We review the best small business and investing books
"Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity"
How To Make Luck
7 Secrets Lucky People Use to Succeed
by Marc Myers
Could you use a little more luck in your life? If so, we have the book for you! Marc Myers defines "luck" differently from pure "chance" or the randomness of events which occurs in our lives. Myers says that luck "depends on the actions of other people and whether or not they decide to help you get what you want."
All of us are affected by the actions of other people who are positioned to send either good or bad things our way. Sometimes, we are aware of the actions these people take on our behalf (or against us). Sometimes, we are unaware of the opportunities others have sent our way. So, this flow of opportunity can be viewed as "luck."
By teaching us effective ways of interacting with others, Myers helps assure that people will be sending more good luck and less bad luck our way. In this regard, How To Make Luck contains a strong component of How To Win Friends And Influence People. This is a great book to read together with Harvey Mackay's Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty.
Lucky people attract and create opportunities. "Lucky people take very specific steps to improve their odds of good things happening to them," writes Myers.
You must know what you want. Myers writes, "You can't create good luck for yourself unless you have a fair idea of what you're trying to achieve." Once you know what you want, Myers explains that a big part of being lucky is identifying the "gate keepers of opportunity," or the people positioned to help you achieve your goals, and effectively soliciting their help.
However, in his chapter Good Luck Myths and Realities, Myers points out that meeting the right people is only part of being lucky. You must be prepared when you meet them. If you make the wrong impression, meeting them won't help you.
"All lucky people have two things in common: First, they are constantly thinking up creative ways to improve the odds that more in life will go their way. Second, when they get what they want, they act as baffled as others are by their good fortune. It's precisely this artful combination of behind-the-scenes assertiveness coupled with onstage humility that makes them seem lucky. Micromanage the forces that can steer good luck your way-and then act like an innocent victim when good fortune leaps into your arms," writes Myers.
Myers tells the story of his agent who won $34,000 on Wheel of Fortune. What helped her be lucky enough to be selected for the show, when she was only one of hundreds trying to become contestants on the show?
She viewed many tapes of the show, paying close attention to the body language, dress, and manners of past contestants. She observed they often wore solid blue or green. She observed how they clapped, how they spun the wheel, how they responded if the wheel landed on "bankrupt" for them (Hint: Don't break out swearing and cussing! J). When the producers asked the possible contestants to play mock games, she clapped and used the body language she had observed in contestants.
"In the end, she became one of the bubbly contestants chosen. Sheree made luck happen by behaving like a successful contestant. She influenced the odds of getting in the game by convincing the producers to give her what she wanted."
Myers points out that hard work is often ineffective in achieving success. He also notes that some people work hard just to avoid opportunities, because following opportunities demands change and many people fear change.
Many other people dream or "...waste time obsessing over whether or not it's really possible to achieve what they want most." Concentrate on effective ways to make what you want a reality.
How To Make Luck also gives us great tips to avoid bad luck.
"Most people who encounter a disproportionately high amount of bad luck have one thing in common: They have a hard time controlling behavior that attracts trouble," writes Myers. Myers goes on to explain how anger and pettiness limit luck.
Yet, some people will envy you your success. Myers says that modesty and privacy are your best defense against other people wishing you bad luck.
How To Make Luck has practical advice for improving your luck. One tidbit is that after someone has finished speaking to you, you should pause three seconds before replying, while looking into their eyes. This shows you have focused upon hearing and understanding them. Don't be thinking about what you are going to say in reply, just concentrate on listening. Or, as they say, are you listening or just waiting to talk? And, as Myers explains, in general, don't interrupt or try to one-up a story, just to show how clever you are!
How To Make Luck is especially valuable for anyone who depends upon interactions with others as a key to their business or personal success. Consultants, freelancers, and business owners who rely upon word-of-mouth promotion for their business should read this book. Anyone trying to enter competitive areas where personal networks and self-promotion are essential to success will also benefit greatly.
"Promoting yourself is essential to attracting good luck, but there's a fine line between self-promotion and bragging. Skillful self-promotion excites and intrigues the listener. Bragging and pushiness have the opposite effect," writes Myers.
Further, if you work to be a resource to other people, your luck should improve. Myers relates this through a story about one of his college friends, Ricky, who broke many of the dorm rules, but who everyone liked.
How To Make Luck is a highly readable self-help book. It gives good advice about improving your personal interactions, which can improve your luck and bring more opportunities your way.
7 Secrets Lucky People Use to Succeed