Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essential Emerson)
There I stood, staring at my open umbrella on the kitchen floor wondering who in my family was going to die as a result. I was 10 years old and was standing there, listening to my Grandma explain the perils of opening an umbrella inside the house. It wasn’t the first time I had been entrusted with these mysterious secrets of the universe, previously, I had been informed that leaving a purse on top of the dinner table would lead to bankruptcy and stepping on dog feces was a sure sign of good fortune.
We’ve all been taught in one way or another that mysterious forces are out there, and they visit us once in a blue moon, like fine weather on an autumns day. Most of us have also been taught that you can encourage luck, like a hungry dog after a treat, by possessing a personal luck charm. These could be special symbols, rituals and beliefs that attract good fortune, and numbers, behaviors or dates that extract it.
We fight, strive, insist and sometimes travel around the entire world in luck’s pursuit. But what exactly is luck? And why do some people seem to be luckier than others?
The attraction of believing in luck, or in any superstitious idea, is that it provides a sense of control over your life. It’s pretty straight-forward: if you follow a certain procedure, this will result it a certain outcome. There’s an immense comfort that comes in knowing that you can turn the ambiguity of any moment into a ‘mathematically logical’ equation.
Another allure that luck has is its ability to take away responsibility and blame, which results in guilt. Destiny, Karma, and luck all share the common trait of taking away your sense of responsibility; whenever you fail at something, the solace of attributing it to ‘bad luck’ provides an immense relief from feeling imperfect and developing insecurities about yourself.
Does that mean lucky people feel more responsibility over their actions? Not necessarily.
“I hate when women treat me like I’m just a piece of meat. And they’re vegetarian” said Emilio turning his head toward me as we were shopping for a school project. He was 5’6 and weighted around 200 pounds. He had spotted a pretty blonde girl sitting on a bench listening to music. Before I could answer, he was already seated by her making jokes and giggling. A few years later, she became his wife.
This illustrates perfectly two of the “lucky” qualities extroverts possess. Firstly, they increase their exposure to opportunities by seeking them out, and secondly, they have a relaxed and playful outlook about everything, which assists them even more.
Exposure to opportunities
How many physically unappealing males have you seen walking by with gorgeous girlfriends? How many ‘dim wits’ have you encountered working in a job position they’re undeserving of? Sure, serendipity may have played its role, but most likely the person themselves assisted with their behaviour and outlook.
While observing one of my co-workers recently, I noticed that he always seems to be benefiting from opportunity after opportunity through the customers we serve. During his time working, he’s received free meals brought to him to try, new spare tires someone had left over, offers to have a coffee with female customers, a job invitation to work as a bouncer on weekends, information he’s the first to know like local deals, as well as freebies and discounts here and there.
His secret? Like many extroverts, he is the master of networking; he realizes the value of putting himself ‘out there’, and exposing himself so that whenever someone has something interesting to offer, they’ll think about him first.
A mistake I often made like many introverts, was becoming too focused and rigid in my thoughts and actions. When I went to a party, I’d plan ahead what my ‘goal’ was, and what benefit I’d get from it. For instance, if I wanted to meet a girl, I’d only focus on interacting with females I’d find attractive. The difference between Emilio and I, was that he would go there to have fun, and make new friends. Often through interacting with many people, he’d meet someone who had a sister or a friend who would “love to meet him”.
Our minds aren’t open to opportunities when we are too narrow and rigid in our focus, instead we become tense and anxious in our outlook, the opposite of the playful and open extroverted outlook that brings them so much luck. The introvert’s mental tension prevents their ability to notice the unexpected. Think, for instance, when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, but the more you try to remember it the more frustrated you become. Then, when you finally give up and carry on with life as normal, the word suddenly comes to you spontaneously, because your mental tension has been removed.
By breaking their daily routines, many extroverts are met with luck, and chance opportunities that make their lives more rich and exciting. Unfortunately the majority introverts aren’t the same. Our desire to avoid too much novelty stimulation depletes the luck and chance opportunities that could come our way in our lives. For instance, we usually tend to talk to the same type of people, take the same route to work, and go to the same places for holidays and so forth.
Next time you consider doing the same thing in the same old way, just consider this: luck comes to those who meet opportunities with an open and flexible mental attitude. Any new or random experience can introduce the potential for new opportunities in your life and dramatically increase your luck. So if you want more luck just like the extrovert, open up your mind and fly free!