What do you think it takes to get good luck? There are many opinions on this. One popular one is to prepare yourself so that you will be in the right position to capitalize on opportunities when they come. This is summarized in a Louis Pasteur’s quote that says “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”
But there’s an interesting take on it that I found recently in The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. There the author gives a simple tip to get good luck: be generous. You should be generous if you want to be lucky. In other words, you should make other people feel lucky to be around you.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Here are three reasons why:
- The quality of the people around you reflects your quality
Twyla Tharp is a choreographer and this is what she writes: To be a great choreographer (or teacher), you have to invest everything you have in your dancer… Without that generosity, you’ll always hold something back. The finished work shows it, and your audience knows it.
- People will reciprocate
Reciprocation is one of the weapons of influence described in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. The law of reciprocation is wired into us. Whenever someone does something good for us, we feel obliged to give back to her. The more you are generous, the more people are willing to reciprocate and the more opportunities will come your way.
- You will be known as a value provider
Not only will the people whom you help feel obliged to reciprocate, but they may also tell their friends about you. They may tell their friends about how much value they get from you. That will attract these friends to come to you. They may then tell their friends and it becomes viral. All these people attracted to you means more opportunities for you.
Here are two things you should do to apply this principle:
- Increase your value
Before you can give to others, you need to have something you can give. You need to have something that make other people want to come to you. If you have nothing, how can people feel lucky to be around you? So work hard to increase your value. Build your expertise in the field you choose and expand your network. Coincidentally, it means that you are also preparing for opportunities. By wanting to be generous you build yourself a “prepared mind.”
- Share without holding back
Now that you have something worth sharing, what you need to do is sharing it without holding back. It may take practice to do that, but over time you will feel more and more comfortable to share what you know. Again, the key here is not just to give but to be generous.
Photo by wilhei55