There are two ways to improve the good luck / bad luck ratio in your life. One is to take steps to do those things that lead to more good luck. The other is to stop doing the things that cause bad luck. This lesson is about the latter. It is an examination of the actions, habits and thinking of unlucky people, so that you can learn what to avoid.
Six Things That Cause Bad Luck
1. Blaming. Blaming others – even when it is justified – is one of the most de-motivating things you can do. It puts things outside of your control and so things tend to “happen” to you even more – and sometimes these are bad things. It is fine to acknowledge that someone shares some blame for a situation, but then follow that immediately by asking yourself, “What can I do differently next time?” Put the control back in your hands.
2. Making Excuses. Really just another type of blaming, this bad-luck habit is often more subtle. For example, a real estate agent says, “I can’t sell enough homes because I don’t have the contacts that others have.” This might be 100% accurate. The solution, though – developing more contacts – is then ignored, because the real reason to say this was to justify his unsuccessful habits. Saying, “I know I can sell more homes by meeting more people and making more contacts,” is certainly more likely to lead to good luck (success) than the first statement, right?
3. Waiting For Luck. This is perhaps one of the worst bad-luck habits. Work invites luck, not waiting. While one man waits for his “ship to come in,” others are building ships. Unlucky people just wait, and let things happen – for better and worse – and so miss out on the many opportunities that are out there waiting to be seized.
4. Acting On Destructive Impulses. I met a man on his way to see if his welfare application was approved, and he proudly told me about the great cowboy hat he bought for $200. Is this an impulse control problem, or what? Is it possible his bad habits lead to a place on the welfare rolls? If this is you, by the way, don’t say anything until you read number 2 again. To overcome this bad-luck habit wait a day before taking any action that commits time, energy or money towards something which isn’t a major goal in your life. Do this until it becomes routine. Probably you’ll change your mind by the next day.
5. Not Learning From Mistakes. Want more bad luck? Just keep making the same mistakes. Want more good luck? Start learning from your mistakes. In fact, always assume that you have some role in the disasters or irritations that befall you, and look for what it is. Identify what you are doing that either causes your bad situations or makes them worse. Then change your approach accordingly. Even better, learn from other’s mistakes and you can avoid making many of your own. See how others create bad luck and don’t do those things. That is what this lesson is about.
6. Being Too Critical. if you can find fault with everything and every plan, this proves your intelligence. But how will you have any luck if all opportunities are shot down? It is good to think critically, to see the truth, and so reduce risk. The problem comes when a person sees only the risk and the flaws. For example, this kind of thinking only sees the fact that 80% of restaurants fail, but ignores the other 20%. If you want to move forward, you see the weaknesses in your plan, but to each one add, “And this is what I can do about it…” or “Here’s a better plan…”
“We rarely want to acknowledge the role we play in our own bad luck.” – Steven Scott