10 practices of lucky people

According to Mark Banschick, MD, my 15-year-old grandson and I had a lucky week.


Photo by Irene Dávila on Unsplash


Maybe I should explain.

In a Psychology Today piece, Dr. Banschick outlines several habits of lucky people. They …

1. Take advantage of time and opportunity

Here’s where my grandson comes in: He and I had the fabulous opportunity of spending this past week in a remote Idaho cabin — playing and working in a beautiful, broad valley surrounded by tall green hills. How lucky were we?!



“Time is relentlessly unkind,” wrote Dr. Banschick. “An event that you turn down now is an event that will never – ever – happen again.”

2. Maintain openness

“Optimism leads to a kind of openness,” said Banschick. “It’s okay to be a bit in awe of the world.”

Believe me when I say we were in awe of the world this past week: The surrounding nature, the herds of deer and elk, the lone coyote we saw a couple different times, the gaggle of white geese taking a break in the pond below the cabin.

And this view from the ridge high above the cabin.



3. Practice generosity

From Dr. Banschick’s article: “People who make their own luck are generous. They understand that sharing often makes for more good energy and more connections.”

4. Develop skills

Dr. Banschick told about a five-day hike in Turkey, and although the idea intimidated him at first, it ended up being an amazing experience. “Making your own luck,” he wrote, “often pushes you to develop new skills that you never imagined.”

And then these 6 additional tips from my personal list for making our own good luck:

5. Apply wholeheartedness

Put your whole heart into what you’re doing. The Fifteen-Year-Old and I played and worked full-heartedly at the ranch.

Wisdom from Thomas Jefferson:

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.


6. Incorporate gratitude and optimism

Gratitude and optimism are related. As in, first cousins. Although, my grandson has spent most of his life in New Jersey, he has his grandparents’ country blood in him. More than once this past week, he expressed his amazement at being surrounded by nature and the wildlife that crossed our path, particularly the rather large bear paw print we came across while hiking.

Those who make a practice of whining and cynicism and distrustfulness and ingratitude — those people don’t get lucky.

7. Surround yourself with good people

Recruit a coach or mentor. Build community. Network. Ask for critique. Solicit advice. Stay connected.

And watch how your luck flows.

8. Take good care of your health

My grandson and I took good care of our health this past week.

Hiking into the tall hills. Stacking firewood. Riding the range on a four-wheeler, the wind blowing our joy into laughter. Multiple ping pong tournaments. Spreading soil and ashes in the raised garden beds.

And every evening, a movie from the DVD collection at the cabin: Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Blind Side. Catch Me If You Can. Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith.

“Hey, most of the movies we picked are based on true stories,” observed The Fifteen-Year-Old.

And thus we nurtured our bodies, souls, and spirits.

People with good physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual health don’t simply get lucky; they take care of themselves to allow for a full reserve from which to draw and bless others.

9. Exhibit kindness

Harold Kushner said this:

When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.

Want to get lucky and change the world? Practice kindness at every opportunity.

10. Live intentionally

Notice this moment, this day. Family. Spring breaks. Remote ranches surrounded by God’s gorgeous creation. The gobble of wild turkeys. Deer observed through the spotting scope. This day of sunshine as we peeled off layers. And this day of arctic wind and rain drops as we hunkered down near the fireplace.


And there you have it. Ten practices of the lucky. Except you know by now that luck has nothing to do with any of it.

It’s about choices: Paying attention to the people who surround us, to the simple pleasures that make up our days. Speaking gratitude for those people, those pleasures. Living on purpose, with purpose.

Have to say, I’m feeling rather lucky. Or, more accurately: Feeling rather blessed.


P.S. If you’re feeling lucky, please share, tweet or pin!


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  1. Nasus

    So lucky, no blessed!, to know you, Marlys! Delightful coverage of your time with your grandson, each of you a great gift to the other! God has blessed both of you! Love you!

  2. Peter

    I totally get these 10 practices…. I could never have achieved taking on such challenges which were ‘life changing’ and like you being able to share, that I understand. Feeling blessed is such a privilege and blessings should to be shared. I love to know that you experienced so much in Idaho, being in God’s wilderness. I pray you ‘Counted it all Joy’ – James 1-2 Thanks again, I much appreciate being able to share….. though I’m so far away. God Bless, Barbara & Peter & family.

  3. Julie

    I think of you often, Marlys. You challenge and encourage me with your life and your fabulous posts! What a fun week. You must be so invigorated and fulfilled… and so exhausted!
    Much love, Julie

    • Great words, Julie: “invigorated, fulfilled” … and now ready to write non-stop as I’m on my own for the next three weeks here in this beautiful remote place!

  4. Barbara

    Wonderful subject today, Marlys, as always. Peter speaks of his journey traveling across America with a friend on their bicycles, imagine all the “luck” they experienced day after day. Will put your ideas into action later in going to the beach meeting up with son and dil.

  5. Art Vinall

    This is one of your best, Marlys! I love keeping up with your adventures. You are living the good life in spite of your loss. Keep it up!
    LIFE IS GOOD Who would have thought that I could be saying that? It is now exactly 7 years post stage 3 lung cancer. Incidentally, I will be celebrating a big birthday come September! Just how “lucky” can any one guy get? Art XXX

    • Art, you were the “poster child” for how you managed stage 3 lung cancer in your early 90s. And if I’m not mistaken, the big birthday coming up is your 100th! And still going strong. You are my hero!

  6. Gary Wirth

    tMarlys what a great story to spend that time with your grandson wish we could do that time with our grandson and son. Keep doing these things with your family, it is a very special time.

  7. Love this one, Marlys. Fortune Favor the Brave kept coming to mind as I read. (: Also fortunately, I met you (because I flew to OR!!)

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