Episode 178: Get Lucky!
Welcome back to Live Free Creative Podcast. This is Miranda Anderson and you’re listening to Episode 178: Get Lucky! If you’re listening the week this is released, it is St. Patrick’s Day here in the United States. Also in Ireland, I’m guessing. Maybe other places? I’m not sure how worldwide St. Patrick’s day is.
Over here, it’s a day to wear green, to collect four leaf clovers, to slide down the rainbow to your pot of gold. And of course, to be lucky, I love the idea of luck. In fact, in a podcast that I did in my first season, I talked all about the Advantages of Optimism and how being optimistic can lead you to be lucky.
In today’s episode, I want to share four specific ways that are based in research and evidence-based practices around how you can cultivate luck in your own life. Before I dive into how to get lucky. Let’s do a quick segment called notes from nature.
Segment: Notes From Nature
A few things that you might not know about the four-leaf clover:
They’re everywhere right now for St. Patrick’s Day, but they began as symbols of good in centuries, old Druid legends. And in the very early days of Ireland, Celtic priests believe that when you carried a three-leaf clover, you could detect evil spirits. Four-leaf clovers were magical, Celtic charm said to ward off any bad luck. In other words, carrying a four-leaf clover or having one Eagle pocket means that you kept good luck with you.
Four leaf clovers are super rare. I remember times in elementary school searching through the grass of our big play lot for clover, specifically four-leaf clover. I’m sure what I was looking at where like broadleaf weeds, but I didn’t know the difference.
My friends and I would go through and count the leaves and see if we could get lucky and find a magical four-leaf clover. Every four-leaf clover is balanced out by about 10,000 three-leaf clover so the idea that you’ll find a four-leaf clover certainly is lucky.
In possibly my favorite fun note from nature, fun fact: it is said that if you find a four-leaf clover and you pass it along to someone else, your own luck will double. I love the idea of not only collecting and seeking out luck and good fortune for ourselves, but as we pass it along, it grows multiplies in our own lives and in others’ lives.
How’s that for a quick St Patrick’s day note from nature?
Now, here are four proven ways for you to get lucky:
Number One: Strengthen Your Network
Number One, which comes from some research out of Stanford by Mark Granovetter, who talks about the importance of strengthening your network when it comes to cultivating good luck. He mentions that there is strength in your weak ties.
The idea of this is that you might know a small group of people or maybe a large group of people think of the people, you know, and that, that is your kind of baseline network. But when you think of one step beyond that, to all the people that they know, that’s the strength of your weak ties, not the people, you know, but the people that they know that they can connect to you, you can cultivate luck by strengthening your network.
Throwing out there, what it is that you’re looking for? Talking to your friends, mentioning to your family, making the direction of your dreams known that that shows to bring up opportunity from one or two or three degrees of separation away.
I know I’m working with a coaching client right now, and we’re talking a lot about how to get the job of your dreams.Like what does that look like? Creating the situation in which you’re able to step into the job of your dreams. And a lot of what we’ve talked about is this idea of who do you know and who did they know and who do they know and how does that word pass along?
A lot of times when we focus on the strength of our network of contributing to. The connection that we already have with people among us and having reliance or trust in their ability to pass some of our needs or hopes or dreams along to the people that they know, when things fall into place, it feels like luck. It feels like, oh, I just happened to know someone. Can you think about some of the times in your life that you feel super lucky?
Like, wow, something just popped up out seemingly out of nowhere. And you felt like. Designed just for you, you know, you felt really, you felt super lucky. Can you, in some of those circumstances, see or trace back that luck to a connection, even if a distant connection, a friend of a friend of a friend, a family member of a sister of a cousin, someone through a work email, someone through some sort of extended network connection?
It goes without saying just logically that the more links we have in our community, the more easily we can be connected to opportunities and lucky possibilities that can pop up. So, this first one is just an invitation to pay attention to who you already know, recognize the abundance of your friends and family and their friends and family.
And if there’s something that you are kind of hoping for, or thinking about, make that known. Send an email, or mention it to a friend, or make sure that you’re sharing about some of the hopes and dreams that you have, so that luck can find you through your own connections.
Number Two: Decide You Are Lucky
Number two. You might roll your eyes up, but I love it. It is to decide that you are a lucky person. Decide that you’re lucky!
