Some people always have bad luck. And they're quick to point it out and blame it, too.

And then there are those people that "always" have good luck.

Don't you hate those people? Everything just falls into their laps. They don't know what hard work us normal people do. Can I just crawl up in a ball and die because the world is unfair and I was destined to be unlucky?

Aside from extreme life events via random twists of fate (e.g. sudden terminal illness) and your circumstances at birth, is anyone with average circumstances really any luckier than their counterparts?

Luck is defined in Noah Webster's dictionary as: a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group or cause.

I like this definition because it states that luck is a "force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably." Luck goes both ways - and a force it certainly is.

But I don't like the "uncontrollable" part nor do I agree with it.

This is the best definition of luck that I've ever heard:


Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
— Seneca

When you make good decisions, good things usually happen. 

Novel concept. I know I'm totally blowing your mind here.

And when you make high-quality decision-making a habit, things seem to continue to fall into place.

One prime example is when you are living an unhealthy lifestyle. Let's pretend that you are overweight, depressed, and in a job that you don't like. This is unfortunately a common scenario in society. But then you make the change to start living a healthier lifestyle - beginning with one step of getting enough sleep:

  1. You start to get a proper night's sleep.
  2. You start eating well.
  3. You start exercising.
  4. You start to feel better about yourself.
  5. You have more energy.
  6. You start to look better physically.
  7. You like yourself more.
  8. Your confidence increases, resulting in a new/better job opportunity.

Decisions compound. Their effects, if you consistently make decisions along the same lines (either all good or all bad), provide rapid and exponential shifts in your life.

So in the case of starting with one good decision, it just happened to help you lead into others. Sleeping the right amount at night was the catalyst for ultimately changing your whole life.

Suddenly, everything that starts happening to you is good. You wonder if luck finally balanced out from all of these bad years of life. "It's about time the universe started being fair to me!"

No. Stop. You make your own luck in this world.

It's about consistently-correct decision-making.

It's about valuing yourself and your goals.

It's about striking while the iron is hot - taking initiative at the precise second when you need to before something disappears. This Ferris Bueller quote sums it up well.

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Also think about taking those little risks, where the worst-case scenario is a minimal loss, and the best-case scenario is significant (potentially life-changing) success.

A perfect example comes to mind from my poker days.

In poker, if the price is right to proceed with a speculative hand (you don't need to commit too much money), it is often wise to play it - knowing that if luck strikes, there will be a large payout.

If you don't get lucky, you lost a negligible amount of money that is essentially irrelevant to you. If you're a poker player, these types of hands would be the "suited connectors" and "small pocket pairs." Strong players particularly love these hands because they know how to maximize their value while keeping levels of commitment small.

The long-term view is that taking small and affordable risks for a potentially big payout is often a wise move.

In the case above, one is not relying on luck, but simply opening themselves up to the possibility of it occurring in his/her favor.

A perfect real-life example would be sending a cold email to someone you're dying to meet or auditioning for that band you wanted to join.

If either of the examples don't work out above, you essentially lost nothing (perhaps for a bit of self-esteem). But then again, you approached those opportunities as ones ones of mere chance. You have basically nothing to lose and everything to gain. I can't imagine a better opportunity based solely on potential ROI.

These low-risk/high-reward ("long-shot") circumstances arise rather frequently - but we either overlook them or figure that because they are unlikely to materialize into anything, they're not worth going for. We tell ourselves that we shouldn't bother and to just keep our heads down to continue the status quo.

Luck is about seeing the world opportunistically and optimistically as a sandbox - with an infinite amount of continuously-replenishing coincidences and opportunities to utilize to one's own benefit.

Go back to my original example of people who claim to always have bad luck.

Is it bad luck? Bad decision-making?  Most likely, it's a bad attitude/outlook on life.

It's refusing to accept responsibility for one's own shortcomings and mistakes.

It's surrounding oneself with the wrong people.

It's not taking those good little risks just to see what happens.

Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, there is a lot of proof that whatever energy you hold inside of you manifests itself into reality.

There's a reason that terminally-ill patients are told by doctors to remain positive. Or that it is harmful to use self-deprecating humor.

I'm not foolish enough to say that "thinking happy thoughts" is the magic answer to all of your problems and success beyond your wildest dreams.

But aside from extreme events and your circumstances at birth, luck will inevitably even out in the end. The universe is indifferent and doesn't purposely favor one average person over another.

So why is it that some people receive more luck than others?

Those that end up having good luck are not random recipients. They skillfully construct their circumstances with a positive mindset to maximize their potential for capturing seemingly random yet beneficial opportunities.

Only with the right attitude and open eyes can one be receptive to the possibilities that appear to arise by chance.

If you have a bad attitude, you may be keeping amazing opportunities away; either by repelling them or merely thinking too negatively to notice them being presented to you.

How have you used luck as a catalyst to your success? Please comment below.