Monday, January 24, 2011

Being Lucky

I was sitting and thinking to myself today: how lucky am I? And the answer is that I am very, very lucky. And just as I was thinking about this, a friend of mine rang up. Now, he lives in a much nicer home than I do, has a larger income than I do, and yet he is still envious of my luck. Why, I wonder?

Well, he wakes up depressed more mornings than he wakes up happy. Me, I see every day I'm alive as a gift, a blessing, so I tend to be thankful as soon as I open my eyes. Little things happen to me: A bill turns up that I'd have trouble paying, and suddenly some unexpected income turns up, too, usually about right to cover the bill. I miss a bus and have to catch the next one: next thing I know the bus I should have been on is on the side of the road broken down, passengers milling around waiting for a substitute bus which hadn't arrived yet and would have got me to my destination much later than the "late" bus. I turn up to the local Farmers Market in the rain, people are cursing and going away, and I find that unique item on a stall that's being packed up, not boxed yet, which will make a perfect birthday present for that difficult family member. 

How lucky am I! But back to my friend. As I suggested, he is materially better-off than I am, yet he considers me lucky. Why? Well, when he drives the two of us anywhere, he's constantly frustrated by other cars on the road. When I drive us anywhere, I'm humming under my breath with the pleasure of driving. His face is blank most of the time: when I'm doing blank-faced stuff like walking down the road or through a shopping centre, I usually have a smile all over my face. What can I say - I am lucky, the sun shines on me or the rain falls on me with equal blessing.

He reads this blog, and at the end of our phone call, he said I could write about being lucky some time. But how do you write about being lucky? I agree with the experts, that luck is not arbitrary, is not something that  "just happens". But while I accept without question that I am luckier than he is and I feel as if I know why, I'm not sure I will be able to describe it in a meaningful way. However, I'm just about to try!

Luck and happiness are sisters - they stroll arm-in-arm through the world, smiling at those around them. It is those who look them in the eye and smile back who are lucky, who are happy. Don't get me wrong: they aren't in a constant state of bliss night and day, they are not protected from every misfortune. It's about general trends, and about how people feel about their lives. Probably my friend has more actual good fortune, materially speaking, than I do - I just happen to be more appreciative of my life than he is of his.

I cannot turn anyone into a happy, lucky person with my words. How each person lives, and the feelings they have about their circumstances, is entirely down to themselves. But I do have a few hints you might try to use in your day-to-day lives, that will have an effect on your perception of your luck.

* When you feel unhappy, depressed or worried, take a moment to think about people worse-off than you are. There are people who are in jail. There are people who are paralysed. There are homeless people. There are people in a coma with little or no realistic chance of recovery. There are people with no limbs. There are people who belong in more than one of these groups. If you wake up in the morning and you are still breathing and thinking, you are ahead of the game compared to other people - start your day appreciating that, and smiling. It will make a big difference to the rest of your day, if you recognise and acknowledge that piece of luck. Luck chases luck.

* Live in the moment. Forget about that past bad luck you have had - it's gone, it no longer exists. And stop comparing the present to some golden era in your past when you felt luckier - that's gone, too.  And why worry about that future problem? Events may never play out the way you imagine. In fact, imagining how they will play out, you make yourself behave in a way more likely to let misfortune into your life. It's like the ex-criminals I saw interviewed once, who said they selected people that used the body-language of victims, and would never go near anyone walking tall and with no hesitation, even if they were tiny and it was night-time. Your attitude shapes your future to a great extent. All you have is the now, so live in it, don't whicker it away worrying about what is not the now.

* Allow the world to be a friendly place. People who think the world, and strangers in it, are out to get them, coincidentally have lives full of bad-luck stories. People who think the world will support them if they support it, and that every strange face is a potential friend, have lives peppered with frequent bits of good luck. Your environment is only full of danger if you expect it to be. So don't expect it to be! Ah, but what about all the grim stuff that happens in the news, I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you something about the news. For something to become newsworthy, it has to be vanishingly rare. If it happened commonly, it wouldn't be reported. In Australia, for example, you have one-thousandth the chance of being murdered than you have of dying of pancreatic cancer. They don't throw front-page items about pancreatic cancer deaths. Don't be afraid of night-time or empty streets: at night many of the bad guys are home, too, and in an empty street there is no one to harm you. Trust your environment and you will be lucky.