When Dave and I first got married, our motto for our family was “Expect Miracles.” We wanted to cultivate the idea that good things were coming. Things that we didn’t even know about things we couldn’t have imagined, we’re awaiting us around the next turn.
There’s research that shows that when you activate your superstition, even like hearing a lucky charm or tucking that four-leaf clover or lucky penny into your pocket, that superstition activates your confidence in mastering the tasks that are in front of you, which in turn improves your performance. And of course, leads to more positive outcomes.
When you feel like you’re a lucky person when you’ve decided that you’re lucky you have the superpower of superstition on your side, and it works for you in that added boost of confidence and optimism, and that “I’ve got this thing.”
On the flip side, if you have the opposite thought, if you believe yourself to be an unlucky person, that lack of confidence can lead to a detriment in your performance and negative outcomes.
So much of this luck has to do with our mindset and our belief in our ability to attract good things to us. And it’s kind of funny because as much as it sounds kind of like magic and maybe you don’t want to believe in magic. The research shows that believing in the magic leads to better outcomes. So, the science backs the idea of superstition in this case, believe that you’re lucky and you will be luckier expect miracles, and you will see them in your life.
One of my favorite examples of this is from a study that was done by Richard Wiseman. He had subjects count the number of photographs they found in a newspaper, and on one of the pages of the newspaper in massive bold type, it says “Stop Counting.”
There are 43 photographs in this newspaper and on a later page, he wrote in bold, TELL THE EXPERIMENTER YOU’VE SEEN THIS AND COLLECT $250. People in the study who had marked themselves, they’d self-identified as lucky people ahead of participating in this experiment were more likely to recognize these bold advertisements and to win the money, to take home that $250 pounds and to recognize right from the bat that there were 43 photographs.
One of the comments that Richard Wiseman kind of pulled from this experiment was that people who identify as lucky tend to be calm. They tend to be relaxed and are open to opportunities, even when they’re not expecting them.
In contrast, people who identify as unlucky or don’t think of themselves as lucky happened to be a little bit more anxious, a little bit more neurotic, and that they stay closed off to opportunities, even when they’re right in front of them.
This is such an incredible example of how important it is to think of yourself as a lucky person. And that’s something you can just decide. You can just decide today. This St. Patrick’s day 2022. I have become lucky and I’m going to be lucky from here on out.
Number Three: Try Things
Number three is going to seem a little bit obvious, given number two. Richard Wiseman, the one we just spoke about, also said that lucky people try new things. Unlucky people suffer from paralysis analysis. They don’t do anything until they’ve walked through every single scenario. And by then other people have moved on.
Where people who consider themselves lucky create, notice an act upon chance opportunity. They start small. They try lots of things. They experiment and they create luck through maximizing opportunities.
When I think about this, I think about my mom who, whenever we’re driving somewhere together, we go to park in a parking lot or at a restaurant sometimes it’s tricky and she without fail says, “There’s always a spot in the front.” and does circles around the front. And without fail, she finds a spot in the front, she looks for it and she finds it every single time.
There are times when I’m with her thinking, this is such a waste of time to drive along the whole front of the street. This is a super busy part of town, or this is a busy restaurant and, you know, undoubtedly, all those spots are taken. And when I’m with my mom, those spots are always available.
Another thing that it reminds me of is. The luck of giveaways and of chance. For a long time on blogs and Instagram, there were regular giveaways. I think that it’s not happening as much as it used to. However, I just hosted a great giveaway with two round trip tickets to anywhere in the United States and a bunch of other fun prizes.
And I had seven lucky winners. The only people who become available to win a prize in a giveaway are those who have entered. If you eliminate your possibility for luck by simply opting out, especially if the stakes are low, you know, like entering your email or leaving a comment, something like that. If you decide I’m probably not going to win, so it’s not worth it for me to enter, you have decided that you will not win because you are not winning and giveaway that you haven’t entered.
It’s interesting to look back over. I I’ve mentioned on the podcast before I had a streak of winning on Instagram. Giveaways is kind of hilarious, but because I had one, one time, I was more willing to enter the next one and more willing to enter the next one. And at some point, it just becomes a numbers game.
Like a statistical analysis means that the more giveaways you enter, the more chances you must win the higher possibility that you will be the lucky one. When you create opportunities and you’re open and relaxed and you put yourself in the game, you have a chance to win.
