Post By: Steve Graef, PhD | Monday, March 16, 2020

luck athletes performer business

As a full blooded, German, Scottish, Irish, English American, when March 17th comes around you can rest assure that I am listening to my favorite Irish songs, drinking a perfectly poured Guinness, and celebrating the luck that I have to be enjoying St. Patty's Day on the sunny shores of Puerto Vallarta.

As athletes and performers, we often contribute some of our success or the success of others to lucky.

“She is so lucky she got the part.”

“What a lucky catch!?”

“It just so happened that producer was in the crowd.”

These statements and forms of them can be found across locker rooms, studios, and concert halls across the globe. But are they true? Is luck really just a matter of chance? Some construct that is beyond our control? Or might we be able to bring a little bit more luck into our performance lives? Let's take a look at some simple tips how.


Remember the old adage “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity?” Well, for starters in order to be lucky you have to have some prerequisites.For instance, that “lucky” actress isn't going to get the part unless she has some underlying talent.That lucky catch doesn't occur without catching skills.And that interested producer wouldn't be watching a zero-talent band.So, in order to capture a little bit of luck you obviously have to bring something to the table.A skill set, a talent, an attractive way of being, a knowledge base, that can be capitalized on in that “lucky moment.” Want to be more lucky? Sharpen your ax.

Open up.

Speaking of opportunity, lucky people seek them out! That lucky actress audition for hundreds of roles. That catch was one of thousands.That band performed 70 concerts that year.As you might imagine, in order to increase lucky encounters, you have to increase encounters.You increase encounters by opening yourself up to possibility.Not only in quantity but also in quality.Certainly, we can increase the number and frequency of our various encounters, after all if you play enough hands of BlackJack you will win eventually.However, we can also enhance our luck by being open to possibilities beyond our initial focus.For instance, if you go to a party solely seeking a potential romantic partner, you might miss a chance encounter with a potential business associate, a gym buddy, or a dancing partner. By being open to all sorts of possibilities you increase the likelihood of new, interesting, and lucky things happenings. Want to be more lucky? Try new people, places, and things. A new position, a different conference, a random bar, a unique person. Open up.

Squeeze the lemon.

In luck research performed by Richard Wiseman he found that lucky people took unfortunate circumstances and found the good in them.Lucky people have the tendency to make lemonade out of lemons. Rather than dwelling on the bad thing that happened, they notice how fortunate they are that X didn't happen or they acknowledge some other “lucky” outcome that occurred as a result of the negative one.For instance, a lucky person managing a car accident, will say “I am so lucky I didn't get injured” or “I met this cool person in the other car, we may grab lunch.” Whereas the unlucky person will dwell on how brutal it is they got into a car accident.Want to be more lucky? Consider your blessings and how when one door closes another one opens.

Expect good.

Also noted by Wiseman was that lucky people expect lucky things to happen to them.They expect to have a good day.A terrific performance.A strong sales quarter.A well-lived life.This style of thinking and way of being becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where lucky people will persist in the face of failure and have more positively shaped interactions with others. Want to be more lucky? Train your brain to identify the positive and “lucky” things currently in your life and then leverage that training to notice and expect them when they come in the future.

Gut Health.

Finally, according to Wiseman, we human beings are amazing at creating and detecting patterns.We might not always know it consciously, but our brains and bodies are always scanning and may have some under the surface awareness that can lead us into luck.Something subconscious that says, “Based on all that data from years of living, I think this might be something, somewhere, or someone that could work out for ya….go check it out.”Now certainly, I have ignored times where my gut had a bad feeling about something, yet it still turned out fine.But by listening closely to your gut and using this innate wisdom, you may find yourself in a chance encounter, that is actually not chance at all.Want to be more lucky? Listen to that little voice that says go for it…and then go for it!

In closing, this St Patty's Day don't place luck on a fortunate ethnicity or personal trait.Instead, realize that in our athletic, performing, or business environments luck is all around us.As long as we prepare, seek out opportunities, expect good things to happen, make them good when they're not, and follow our gut, we should be able to change our odds to be forever in our favor. Now cheers you lucky bastards!