Come on down! You’re the next contestant on the Price Is Right! –Bob Barker
If you grew up watching TV in the eighties like I did, you’re all too familiar with that line Every day, Mr. Barker would call someone’s name randomly from the audience, and the person whose name was called would excitedly run down the aisle to claim their spot in the contestant’s seating area.
While on TV, it appeared as if it was luck of the draw as to who won the chance to play…the reality was that pools of audience members are pre-interviewed prior to the screening, and their names were selected based on how well they auditioned.
“Here's the thing about luck...you don't know if it's good or bad until you have some perspective.” --Alice Hoffman
People often tell Jo and I how lucky we are to be traveling long term. They say, “You are so lucky! You’re living my dream! I’ve always wanted to do what you’re doing!”
We always graciously accept this compliment, but we remind them that they too have the ability to make this dream happen. Luck, as they say…had nothing to do with it. Okay sure…there was some luck involved…and not all of it was good.
What was more important was the choices we made in response to or in spite of what life had thrown our way.
We had to create our luck, even out of circumstances that didn’t seem very “lucky” at the time.
Chasing Down Your Luck
As of this writing, the Powerball Lottery in the U.S. is up to nearly $600 million dollars. It boggles the mind...the winner will be a half billionaire on paper.
Someone will win, but it will be by a long shot. I'm not saying it's impossible to win by passively hoping to get lucky.
I'm saying that you stand a higher chance of winning in life if you actively chase down opportunities for luck to manifest itself...even in what appear to be the direst of circumstances.
Let me give you an idea of how this whole “create your luck” thing can manifest itself.
" Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or a greater Benefit. " --Napoleon Hill
Remember….to do what we are doing today, I had the “luck” of being let go from a company that I had spent a quarter of my life working for.
We had the “luck” of leaving behind a beautiful home we had owned for nearly a decade.
In the first 6 months of 2010, here is a list of actions that we deliberately took that manifested the life we currently have:
- Started reading back issues of Success Magazine that were given to us by Jo’s brother, Alex…which led to…
- Completing “Designing the Best 10 Years of Your Life” planning exercise by Darren Hardy, publisher and founding editor of Success…and this turned us on to
- Consuming more programs and materials on positive life changes, while reducing consumption of mass media which tends to play up the negative, and through this foray into positive life changes we found and started…
- Following Zen Habits, a site dedicated to simplicity and habit change. Reading this site led to…
- “Stumbling” onto Chris Guillebeau’s website, The Art Of Non-Conformity...Set Your Own Rules…Live The Life You Want…and Change The World. Through Chris’ work we…
- Learned about travelhacking, and racked up nearly a million frequent flyer miles in the next twelve months, without even flying a single flight!
- Started traveling full-time in 2011.
Of course, there were lots of other deliberate actions we took, but this gives you an idea of how the dots connect when you choose to create your luck. So how can you create your luck?
Fortune Favors The Bold
If you ever watch a poker game, you know that good and bad cards are dealt to every player over time.
The winning players tend to know how to parlay even the worst cards dealt to them.
They will play ANY cards dealt to them as if they hold the winning hand. Life is kind of like that.
You can play safe for a little while…but in the long run, fortune favors those who take a bold approach to the cards that life deals them.
"The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and miss the mark. Rather, it is that we aim too low and reach it." --Michelangelo
Do something crazy at least once in your life. And remember, crazy is relative to your own experience.
Do you already run marathons? Then sign up for an ultra-marathon or change it up by doing a triathlon.
Do you already travel but mainly to Hawaii or Europe? Next year, go someplace more challenging like Myanmar.
Introverted? Go to a Toastmasters meeting and volunteer to be the first to speak. Walk up to a complete stranger, introduce yourself and see if you can make a new friend.
Try a little each day to get out of your comfort zone, and you’ll start to see new lucky breaks happen where before there were none. On that note…
Seek Out Your Fortune
Sorry, but buying a lottery ticket doesn’t count. You’ve got to make an active effort to seek out opportunities to create your luck.
Is there some celebrity or author you’ve always wanted to meet? Maybe you rehearse all the time in your mind what you would say when you meet them.
Send them an email or tweet. Tell them how much you admire their work. Offer to help them out somehow.
You never know when you’ll get a chance to meet your dream idol…but just dreaming about doesn’t make it happen.
The universe doesn’t just plop them into your lap…you’ve got to seek out that chance to meet your idol, and maybe even push your way through the crowd to get to them.
Maybe you're not so starstruck. Instead, you dream of trekking in the Himalayas, or diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Friend, it won’t happen if the only action you take is to say... “Some day I will”.
With the plethora of information on the web these days, there is simply no excuse for why you can’t make that dream happen.
The steps to do it are there for the taking….for those who will seek out the wisdom of those who have done it.
Put On Your Luck Goggles
If you’re like most people, you go through life day in and day out with the same routine. You take the same route each day, you have the same schedule, you meet the same people, and do the same activities.
Nothing wrong with that. Life tends to be routine, especially when every minute of your day is accounted for(this is very true for those of you who have children).
The danger is when it becomes so routine that you actually miss some fortunate opportunities that come directly your way.
You must have a made up mind that fortune is all around you, and that you are going to seize every opportunity to win it!
If your attitude is, "I never win anything...it's always other people who get lucky.", then your words will fulfill themselves.
You won't be expecting to have a stroke of good luck, so lots of lucky breaks will whiz right past you and you'll never even realize you had a chance to experience them. Someone actually did an experiment on it, and the results where intriguing.
Shortly before we left Nepal to go to India, I was browsing through my usual set of posts from fellow travelbloggers. Seeking out fortune.
It happened that at the end of 2012, a bunch of sponsors were giving away travel prize packages in exchange for a minimum donation to Passports With Purpose.
Various travel bloggers were giving out various prize such as: 110,000 Hyatt points, a week stay in Provence, two weeks stay in France, and tons of other prizes.
As in my example of simply playing the lottery, I was not about to just randomly enter one of these drawings and just see what happens.
There was one prize in particular that really caught my attention(putting on my ‘lucky’ goggles).
AJ from Live From A Lounge was being sponsored by the Four Seasons in Mumbai to give away a weekend stay in one of their deluxe sea view rooms.
Out of all the prizes, I recognized that AJ’s was the one meant for us. Sure, the other prize packages were bigger and worth more money…but this prize was the most valuable to us, and was the one we stood the best chance of winning.
- India was our next country after Nepal.
- The winner would get a weekend in Mumbai...too short for anyone from a far away country to justify entering if it was only for two days.
- Most people were still reeling from the media fear-mongering caused by the Delhi rape case. That's a whole different blog post, but let's just say that crime happens everywhere in this world, and we stood ready to seize opportunity where others were too afraid.
It was as if this prize was custom-tailored to be won by us. And that's exactly what happened. We turned $10 into $600...
"Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet." --Seneca
But remember not to spend your whole life preparing. At some point, you've got to set sail and trust that the winds of fortune will blow in your favor.
Don't confuse preparation with insurance.
You get insurance to protect yourself from unforeseen actions...some of which may never happen.
Preparation means readying yourself to take action. Conditions will never be perfect. If you're reasonably ready, go out and seek your fortune!