Once during a job interview I was asked, “Do you think you are lucky?” I remember being irritated with the question when it was asked and wondering if the person read online that that was a good question to ask in an interview. I did not see how it pertained to the work or why it would indicate whether or not I was a good fit for the job. I had been job searching for a little while and recall thinking, “Well, if I were lucky, wouldn’t I have found a job by now.”
Since then I have thought about that question and realized that it does work as a job interview question, because being lucky is more about a mindset than anything else. Briefly put – those who think they are lucky are more likely to be lucky. So much of luck is about having a positive outlook and believing that things will work out for you. It is a little bit about how we set the intention for something and then believe it will happen. It is about seeing the potential in something and remaining open to things even when you might feel as though the universe is sending you signs on the contrary.
Make Your Own Luck in Psychology Today explains just this – that the way in which we approach things have a direct effect on whether or not we are indeed lucky. The article highlights five points that you can do to make yourself more lucky:
- See Serendipity Everywhere
- Prime Yourself for Chance
- Go Ahead, Slack Off!
- Say Yes
- Embrace Failure
One of the points that resonated with me the most was the following:
Conscientiousness is no friend to serendipity. A ‘big five’ personality trait, it’s strongly associated with achievement. ‘Conscientiousness means you do what you’re supposed to do, and you stick with it,’ explains Carol Sansone, professor of psychology at the University of Utah. Problem is, conscientious people will persist in a task even when there’s no good reason to do so. This may explain why it’s possible to ‘try too hard.’ By rigidly pouring all of your effort into one approach, you miss out on unexpected—but more direct—paths to success…Allow yourself to stray off-task sometimes. We need to be loose to become aware of hidden opportunities…
Some say that the term “luck of the Irish” originated not in Ireland, but in America. Many Irish miners were striking gold and silver in the mines of the American West, and since they were commonly seen as being rather unlucky people (just study a bit of Irish history and you can see why) the term stuck. Yet, based on the point that we create our own luck, I don’t think it was a coincidence. They were the ones that took the chance. They primed themselves for a chance, said yes and were willing to embrace failure where others were not.
I like to say that the Irish are a lovely combination of grit and sparkle. I mean – have you ever been to an Irish wake? They know how to celebrate even in moments of worry and sadness. They typically have a resilience about them and that combined with their ‘gift of gab’ is a pretty-pretty good recipe for some luck in life. It is said that the term ‘Luck of the Irish’ was really supposed to be an ironic phrase, but I disagree. I think that if we all have some grit and sparkle we will find that we are lucky, too.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!