We’ve been talking about that a little bit in my household with my application for graduate school. When I turned in my application a few weeks ago, I said, well, I have, at least now given myself the chance if I’m chosen, you know, it’s a, it’s a competitive program to be accepted into. And so. I don’t know if I’m going to get in or not. And if I do, I will feel excited and really lucky for the opportunity to participate in this program that I’ve wanted to participate in. I would not have been able to, if I hadn’t applied.
Sometimes simply a matter of being open to the possibilities that are available, these chance opportunities that come up that arise, putting ourselves in. The line of luck rather than stepping out of it is all that we need in order to become luckier.
Number Four: Turn Your Luck Around
Number Four is to turn your luck around. You can get luckier by recognizing the good luck in some of your bad luck. The first thing that comes to mind when I consider that idea of turning your bad luck into good is when we had our major, major house flood in 2018. Most of you who are long-time listeners know the story.
The long and short of it is that we bought a house. We renovated it for about six months. We moved in and about four months later, had a catastrophic accidental flood inside the house that destroyed about 80% of the house. In most of the house, we had to go down to the sheet rock or pull sheet rock off. We went down to the studs, the flooring upstairs had to be completely taken out. The entire bathroom was removed upstairs.
These are all things that had been remodeled and that now needed to be remodeled. We had to move out for around six months. The repairs took that long plus more.
We were in friends’ basements for a little while we hopped Airbnb’s. We finally settled into an Airbnb contract for several months and then needed to move out and the contractor hadn’t finished yet. And so, we had to live in a hotel for a couple weeks. Needless to say, this whole thing had so many disruptions and felt very unlucky and it was, it was actually so interesting to see other people’s response to what was happening to our family because other people.
We’re worried about our luck. People said, “You seem to be having really, really bad luck!” These things one after another, within the framework of this flood felt unlucky for other people from the outside, looking in. While it was difficult and very disruptive to our daily lives. We were able to recognize so many small pieces of good luck within the bad luck.
And this is how we sustained ourselves and remained optimistic and feeling lucky even as all these weird things were happening. The first one immediately upon coming home to, you know, my ceilings raining was recognizing that the kitchen, which had by far the most work, the most investment. The appliances, the cabinets, all of that, that had just been finished, that the kitchen was unscathed that even though we did have to do so many other repairs, that would have been the most major one, it was the only room in the house that was completely unaffected by the water damage.
The next little piece of luck that we recognized was even having recently moved to this place, to this new city. We had a couple good friends who were willing to take us in. So, we were able to spend that first couple of nights with some good friends who had space in their basement. We don’t live near family and being able to just hop into someone’s spare room for a couple of nights, didn’t go unnoticed by us.
It felt really lucky. Really connected to be able to do that. I think the biggest piece of luck or the silver lining that we found on this rain, you know, literal cloud of rain inside our house, the thunderstorm in the ceiling is our Airbnb that we located for our long-term rental was in a different part of the city.
It was in a part of Richmond called Church Hill, which is a really, really cool area. Somewhere that we had considered moving as a family. And then for a few factors decided to move into a different area. We felt like we got to have a short vacation in Church Hill. We were living in a cool Airbnb rowhome, walking distance from an amazing Turkish bakery and from a great park, overlooking the city and from a fun place to go get soda and sandwiches with our kids.
We got to experience this whole different walkability and all the fun restaurants around there and go on different walks and runs. All of this was paid for by the insurance, which was covering the flood situation. When we look back on the results of the flood, we think of it as a hard, but overarchingly positive experience. Our outcomes from something that was really difficult, were actually really great: living in a different place; being able to renovate again.
We felt lucky that we had friends to support us. We felt lucky that the insurance was able to cover it all. And so even though things were tricky, we could see the positive side of the bad luck.
I never took on that identity of being unlucky. The house flooded. And then to be honest, the Airbnb flooded. And then we moved back into the house. There was another small flood before we got it all figured out. And you know, I just said, okay, third, time’s the charm. Like it happens in threes. The third time’s a charm and we’re done now, we’re done with floods.
Lucky people don’t dwell on what goes wrong. They notice what went well. Here’s a quote from the book Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman.
