By Carol Kline
Every June, as another wave of students graduates from college, commencement speakers everywhere share their wisdom on what it takes to be successful. One theme that resurfaces regularly is that being lucky on life’s journey requires seizing new opportunities, keeping an open mind, and trying new things.
This is solid commonsense advice that’s also been confirmed by recent research in the field of positive psychology. Numerous studies show that trying new things—including varying your routine, saying yes to new ideas and methods, and tackling things you’re afraid to do—is an important catalyst for increasing luck. Want to give it a shot? The simplest and least daunting way to venture into the unfamiliar is to change up your daily activities.
A lot of us go about our lives on autopilot. We get up at the same time, get ready for work in much the same way, drive to and from work along the same route, talk to the same people, eat the same types of food, and so on. Often this is because we’ve discovered the most efficient way to do what we need to get done. But just as walking repeatedly along the same path over time can wear a deep groove in the ground, taking the same actions day after day puts us in a rut. Even if it’s a healthy, efficient rut, it still limits our chances to be lucky.
Treading the same old paths for too long exhausts the novel possibilities available along those paths. On top of that, we become desensitized to the world around us—have you ever driven to a routine destination and on arriving, realized you don’t recall a single thing you passed along the way?
Decide today to mix it up a little: take a new route somewhere, go to a different store for your groceries, try a new style of clothing or a new hairdo, sample an ethnic cuisine you’ve never tried, or visit a previously unexplored part of town. Breaking out of your familiar routine increases your exposure to different people, ideas, and outlooks.
Plus, when you take a new path on your daily walk, or drive an alternate route to work or school, you’ll not only see new things, you’ll see through fresh eyes, with a heightened perception of the world around you. This enhanced receptivity significantly increases your luck by allowing you to spot chances and openings you’d likely have missed while on autopilot. A fresh perspective could lead to meeting new people who enrich your life in tangible and intangible ways, encountering new vistas that inspire and uplift you, or attending events and classes that allow you to discover new passions, or even a new career. There’s a world of possibilities beyond your current boundaries.
No matter who or where you are, you can make this simple shift. Try it and watch your good fortune blossom.
BIO: Carol Kline is a #1 New York Times bestselling author whose books include Happy for No Reason, Love for No Reason, five books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and the upcoming Conscious Luck: Eight Secrets to Intentionally Change Your Fortune, co-authored with Gay Hendricks.