YES! AND… Facilitate, Innovate, Transform – Creative Gorilla# 9
“If an unlucky man sold umbrellas, it would stop raining. If he sold candles, the sun would never set; and if he made coffins, people would stop dying.”
Yiddish saying quoted in “The Luck Factor by Professor Richard Wiseman
This week I am running a course in Togo. It’s a hot, humid place; livid with mosquitoes eating Brooker Thermidor and my hotel is listed by the Foreign Office as being in a dangerous area.
So am I unlucky to be here? Well, I swim in an Olympic sized pool every morning, the food is good, my co – instructor left me a good bottle of wine and the trainees are warm and welcoming.
I figure I’m pretty lucky to be here and with that attitude, Professor Wiseman in his book (click the link in the quotation above) says that I am likely to be a lucky person. Great, but what has that to do with creativity?
The book outlines how you can make yourself lucky in a few simple steps. As I read the book I can’t help notice the similarities between the characteristics of creative people and the lucky people described in the book.
Take his Principle One (and sub principles): “Maximise your chance opportunities…lucky people create notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their life. They network well, have a relaxed attitude and are open to new experiences”. Substitute “creative” for “lucky” and you could read that in any book on creativity.
Likewise Principle Two: “Listen to your lucky hunches… lucky people use their intuition and gut feelings to make successful decisions and take steps to boost their intuition.”
With Principle Three: “Expect good fortune”, I thought perhaps the link had gone, but look at its Sub Principle Two: “Lucky people attempt to achieve their goals, even if their chances of success seem slim and persevere in the face of failure”. (Thomas Edison springs to mind as well as… no, I promised myself never to mention Post It notes in these articles). They also “expect their interactions with others to be lucky and successful and for their good luck to continue” – no bad attitude for innovation.
To compare Principle Four: “Turn your bad luck in to good” with creativity may be a bit of a stretch, but when you are next in the middle of a project that has just experienced bad luck, you might like to know that “lucky people are able to transform their bad luck into good fortune. They see the positive side of ill fortune and are convinced that it will turn out for the good in the long run. They don’t dwell on ill fortune and take constructive steps to prevent more bad luck in the future”. That’s a good approach for creative people too.
It seems that the attitude you need for a lucky life could be a successful attitude for creativity too. Could you make your team and your organisation more creative, by getting others to adopt these principles?
Even if there is resistance in these wider areas to the concept of being creative, perhaps you could use some subterfuge (Creative Guerilla?) and introduce them as the principles to be lucky? After all, who is going to say, “no thanks, I’d rather be unlucky.”
Here are some suggestions:
- Buy the book (around £7), adopt these principles to make yourself lucky and see if it makes you more creative or innovative.
- Buy the book for someone who is resistant to creativity and see if it might change their attitude (or buy it for yourself and pass it on when you’ve read it!)
- Buy the book for your whole team (and start a lottery syndicate!)
I had prepared another sign off for this article, but as I unpacked from my trip this morning I couldn’t help reading the final pages of the book. It seems Wiseman has tested his “luck techniques” on an organisation with great success.
I wondered if creative organisations that succeed are “lucky” or if “lucky” companies are creative. What’s your view?
May the rest of your life be full of good luck.
John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.
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