Have you ever wondered at the difference between those who seem blessed with luck and those who seem perpetually unlucky? I’m talking about circumstances that run deeper than rain on a wedding day or missing the bus by 30 seconds. It turns out that the most essential quality that lucky people possess is a state of mind.
Lucky people seem to generate their own good fortune, but it’s not all due to hard or conscientious work. For example, one quality of lucky people is a tendency towards extraversion; they are more likely to have something good happen to them because they encounter more people and tend to be more open to new ideas. Extraversion also tends to go hand-in-hand with less anxiety, anger, and depression.
That idea seems simple enough: the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to increase your chances of a fortuitous situation. Two other qualities common in lucky people are being flexible and allowing yourself to stray off-task. Why? Flexible people respond with less rigidity to a situation, which provides more opportunities for solutions and lucky outcomes. Similarly, being overly conscientious can result in missing the point—“losing the forest through the trees,” so to speak. A stubborn focus on a task does not allow us to see hidden opportunities or to catch lucky breaks.
So what is the connection between lucky people and solution-focused counseling? A solution-focused therapist helps the client look for what is going well in life, as well as what is not. The therapist is more interested in helping a client apply his own strengths to a situation using flexibility, cognitive reframing (looking at a problem from a different point of view), and taking the focus off the problem exclusively. Sound familiar? This is the way lucky people approach their lives.
Because solution-focused therapy isn’t problem-oriented, a client spends much more time examining alternative ideas to nagging issues. This requires flexibility, because it is not easy to see good fortune or hopeful outcomes in the same area where one might have failed again and again.
A solution-focused therapist also helps the client become confident in his own strengths and abilities, which gives the client more incentive to say yes to a potentially lucky situation. Saying yes, and learning how to not live feeling trapped by the fear of regret or guilt, expands a client’s choices. As we learned above, expanded choices increase luck.
Being guided by a solution-focused therapist and experiencing luck does not mean that there will not be obstacles along the way. But a solution-focused mindset teaches the client resiliency. Because I believe that a client’s strengths—including those that are untapped—are greater than his shortcomings, I can help a client rebound from failure. Resiliency is much easier to implement when you believe that more good fortune is just around the corner.
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