Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Good Luck is Good Business -- Here's How to Make Both

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’re in luck.


Whether or not you're wearing a green T-shirt or sipping green beer today, there are ways to cultivate good fortune that lasts all year -- and not just when leprechauns are prowling. Research reveals that luck no mystical and elusive force: People are capable of creating their own -- both good and bad.

Here, four ways the most charmed people make their own luck and how you can do the same, for both business and life. 

Related: 20 Motivational Quotes from Legendary Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Visionaries

1. Creating and noticing chance encounters

The oft-cited luck study conducted by Dr. Richard Wiseman asked participants to count all the photos in a newspaper. Self-identified unlucky participants completed the task in about two minutes, but the lucky ones took only a few seconds. Why? Because they noticed the giant banner in the paper that gave the answer and told them to stop counting. In other words, lucky people are more observant -- a fact that can be applied to business ownership in dozens of ways: turning an idea into a new business, seeing an obstacle as an opportunity to solve a problem, realizing the man you’re stuck next to in line at the DMV is your ideal client.

2. Following their intuition

Most business owners have followed their gut instinct at some point. The luckiest among us have learned when to trust that instinct. Turns out, there’s science to support the role that intuition plays in sound decision making. In the fast-moving world of business ownership, following intuition can be especially important when deciding with whom to work, whether to press on with a costly project or how to solve a complicated problem.

Related: Entrepreneurs and Hustlers Are 2 Tracks on the Same Record

3. Maintaining positive expectations

Our expectations effect reality. In everyday life, we refer to this phenomenon as the placebo effect. A study a few years ago reminded us of its potency when researchers found that people’s brains responded more favorably when they thought the $10 wine they were drinking cost $90. The takeaway: When you expect things to go well, you’ll find that they do. Expect a client presentation to bomb? It probably will. Expect to be able to negotiate a lower price for your accountant’s services? You probably will. And lest you think the results of a wine taste test can’t be applied to something as complex as a business, consider the research that shows that blind people who learn to “see” through echolocation are actually able to activate the visual cortex of their brains. They expect to perceive their environment and their brains find a way to do it.

4. Being resilient enough to turn bad luck into good

Has a middle-of-the-night power outage ever reset your alarm clock so you’re running late the next day? If you’re naturally “unlucky,” you probably beat yourself up about how the tardiness was going to ruin your day. If you’re the lucky type, though, you probably told yourself you got a chance to catch up on sleep or avoid rush hour traffic -- even if it meant being late to work. One component of luck, as it turns out, is being able to see the bright side of any bad experiences. The best part? By doing that, you’re establishing yourself as already lucky, which sets up positive expectations, which leads to positive outcomes.

The takeaway here is that you can create your own luck. Many of the behaviors that make a person lucky are completely within one's control. While you may not land billions in venture capital overnight, begin to take advantage of luck-producing opportunities like these, and that pot of gold may be easier to come by than you think. 

Related: Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran: Real Winners Say 'Hit Me Again'

Ted Devine

Written By

Ted Devine is CEO of Chicago-based Insureon, an online insurance agency for small and micro businesses. Previously, Devine held senior leadership positions at Aon Corp. and spent 12 years as a director of McKinsey & Co.