Sometimes it feels like the universe is against you. The baby isn’t sleeping. You didn’t get the promotion at work. Car repairs cost more than the estimate. Then the water heater exploded, flooding your house again.
If a string of bad luck has you singing the blues, it’s time to change your tune. Studies show you can make more good fortune for yourself! Here are 10 ways to get luckier:
Quiet down. Tap into your intuition by spending time alone. Write in a journal. Make a dream board or collage. Putter in the garden. Meditate. Lucky people are in touch with their own feelings. Break free from distractions that clutter your mental landscape for a few minutes each day. The path ahead will be much clearer.
Trust yourself. Research shows that your brain sees subtle, complex patterns you can’t explain in words. And those unspoken insights can help you make better decisions. Lucky people act on these instincts. Don’t ignore a hunch or silence
your internal alarms just because you can’t explain them. You’re smarter than you think. Go with your gut.
Take it all in. Good fortune may be serendipitous, but you have to be open to it. Having a laser-like focus on a specific goal or long to-do list narrows your view. Lucky people find unforeseen windfalls because they explore the scenery instead
of sticking strictly to the map. You might find a gorgeous handbag on sale while you browse the mall at lunch or score free theater tickets because you overheard a coworker say she can’t use them. Tune in to your surroundings.
Take risks. Lottery millionaires will tell you: You can’t win if you don’t play. Jackpots aside, there is a larger truth in this. “There are many valid risks in life and we need to be mindful of them. But dwelling on risks can keep us from seeing opportunity,” cautions life coach Margie Warrell, best-selling author of “Find Your Courage” (McGraw Hill, 2008) and “Stop Playing Safe” (Wiley Press, 2013). Push yourself outside your comfort zone. Share your ideas with the boss. Ask for what you really want. Commit to a lofty goal. The biggest risks often yield the biggest rewards.
Smile. Lucky people have lots of friendsand they make connections in surprising places, like the line at the grocery store. Put on a happy face. Make eye contact. Stand up straight, with arms relaxed, not crossed in front of you. Strong, open postures invite interaction. Be brave and initiate conversation. Listen for points of connection and pursue them.
Reach out. You don’t have to be in all the right places at all the right times if you’re well-connected. Lucky people talk about their goals and accept help from others. You might mention you’re interested in going to cooking school only to learn that your friend’s aunt is a trained chef. Soon, she’s giving you admissions advice. Make a little noise about your ambitions the universe is listening.
Stay positive. One person’s bitter disappointment is another person’s golden opportunity. You can’t make your own good fortune if you are focused on what’s wrong with the world or with yourself. “By being optimistic we can find opportunity in adversity and take actions that our pessimistic friends wouldn’t bother to take. In turn we create new opportunities for ourselves,” says Warrell. Always look at possibilities through a positive lens.
Try again. Lucky people aren’t lucky all the time. But they don’t let unhappy outcomes mess with their mojo. “Lucky people’s high expectations motivate them to persist” even when they don’t succeed, says psychologist Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., author of “The Luck Factor” (Miramax, 2003).
Lucky people choose more challenging puzzles and they continue to work on them long after unlucky people give up. When you experience setbacks, change your strategy and keep moving forward. Good things come to those who don’t quit.
Be grateful. Who feels luckier: the athlete who won the silver medal or the athlete who won the bronze? That’s right. The third-place finisher feels luckier because she knows she might have come in fourth. The silver-medal winner is focused on missing out on gold. No matter how bad you think you have it, someone has it worse. Celebrate big wins and small victories. They’re all good.
Heidi Smith Luedtke, Ph.D. is a personality psychologist and mom who believes you bring your own weather to life’s picnic.