Learning 692

A lucky start in life means being taught as a child that your life is in your control.

Lucky children are happy children, and you can make your kids luckier by teaching them the principles of life from an early age.

To increase a child’s luck, you should show them the wealth of opportunities available to them, while refraining from forcing them down any particular path.

Dr. Jessica Levenstein, from the Horace Mann School, in New York, believes that children (and, by extension, adults) will be happier if they believe their lives are governed by their own actions, as opposed to by external actors. She explains that parents who refuse to allow their children to be educated by specific teachers – because, say, that teacher has a poor reputation – often stifle their children’s independence and learning.

For instance, the author once wanted to change her son’s teacher, but was encouraged by the school principal to approach the situation with a positive attitude and not get involved. Ultimately, her son and his teacher ended up getting along well and being a great fit for one another.

The author also talks about her own father’s habit of ignoring her report cards, and concerning himself instead with how she felt she had done.

By letting children see the effects of their own efforts, even if those efforts are mistakes, they’re able to learn a lot about themselves and the world.

Another thing you can teach children is that they don’t have to follow conventional paths.

In high school, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded a tiny data-analysis business that didn’t really succeed but nonetheless went on to form the basis of Microsoft. Gates was amazed that his father, who had spoken with the headmaster, gave him the go-ahead rather than pushing him to focus on his studies. By allowing him to pursue seemingly unimportant adventures, his parents allowed the space to develop the self-belief that would later make him the successful and lucky billionaire we know today.

As you can see, it’s extremely important to build the foundations of success by showing children that they have control over their own decisions.

Luck is more in our control than we think. By following the principles outlined here – that is, combining hard work, talent and chance, and preparing and putting yourself in places where opportunity is likely to strike – you can increase your susceptibility to luck.

Actionable advice:

Steer through life with a compass, not a map.

To find the places where the opportunities to become lucky are high, you need to have a plan. But an overly rigid plan – that is, clearly defined life map – can cause you to miss those important opportunities. So trade out your map for a compass. If you know the general direction you wish to go in, you will be able to adapt if the landscape changes around you. It requires courage and self-confidence, but walking your own path will lead you to opportunities that might just change your luck.

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