Napoleon was once asked, as he swept across Europe, what kind of generals he favoured, his answer has been paraphrased throughout the years, he said: ‘I want lucky ones’.
Now perhaps Napoleon believed that luck is a gift handed out by some mystical being waving a magic wand, but you don’t conquer half of Europe believing in fairies and he later said:
‘Soldiers win battles, Generals just get the credit for them’.
This is because, being a realist he knew that people create their own destiny and that there is no such thing as luck. Events in life are not arbitrary, but self-created and the results both positive and negative can be perceived by others that we work and live with as luck.
What Napoleon should have said and what I think he really meant was, I want generals who make their own luck.
There is nothing certain in our life’s apart from the fact we are born and we shall die. What lies in between is in our own hands, no matter what others may tell us.
We all know people in our life’s or through the media who have overcome what at first appear challenging circumstances to achieve success and happiness.
Every overnight success, when you look at it, are usually the results of days, weeks and even years of hard work dedication, drive and enthusiasm.
That’s why I don’t believe in luck. I believe in hard work and creating your own vision and opportunities.
What people call luck, is being prepared to create and take advantages of the opportunities that we will manufacture or come upon as we seek to achieve our dreams in life and business.
If luck was a formula it would be:
Preparation + Strategy +Determination X Opportunities = Luck
If you want success in life and business, I’d urge you to consider these 6 positive habits we can all adopt to enhance our careers and private lives and perhaps be perceived as lucky:
Napoleon knew a good general prepared for battle. So it does not matter what business you are in, be passionate about it. Study every aspect of it, as knowledge is power.
Expertise is not something we are born with but we can make it an important part of our DNA if we keep learning. We can then develop an expertise or skill that we can utilise when an opportunity arises. I’d urge you, just don’t study the past, look into the future to identify what skills you will need for the future?
As part of my own preparations I read a lot and one author in particular looks at the concept of luck in great detail. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, ‘Outliers’, discusses the concept that a study on success has shown that those who became successful in their chosen field be it medicine, movies or music had practiced their craft for a total of at least 10,000 hours before being discovered as an overnight success! The lesson here, is that practice or application of our craft helps turn luck from a concept into a reality.
I’d ask you how do you promote how good you are at what you do. Do you market your experience and track-record to make a success of any opportunities that come along?
Whatever you want to achieve in life, visualise it. See yourself doing whatever it is that you desire or want to achieve. This creates positivity because no matter if you call it luck or opportunity a positive attitude is vital. You need to put yourself in a position both professionally and mentally to take the maximum advantage of any perceived luck that comes your way. A positive attitude means that you are not just ready to spot opportunities, it also means that you can generate such opportunities yourself.
The people in your life both professionally and in your private life do have an impact on you. The company you keep around you reflects the character that is within you. Protect your personal brand. This does not mean that you get rid of your friends and family! All this means is that, if you strive for success, you should have people in your life who are not only likeminded but who are also doing what you wish to be doing.
If you spend time with negative people then invariably you start to think negatively. Do not allow people to drain your passion and enthusiasm. Instead, be energised by other positive people and surround yourself with those who are living the life you want to live.
Many successful people had great mentors, or influencers, or financial supporters. This is especially true for many successful entrepreneurs. All the benefits of a mentor would make another article but when preparing for success finding a mentor who you aspire to be like, within your chosen profession helps you add to your network. It’s highly likely that should your mentor not have the answer to a question or problem, then someone they know will.
They can introduce you to like-minded people and some of these could be valuable connections throughout your career.
I might not believe in luck but I do believe in Karma. A contradiction I know, but bear with me. In order to be successful we need others to help us, we do not live in isolation. We are part of a society and network. If you can help others in your life and career then relationships are forged, friendships are created and networks formed.
There is no greater phrase to hear when you are seeking to exploit an opportunity than “I can help you”. So if you can do someone a good turn, do it, you never know when you will need their help and sure as my grandfather used to say ‘it’s nice to be nice’.
I’d like to leave you with a quote from Barbara Bush who passed away recently whose son George W certainly had his fair share of luck!
“You just don't luck into things as much as you'd like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it's friendships or opportunities”.
I wish you all the luck in the world but be prepared for it.
John Joe McGinley April Glassagh Consulting
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