* Be awake, be aware. If you take a lively and a friendly interest in the people, places and things around you, you will be more likely to see opportunity. You cannot take an opportunity if you are blind to it, nor can you take it if you are fearful. So be engaged: be engaged in the moment, in the world around you, in your community, even in your family. Paying attention will bring benefits as various as noticing a business opportunity or a job that needs doing in your employer's company leading to financial advancement, to putting your foot on the brake a split-second earlier, avoiding that "unavoidable" accident at a corner or a traffic light. Lucky people are curious and open-eyed.

* Listen to your intuition, your gut-feeling. We have two sources of information in our lives: reason or intellect, which is informed by our five primary senses, and the intuition, which has no logical source and is linked into subliminal perceptions that cannot be measured but our current level of scientific technology. Over the decades there have been two really big, major business decisions I've had to make at times when my intellect was saying one thing, and my gut feeling was saying another. The first was in 1987 when I had been a hypnotherapist for a fairly short time: I had the opportunity to rent a room in an inner-city clinic. On paper, even the fine-print looked fine. My intuition was disturbed and uncomfortable, so I went over everything with a fine toothed comb, and still the paperwork looked okay. I went into the clinic against my gut-feeling, and I and two other practitioners there were driven out of business within six or seven months. In my case I was lucky - I was able to set up somewhere else. The second occasion was twenty years later, and involved the acceptance of an interstate job-offer. My life was at a standstill at the time, so I accepted, even though I had misgivings I couldn't account for. The offer of work turned out to be not real - the person had a track record of dragging people from all over Australia to her town just to make her feel important, to make her feel as if he wasn't totally powerless. Again I salvaged the situation: I found other work in the town, and ended up being very happy there. But the position I was "hired" for just didn't exist, and I would have avoided losing thousands of dollars worth of furniture and so forth if I followed my instinct and hadn't moved. Trust your intuition - it is on your side.

* Decide what you want, and go for it! Every millionaire I know, every person who is "lucky in love" and quite possibly every person who is generally lucky in other ways, works at it. Make up your mind what kind of industry you want to involve yourself in, or what qualities you expect in a life-partner, and go out and look for it. Once you have found it, work day and night, work hard and work long - and your luck will come to you. When my daughter reached the minimum legal age when children can have paid work in Australia, she went out looking for a job, I told her my philosophy of work. I told her that the employer she signed up with was not well-thought-of and wasn't paying her a huge hourly wage, but if she wanted to do well, she was well-advised to work harder than her workmates, far harder than she needed to work to avoid being fired, learn everything she could about the business and the industry, and be strictly honest. I said she wouldn't get paid a higher hourly rate than her peers, but as her employers recognised her abilities, they would give her more and more hours, and she would end up a lot richer than the other kids working there because of it. She put that philosophy into action enthusiastically, and both in that first job and the subsequent one she left to go to university recently, she was very highly valued indeed. In fact, her most recent employer told me that in thirty years of running businesses, she had had only one other employee as good as my daughter. Now, there's a young person who is always lucky at work and lucky in her bosses. She makes her own luck by working at it - so can you. If she can, anyone can.

As you can see from these points, there are definite techniques and approaches to the world which result in luck. I'd like to make one last point about luck. As an expectant parent, would you feel lucky if you gave birth to a happy, healthy baby boy? Okay, would you feel lucky if that baby boy, though healthy, had no arms or legs - would you feel lucky then? And what if you had been a baby just like him, born without arms or legs, if you were an adult now, and never had arms or legs? Couldn't walk, dress yourself, feed yourself? Would you feel lucky? Well, Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs. And yet, he comes across as an emotionally healthy, life-affirming, happy and above-all appreciative person, who honours the luck he has in life. Watch this video of him talking to people with the normal number of arms and legs, and decide for yourself how unlucky you really are. If you are physically better-off than Nick, you really have no right to allow yourself to be unlucky. Watch the video, and do something about your own luck now!

As a qualified hypnotherapist, I can offer meditation/self hypnosis recordings, tailored to the specific issues and needs of individuals. These are much more effective and life-changing than the one-size-fits-all mass-produced recordings that you can buy on the market for a few dollars, designed for a non-existent "average" person. Contact me to discuss your individual needs, the areas of your life where your luck needs tuning up, and I will get back to you with a quote for your individual recording.

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