It might seem like luck is something you are born to be. Fortunately, being lucky has nothing to do with birth, innate ability, or even talent. If there’s been a theme thus far, it is that luck is achievable through creating conditions for luck — and that is wholly within your control. Truly being lucky boils down to a short aphorism by the Roman philosopher and statesman, Seneca: “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.” If you are a manager then mental health in the workplace is a subject that you will be aware of.
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In Ancient Rome, Seneca lived a life that defined luck. He was born into a low rank, but through his hard work and awareness, he moved up into the realm of the elite in Rome. His “luck” brought him a friendship with Roman emperors, including Claudius and Nero. He eventually became one of the wealthiest people of his day. Was Seneca luckier than most people? He certainly wasn’t unlucky. But he also understood the workings of the world which is clear throughout the philosophical texts he crafted in his lifetime. He embodied several of the traits that modern researchers and psychologists consider to be those of lucky people. A reaction to a difficult life event, such as bereavement, can make employee wellbeing higher on the agenda.
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There are a handful of traits which are common in people who consider themselves to be lucky. A psychologist who has extensively studied luck, has found that people who are lucky find themselves in a certain state of mind that makes them more aware of lucky occurrences. You can call it a lucky mindset, or simply the tendency to get themselves into situations many people would call lucky. In several experiments relating to luck, he found that those who achieve it tend to have three consistent personality traits.
Those three personality traits for luck include variations on the spectrums of extroversion, openness, and neuroticism, found that people with those three traits were available to opportunities that turned into lucky moments. These three traits seemed to give people a better chance at being in the right place at the right time and maximizing their opportunities for great outcomes.
Extroversion is the first trait found to be highly correlated with luck. According to the Big 5 Factors theory of personality, extroversion is defined by people being assertive, energetic, and talkative. Someone who shows extroversion is likely to be lucky due to an enthusiastic involvement with the outside world. Extroverts have an easy time talking to anyone, so they often have opportunities to meet interesting people. Extroverts become highly energized when they are around other people. They are likely to become the life of any party. They are easy to notice in crowds because of their talkative and energetic personalities, which could explain why lucky things happen to them. If we take luck to be a quantity which increases with exposure and experience, extroverts are necessarily luckier because they crave that exposure. The more opportunities you come across, even bad ones, you will find an equal proportion of good ones. The more you try, the more you discover and experience. Simply, you’re going to have more lucky breaks when you meet ten people a day versus none.