Successful People Make Their Own Luck

Commitment to taking personal responsibility for your success is one of the keys to career and life success that is part of my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. 

If you want to succeed, you must commit to three things.  First, you must take personal responsibility for your success.  Only you can make you a success.  You need to be willing to do the things necessary to succeed.  Second, you must set high goals — and then do whatever it takes to achieve them.   Third, stuff happens; as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks.  You need to react positively to the negative stuff and move forward toward your goals.

A while back I blogged about a book called The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman who claims that you can learn to be lucky.  In fact, Dr. Wiseman even lists five steps for learning to be lucky.

First, don’t assume there is nothing you can do about any situation.  Make the decision to take control.

Second, do something now.

Third, make a list of various options.  Be creative.  Brainstorm.  Come up with as many ideas as you can.

Fourth, decide how you will move forward.  Consider every possible alternative.

Fifth, take action.  Be prepared to adapt your action as the future unfolds.

Richard Wiseman calls this a prescription for learning to be luck.  I call it committing to taking personal responsibility for creating a successful life and career.  Every one of the five steps above is a manifestation of your willingness to commit to taking personal responsibility for your life and career.

Let’s look at them again. 

First, deciding that you can control a situation is the first step in controlling it.  It’s like throwing a mental switch that puts you in charge and demonstrates your commitment to taking personal responsibility for your life and success.

Second, the mere act of doing something moves you forward.  You may not be successful the first – or even second or third time – but the fact that you try and keep trying is another manifestation of your commitment to taking responsibility for your life and career.

Third, thinking through your options puts you in control.  Often at first it may seem that your options are limited.  However, if you take the time to review everything you can do in a given situation, you’ll be able to come up some good ideas for helping you get on top of any situation you face.

Fourth, choose and option, put it into play and see what happens.  If it doesn’t work, choose another one.  If that doesn’t work, choose another one.  In this way, you are not only being systematic about creating your own success, you are demonstrating the resilience common to people who commit to taking personal responsibility for their success.

Fifth, be adaptable.  What works at first may no longer work as you move forward.  If you’re committed to taking personal responsibility for yourself and your success, you’ll change with the times.  You won’t sit back and bemoan the fact that things have changed.  You’ll be in charge, changing with the times – and even causing the times to change.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people commit to taking personal responsibility for their lives and careers.  You can demonstrate your commitment to taking personal responsibility for you success by doing five things.  1) Decide you are in control.  2) Do something to show yourself you are in control.  3) Think through all of your options in a given situation.  4) Choose an option and act.  If it doesn’t work, choose another option.  5) Be adaptable.  Change with the times.  In The Luck Factor, Richard Wiseman calls these five steps a method for learning to be lucky.  I say they are a recipe for demonstrating your commitment to taking personal responsibility for your life and career.

That’s my take on luck, personal responsibility and success.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. I like the 5 steps; however, I think there is an additional step that is critical. You need to know what is important to you (values) and what goals you are trying to reach. Then before choosing which option to pursue, examine each one and ask yourself if it is in sync with your values and goals — or maybe assess the likelihood that the given action will take you a step closer to your goals. The option chosen may still not work, but the chances of it being successful will be greater.

  2. The Luck Factor-

    In the book, “The Richest Man in Babylon,” the author includes a chapter called “The Luckiest Man in Babylon,” in which he describes the work and thought behind true luck.

    I call it buying the ticket, which comes from an old joke about a man bemoaing to God that he hasn’t won the lottery. The response is that the man cannot be in the position to win the lottery unless he first buys a ticket.

  3. You’re right Glenn:
    You need a ticket to win — and usually that ticket is hard work.

  4. You’re right Sharon — your goals need to be in sync with your values. I just did a couple of posts on personal values. Check them out and let me know what you think.

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