Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Success Books - "How To Attract Good Luck" Part 1

A.H.Z. Carr’s How to Attract Good Luck has been in print since 1952, clearly marking it as a classic in the success book genre and certainly worthy of inclusion on the same shelf as The Richest Man in Babylon” or Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. Carr has a remarkably scientific attitude toward luck, and, like many scientific minds before him, expertly strips away many levels of mysticism and metaphysics as he aims at a measurable, repeatable core understanding of how to increase your luck.

Consider a pitch thrown to Ted Williams, the last .400 hitter in baseball. We can visualize the pitches thrown to Williams as the events that occur to us in day-to-day life. As I understand it, Carr would say that Williams exposes himself to more pitches (by not swinging at bad ones) and knows exactly what to do in each area of the strike zone to make maximum use of the pitches that come at him. Certainly chance is involved: how good the opposing pitcher is, the winds and weather, the fielding abilities of the opposition...but...how much actual “luck”? Perhaps less than we imagine.

Similarly, for us non-batters, “luck” is :
1) Knowing what you are looking for (in a pitch or in life)
2) Staying positive about expecting it
3) Exposing yourself to enough events, so that you can reasonably expect a favorable one to occur
4) Recognizing it when you see it
5) Taking the right action, commensurate with your gifts, when you do see the right events come your way.

In Chapter 1 Carr explains that “it is our response to chance...that we call luck”, and the readier we are, the more lucky we will seem to be. Ready can be ready with skills, but one must also be ready psychologically. In other words, if all you are looking for is lemons, there won’t be any lemonade. Carr says of one individual “he is the kind of man whom it is easy for chance to help”.

There are many great stories of musical conductors (such as Leonard Bernstein) who were “lucky enough" to get a chance to conduct as a substitute for an ailing maestro at the last minute. This “stroke of luck” has launched many a career. But “luck” had nothing to do with years of musical studies and development...and certainly luck had nothing to do with being willing to answer the phone! Skill, preparations, psychological readiness, and actual willingness to do the job when it appears ... these factors certainly contribute to any “luck break”. And, as luck would have it, they are factors within our control.

Next...Carr’s discussion of “Zest”

Go to Part 2

Go to Part 3

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Travis Wright said...

Nice blog. I appreciate the Articles and book reviews. I suggest submitting some of your articles to a blog carnival or two... and drive some traffic to your site. Also, if you submit an article, Ill put it on CultivateGreatness.com!

Much Love-

Anonymous said...

Good book