Life LessonsSeizing Opportunity

How to be the Luckiest Person Alive!

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We were about 10 years old, playing blindfold tag in my friend’s house, annoying his parents probably to the brink of suicide – I know the feeling I’ve got step kids!

We were asked to play outside. Shortly after I tripped over a small wall down a big drop to the neighbours drive on the other side. Breaking your arm at that age while blind folded was horrible. These things kept happening to me.

Another time, a kid fired a half-eaten, rock hard sweet from an elastic string right into my eye. The jagged bit sliced my eye just to the side of my pupil. How did that happen from so far away?!

When I was a chef, I spilt smoking hot oil down my leg when a wok fell off the stove. My pants stuck to my skin and loads of flesh was just burned away, nightmare!

I used to bemoan any kind of bad luck or hardship I thought I had suffered. I used to think I was the unluckiest person alive, and expected bad things to happen.

The day after passing my driving test I crashed into a petrol station.

When I was playing for the school football team the manager pinned a notice on a board with the team selection for another teacher who was taking the team for the next game. It said not to play me because I didn’t tackle…

The whole school saw that public criticism…humiliating!

Nothing ever got me down for long though. These experiences all presented great opportunities to prove myself. This is not just important when you are growing up, but I’ve found it vital in life to try and see the opportunity in everything.

I am grateful for all these ‘bad’ experiences, knowing that they’ve made me who I am today.

Even up to a couple of years ago, I would be down about everything. I hated people. People are idiots. Why are there so many idiots more successful than me when I am so awesome?

Why hasn’t anything ever worked out for me?

Only recently have I began to understand the obviousness of how the world works and how people operate…

In my recent post – How to be in a Hollywood Show I wrote about some of the life habits I have adopted to create opportunities for myself and to get the most out of life.

Mega investor and billionaire, Chris Sacca says, ‘it may be lucky, but it is not an accident’

I love that quote.

Have you ever noticed that some of the most successful people seem to have had incredible luck…?

They caught the market at the right time. They inherited money to start a business with. They had friends in the right places. They benefitted from a major political change or event…

It isn’t luck.

Whatever it is that happened, it happened for them because they put themselves out there. They persisted and were smart enough to take advantage of their opportunity when it came along.

Here is one thing I try and do to be lucky in the business of life…

Be Genuinely Interested in Other People

When somebody is talking to you, do you focus only on what you are going to say next or do you actively listen to the other person?

How do you feel when you are trying to talk to someone and they are looking at their phone…?

Unimportant, insignificant, boring?

As Dale Carnegie wrote, “if you want to make people shun you … here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.”

I was at a corporate event last year when I got talking to a business consultant we were using in my job. He had been in the office a few times and had never really spoken to me.

He had just set up on his own, we were one of his first clients. I asked him all about his plans, how he had developed his career to that point and why he had decided to go it alone…

He talked for about an hour.

I allowed him to vent his fears and tell me all about his ideas for the company. I ignored everything else going on and listened intently the whole time.

When people want to ‘catch up’ with you or ask your advice on something they usually just want someone to talk to. They want to be listened to, they want to feel a sense of importance and to feel good about their lives.

If you have ever had the pleasure of being genuinely listened to by someone who was keen to hear about your life you will know that it is an experience of great satisfaction.

The next time I saw our consultant in the office did he give me the usual polite nod when saying hello? No. He came over shook my hand keenly and with a smile. He was happy to see me and was even keener to help us than he was before.

Another time, I was talking to a friend at the golf club. He was with a few others who I didn’t know at the time. He asked me how my honeymoon was, when one of the other guys said he had been to Vegas before too…

I immediately asked him to tell me what he thought of it and to tell me what he got up to.

He talked for about 20 minutes straight. Everyone else then pitched in with their own travel experiences.

I was genuinely interested in what they had done.

I didn’t say anything about our trip and I probably couldn’t have done even if I had wanted to. I learnt about others experiences rather than hearing my own story again.

They probably didn’t care about my holiday, they just wanted to share the awesomeness of their own lives…

To feel important.

Next time you are in a conversation with a group of friends, play a game and try and count how many times you hear the words ‘I’ ‘we’ ‘my’ ‘me.’ I think you’ll be shocked.

People are interested in talking about themselves. Why not give them what they are looking for and pay them the biggest compliment in life by listening to them keenly, with genuine interest…?

It will pay dividends in the long run, people will remember you, and want to help you.

You will meet new people, build relationships, and receive loads of free advice and ideas. You will open yourself up to a world of opportunity…

One day you will meet someone who will change your life.

You will have created your own luck.

People will look at you as I used to look at people. They will see you as one of the lucky ones, not knowing your secret to finding the opportunity that you did…

Don’t be angry at them though, they weren’t as lucky as you, they didn’t read this post.

-Matthew Brown

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