day? Even the most normal day can be turned into a lucky one. But how? Well, unfortunately it doesn’t involve finding a bunch of right-side-up pennies or following a leprechaun to the end of a rainbow, if that’s what you’re thinking. Put away your metal detectors, stop wishing on all those eyelashes, and certainly stop following short strangers dressed in green trying to find a pot of gold. The only thing you need to make yourself luckier is you — and we’ll explain how.
Get to Work
One of the ways to make yourself luckier is to work hard. Put some time and effort towards your goals and dreams and you’ll notice they’ll start coming true (learn the 5 Step Goal Setting Process). It sounds cliché, but it’s true! It might not pay off in the way you expect, but it will surely improve your luck in the long run. For example, if you’re working really hard on your career, you might not see the effects of your networking efforts or overtime hours right away. However, soon you’ll have a “lucky” day where your boss surprises you with a raise or you’re approached for an incredible job opportunity because they’ve heard so much about you! As it’s said, “luck is the residue of design” — which means you have to set yourself up to get lucky (with hard work). For instance, The Beatles didn’t luckily get popular on the Ed Sullivan show. Instead, they worked hard and logged over 1700 hours playing together before ever performing on tv (most bands don’t play that much in their whole career). Sure the band was exceptionally talented, but their massive success was fueled by their incredible work ethic.
So stop that Netflix binge (for now) and get to work! Your favorite reality TV show will still be there waiting after you’ve taken on some of your goals. Plus, it’s way more rewarding to treat yourself to your lazy day perks when you’ve got all your to-do list items checked off for the day.
Make Good Habits
Along with working hard, if you want to improve your luck it’s important to develop good habits (check out our Guide to Habit Tracking). If your habits include littering, spitting on babies, and being mean to service workers — then you probably won’t have many positive things come your way (also you won’t make any friends and might be arrested). However, if your habits include waking up at the same time each day, exercising a few times a week, and taking time for yourself to unwind, then you’re setting yourself up for a whole pot of luck. For example, when you see someone who is “lucky” enough to be in great shape, it’s likely not luck — it’s their habits. Four-time Olympic gold medal winner and US Gymnast Simone Biles didn’t wake up feeling lucky one morning and realize she knew how to do flips and tricks that amaze us all — she sticks to a strict regiment of good habits including waking up at 7am, training for five hours a day, and eating healthy for all her meals.
By keeping good habits we naturally are invested in bettering ourselves, and will inevitably see positive results from these habits. The “lucky” benefits might not happen immediately, but practicing these habits will make you happier and in turn will make you feel luckier when even the smallest of good things come your way!
Turn It Around
Sometimes you’re in a rut. From stubbing your toe to spilling coffee on your lap, some days seem to be filled with just plain bad luck. While it might be hard (or even torturous) to do at first, look for ways in which that bad luck is actually good luck! Yes, you might have spilled your coffee, but it gave you an excuse to take a mid-morning break to walk to the nearest shop and treat yourself to a new cup. Who knows, maybe the shop is offering free coffees today or you’ll run into a friend and it’ll brighten your day. A real-life example of finding the positive in a negative situation is Author J.K. Rowling, who was frustrated when her train was delayed four hours, but used the situation as inspiration for a book series called “Harry Potter” which went on to change her life for the better. When things are gloomy, or just plain unlucky, remember that a refreshing dose of good luck might be just around the corner.
The last method for improving your luck comes from Harry Styles, The King of Kindness. What does a pop star have to do with good luck? Nothing, but one of his songs, “Treat People with Kindness”, has a great message that you should incorporate into your life. Each day, perform a random act of kindness for someone else. This doesn’t mean you have to empty your bank account each day just to make someone else feel good (in fact, we recommend against that) — acts of kindness are impactful, no matter how small! Venmo a friend $5 for a quick cup of coffee or ask the elderly in your building if they need help with anything. When you share positivity and kindness with others, that kindness comes back to you. Plus, by making someone else’s day brighter you’re adding more positivity to the universe! It sounds cheesy, and definitely a little otherworldly, but inserting some extra kindness into the world you’ll notice more “lucky” things happen to you.
Take these tips to heart and start making every day your lucky day. Even if you take one small action each day, be grateful and happy that this lucky little sign of your hard work and efforts came your way. You don’t have to have the luck of the Irish — you can just have the luck of you!