Create our own luck.

To a statistician, luck is merely a simplistic word people use when they should really be talking about probability. Chance is actually all about math, numbers and odds. Often probability feels like a strange series of coincidences because our brains are wired to recognize patterns: good/bad things happen in threes, our lucky number keeps appearing, superstition happens in sequence. These patterns stand out in our heads and can make us feel lucky or unlucky. Feeling lucky can be energizing, and that feeling can trigger action, but fortuity in itself is a matter of probability, not coincidence. Probability is about the odds of something happening. We can increase those odds by putting ourselves in select situations more often, with stronger, concentrated attempts. For example, we have better odds of getting the precise job we want, the more times we go after it, and the more prepared we are during those attempts. Our chance of accomplishment is increased by our selectiveness, number of tries, and quality level. However, keep in mind that the opposite is also true, our chance of nothing happening increases with the fewer number of tries. So we should choose carefully where we want our so-called “luck” to fall and then purposefully increase our odds of success for it.

Take action: Be aware of how often people talk about luck, coincidence or chance and start translating it into terms of probability and odds. This will start to shift your thinking from something you have no control over, to something you can greatly influence.

Inspired by David DiSalvo’s book, What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite.

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