“When things get tough, you’ve got two choices. You can either fold or you can keep going. Lucky people are very resilient. I remember talking to one lucky person that had fallen down some stairs and broken his leg. I said, I bet you don’t consider yourself quite so lucky. Now he said the last time he went to a hospital; he met a nurse and they fell in love. Now the two of them are happily married. 25 years later. He said it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
That’s a very resilient attitude. Lucky people tend to have that sort of approach. You’re interested in getting lucky?
Let me review these four points with you:
1. Cultivate Your Network.
Don’t underestimate the power of the people who know the people you know.
2. Decide You Are Lucky.
Consider yourself superstitious, and engage in the confidence boost that comes along with that.
3. Look For Opportunities.
Remain open and relaxed and take advantage of those opportunities when they pop up.
4. Turn Your Luck Around.
Practice the skill of acknowledging the good that can come along with the bad.
Luck is Not Toxic Positivity
I want to mention that I’m not talking about toxic positivity or trying to ignore hard feelings, difficult circumstances, or obstacles or things that have in fact gone wrong. It is healthy to acknowledge and accept and move through all the different emotions that come along with the experiences that we have in our lives.
And research shows that recognizing the good along with the bad helps you feel resilient. Maybe it takes a little bit of time. Maybe you work through it all a little bit and recognizing that there can be lucky things, even in unlucky circumstances will build you up, help you feel resilient and create an overall attitude of being a super lucky person.
Bonus Note: Be Clear About What You Want
As a final note, this comes from me. I don’t know if it’s backed by any research, but just an observation that I’ve had from my own life about feeling lucky. Something that has always been helpful for me is to be clear about what it is that I want. And sometimes that’s easy for me. And sometimes it’s not.
There are usually at least some things that I’m clear about. Even if I don’t have, you know, my whole twenty-year-plan figured out, or I don’t have this big, like purpose or overarching idea, there’s usually some small things that I can identify clearly that I want to happen, that I want to move towards, that I want to experience. And the clearer that I can be with those desires, I feel like the luckier I am with attracting them into my life.
This may kind of blur the lines into the idea of manifestation or The Secret. The idea has always felt like luck to me when I’m interested in going on a trip to Portugal, I’ve made a mental note of that. I’ve written it down somewhere and then into my inbox, I get a notification of super inexpensive round-trip tickets to Portugal over my birthday.
That feels like luck to me. How lucky that the specific place that I’ve identified as somewhere I want to go and spend time has just popped up. How lucky! I must mention that I get emails about flight deals like three times a week. The only ones that I’ve ever really paid attention to closely are those two places that I’ve already identified clearly are desirable to me.
I feel like every single time I think, oh, I want to go there. I want to go there. It’s only when something that has felt like a complete putting out there into the world, writing down, talking to a friend, telling someone about something that I’m excited about or hopeful for that, those opportunities pop up.
So, along with cultivating your network and deciding that you’re lucky looking for opportunities with openness and turning your luck around, take a little bit of time and get clear on a couple things that you desire. The way that you would like your life to look, what fun things are right around the corner for you, and then be sure to take advantage of them when they come along.
Thank you so much for being here and tuning in today. I hope that this episode has felt light and fun and interesting and exciting to you. I thought that it would be nice to just add a little bit of magic into the world this St. Patrick’s Day. There’s a couple of quick things I want to make you aware of these.
Register for Creative Camp!
Maybe just the opportunities that you’ve been looking for. Creative Camp, Deep Work Weekend is coming up April 20th through 24th in Southern Utah. There are a couple spots available for that. And I would love to invite you to join us. All of the details are online at livefreecreative.co/camp.
Register for Grown-Up Summer Camp!
The other fun, absolutely magical retreat that I have coming up in the summer in July is in New Castle, Virginia. It’s grown-up summer camp! Come spend time in nature, spend time hanging out with new friends, learn some new crafts. We’ll dive into some fun speakers and coaching and lunch and learns and great food, campfire songs. It’s going to be amazing. I’d love for you to join me!
All of the details for Grown-up Summer Camp are online at livefreecreative.co/summer-camp. I hope to see some of you there.
And of course, as always, I would love to invite you to leave a rating and a review of the podcast on iTunes to share it with a friend, take a screenshot and share it on social media and to make sure to subscribe if you’re not already selling.
They have fun episodes coming up every single week with simple applications of solid principles to help you live your life more on purpose, to feel more aligned and intentional and to move in the direction of your dreams. Thank you again so much for being here. I can’t wait to check in next week. Same time, same place. Bye!