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