Word Of the Week #567: Luck

June 11, 2015 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #567: Luck 

Luck: an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another.

How many times have you had good things happen that were totally unexpected? When was the last time you recognized an opportunity and acted on it? How willing are you to take risks and be out of your “comfort zone?

This is the follow up to last week’s WOW from Parades Tom Brokaw’s lucky star article. Kathleen McCleary’s article featured an insert titled, 5 WAYS TO GET LUCKIER. A growing body of research says you can wield a powerful influence in your life. Here’s how.

“Open yourself up to serendipity and watch your luck improve.

  • PAY ATTENTION Curiosity, alertness, flexibility, courage, and diligence – they’re traits that prepare you to recognize opportunities and act on them. So are keen powers of observation. Several artists in Dr. Makri’s studies practice standing still every day to observe the world around them. Put down your cell phone. Step away from your computer screen. Look around.
  • OPEN YOUR CALENDAR A hyper-scheduled lifestyle can close you off to serendipity. Down time – walking, meditating, staring out the window – allows connections and patterns and ideas to reveal themselves. ‘Before I started working on serendipity I was very task-driven. I was not as willing to talk to anyone. Now I make sure I have unstructured time every week, and more opportunities seem to come to me,” Dr. Makri says.

a GoodLuckSymbols

  • INCREASE YOUR ODDS If you try more things, more good things will happen, says Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and author of Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles. If you try 30 new things, at the end of the year you might count 15 good things that happened to you. But if you wait to try things only when you’re sure of success, you might count just three good things that happened that year.
  • TAKE CHANCES Just as Atkeson took a chance in changing careers at 48, serendipity is more likely to strike if you take risks or go outside your comfort zone – exposing yourself to new people, places, activities and information gives you the chance to make creative connections that lead to serendipity. Ariely went to an art gallery opening and met an artist interested in the social sciences. That connection led to Ariely lecturing on behavioral issues – dishonesty, self-control – while artists created art related to those concepts. The collaboration even led to a new class.
  • LET IT GO Research shows that a genetic variation in the brain makes some people naturally less anxious and better able to forget bad experiences, says Richard A. Friedman, clinical psychiatry professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. The ‘unlucky’ tend to ‘be data collectors for bad experiences’ – remembering every detail of negative events and weighing them all equally, so losing out on a great parking spot becomes just as awful as losing your mother’s heirloom diamond ring.”

This week’s focus is on luck. How task driven are you? How much unstructured time do you devote each day to just observe the world around you? How willing are you to take a chance and/or try new things? How many good things have happened to you this year?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word Of the Week #566: Serendipity

June 11, 2015 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #566: Serendipity 

Serendipity: good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries.

When was the last time you had good luck? What unexpected or fortunate discoveries have you made by chance? Do you remember the last time something wonderful happened in a way you’d never anticipated?

The Sunday Parade magazine featured an article titled, Tom Brokaw’s lucky star. The famous Brokaw luck has carried the NBC special correspondent through an adventurous life and a cancer diagnosis.” The article featured an insert titled, “5 WAYS TO GET LUCKIER” which I will feature in the next two WOW’s.

Kathleen McCleary writes, “A growing body of research says you can wield a powerful influence in your life. Here’s how.

Some luck can’t be controlled. You can’t influence what numbers come up on a winning lottery ticket, the weather on your wedding day or the flowerpot that falls from a window ledge as you’re walking by below. Yet “lucky” people do shape their own fortunes, through strategies that make it more likely good things will happen to them.

Take Melisa Atkeson of Falls Church, Va., who considers herself a “lucky” person. ‘Absolutely,’ she says. ‘Everday.’ Yet a few years ago Atkeson had a string of bad luck that would wobble the knees of the most stoic. Her husband, Meade, developed an illness no one could diagnose. Three weeks later, he left his job of 25 years. Her father died of a heart attack. Several financial investments nosedived and the couple lost much of their savings. Atkeson was a stay-at-home mom with five children at the time.

a serend

For Atkeson, now 53, shaping her own fortune meant taking a ‘leap of faith’ into a new career as a social worker when she went back to work, even though she had years of experience in the computer industry. It meant following up on a lead during a casual conversation that lead to a terrific job a short commute from home. It meant appreciating that the anxiety that had plagued her much of her life was gone – because terrible things had happened and she survived them.

Call it serendipity – those moments when things align in wonderful ways you’d never anticipated. ‘You have to have your eyes open, recognize the unexpected when it happens and take action,’ says Dr. Stephann Makri, researcher into serendipity at University College London. Makri defines serendipity as when unexpected circumstances and a moment of insight lead to a valuable outcome. Think of Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming, who noticed all the dead bacteria around the mold in one of his culture dishes and figured out penicillin.”

This week’s focus is on serendipity. Have you ever had an unexpected circumstance and a moment of insight that lead to a valuable outcome? Have you ever had to make a “leap of faith?” How easy or difficult was it for you? How would it feel to find something good happen without looking for it?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.