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The Six Habits of Lucky People

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At last week's Food Industry Credit Bureau's credit meeting in Quebec City, one of the keynote speakers was Alain Samson, author of "Make Your Own Luck." Samson has studied and written about the concept of "luck," and has identified 6 habits that will make you "luckier." The good news is that anyone - with some personal discipline - is able to "make their own luck." Here's how:

1) Choose to go farther in life. In discussing this first "habit," Samson notes that it will involve work. Critical elements in this habit include goal-setting, taking active steps to reach your goals, and having the capacity and willingness to postpone immediate pleasure for longer-term goals.

2) Harness your present opportunities. "By keeping an open mind to what the world has to offer," he notes, "by grasping every moment and reaping its benefits, you are increasing your luck. There is no magic involved. Lucky people simply view the world in a different way. They discover their needs with greater ease. This, too, is within your reach."

How can you better harness your present opportunities? He cites two keys: First, relax. Second, remember that you're surrounded by great people and information.

3) Anticipate the future optimistically. "Lucky people," Samson notes, "anticipate that their lives will go well." In sports, the concept of "visualization" (ie, visualizing a winning tennis match or individual shot, let's say) has been proven to work time and again, and Samson echoes that habit for those seeking to improve their "luck."

On business projects, the lucky ones, he says, "are able to visualize completing the work on their path to whatever they hope to achieve. Unlucky people are more inclined to envision the obstacles present on their path to success."

4) Nourish your current social network. There are several things at play here. First, you can't "do it alone."

Second, it's simple mathematics. "On average," says Samson, "a human being knows approximately 250 people. Therefore, when you shake my hand, you run the chance (if you are sympathetic and know to ask me for help) of meeting my approximately 250 contacts.

"Assuming that these 250 people each know another 250 people, with two handshakes you have now opened yourself up to a potential network of 62,500 people." He identified four keys to nurturing and building your social network:

a. Go out! b. Stop ignoring the people that you meet each day c. Keep your contacts happy d. Learn to interact with people solely for the pleasure of their company

5) Contextualize the foreseeable. In large part, believes Samson, "what distinguishes the lucky from the unlucky is their reaction when facing the obstacles that appear between them and their dreams."

A key to this is the ability to let go when an unfortunate event comes up in your life. "Lucky people can. Unlucky ones, on the other hand, tend to fixate on the event and allow it much more importance than necessary," says Samson.

6) Execute actions without procrastinating. Both inertia and rationalization keep most of us from moving forward. And certainly, overcoming those two powerful forces is easier said than done. His advice?

a. First, stop trying to manage the stage b. Always give your best performance c. Start with what you know d. If a project seems too large and unmanageable, break it down into smaller bits e. Don't aim for perfection! f. Be passionate!

You probably didn't notice, but the first letter of all of the above steps to increase your luck spell out the word "CHANCE." Of course, the real message is that your luck is anything but chance!

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