Rediff | December 05, 2014
Let me tell you the five most important things that most lucky people seem to do:
1. Lucky people grow and strengthen their network
Luck hates loneliness. It’s almost impossible to be lucky alone. A story that will illustrate this point is that of Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Ravi Shankar was a music director with All India Radio (or AIR) from 1949 to 1956. V. K. Narayana Menon, Director of AIR, introduced Shankar to the renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin invited Shankar to perform in America.
In America, Shankar became friends with Richard Bock, founder of World Pacific Records. Shankar executed several recordings at Bock’s studio. The American rock band ‘The Byrds’ who also used to record there heard Shankar's music and incorporated some of his music into their tracks. These tracks came to the attention of George Harrison of the Beatles and Harrison soon visited India to study the sitar under Ravi Shankar.
The Beatles went on to use the sitar in their ‘Norwegian Wood’ track. Shankar’s association with The Beatles got him invited to Woodstock and made him the most famous Indian musician on the planet by 1966.
That’s called the network effect.
2. Lucky people listen to their intuition and develop it
All of us seem to have two voices inside us. The first is intuition, our ‘inner wizard’. It tries to tell us what we should be doing and what will be good for us. The second voice inside us is the ‘inner critic’, which sends a steady stream of destructive thoughts directed towards us and others. Ignoring the critic and listening to the wizard is a key trait of lucky people.
An example of intuitive good luck is the story of Conrad Hilton, the legendary founder of Hilton Hotels.
Hilton claimed that his incredible success as a hotelier was often due to his lucky hunches. On one particular occasion, Hilton submitted a sealed bid of $165,000 to buy a rundown Chicago hotel in a sealed bid auction. The next morning, something didn’t feel right. Acting on his intuition, he submitted another bid of $180,000.
When the bids were examined, Hilton’s was the winning bid. The next highest offer was $179,800.
3. Lucky people are willing to try new things
The overall willingness of lucky people to try new things simply increases the number of opportunities that come their way thus increasing their good luck.
Consider the story of the great painter Henri Matisse. Matisse went to Paris to study law and started working as a court administrator in Le Cateau-Cambrésis after gaining his qualification.
Following an attack of appendicitis in 1889, he underwent a period of convalescence. His mother bought him some art supplies so that he could keep himself occupied even though Matisse had never painted in his life.
Little did his mother realize that her son would discover ‘a kind of paradise’ as he later described the experience.
He decided to become an artist, deeply disappointing his father by that decision but going on to become one of the greatest painters ever.
The good luck would simply not have kicked in without Matisse’s openness to try a new activity.
4. Lucky people make the best of bad situations, stay positive and persevere
Lucky people are simply those who use every bad situation to the best of their abilities. The life stories of some of the ‘luckiest’ people reveal that most of them thrived under conditions of adversity.
Beethoven composed his best-known masterpieces after he became deaf while Sir Walter Raleigh wrote History of the World during his thirteen years in prison.
The Discovery of India was written by Jawaharlal Nehru during his imprisonment in Ahmednagar Fort from 1942 to 1946 while Martin Luther translated the Holy Bible while confined in the Castle of Wartburg.
With a sentence of death hanging over him, Dante wrote the Divine Comedy during twenty years of exile.
5. Lucky people stay alert and informed
Most lucky people have understood that calming the mind is a key method to increase alertness. Lucky people find their own unique ways to tame their minds. Hence they are better able to deal with difficult or stressful situations in their lives. Often it is this alertness that allows ‘lucky’ people to spot opportunities when they arise.
Consider the case of Ray Kroc, the person credited with creating the McDonald’s franchising system.
The brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald had established McDonald’s, a fast food restaurant. The restaurant used Castle Multimixers to make milkshakes. Ray Kroc supplied these machines to McDonald’s among others.
When Ray noticed that the McDonald brothers had purchased eight Multimixers in a very short period of time, he visited their San Bernardino restaurant to investigate. Seeing their efficient operation convinced Ray that their scientific restaurant processes could be converted into a national franchising opportunity.
He quickly offered to become a franchising agent for the brothers and opened McDonald's Inc.’s very first restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. He eventually bought out the company from the brothers in 1961 for $2.7 million.
Good luck for Ray Kroc? Yes. But his good luck only happened because he was alert to a sudden spike in the sales of Castle Multimixers!