Meeting people – luck or a state of mind

I just read a fascinating article that was written for O Magazine, “How to Get Lucky” by Ben Sherwood.  In his article he talks about whether chance meetings are simply luck or whether they are a result of a preconditioned state of mind.

In this day and age, we need all the contacts and support we can get.  Audience development is all about building relationships to get the support we need for our art.

Ben Sherwood uses the expertise of Richard Wiseman, PhD, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire in England.  Wiseman’s title is professorship in the public understanding of psychology.

Luck is usually defined as an unpredictable phenomenon that leads to good or bad outcomes. But after years of experiments, Wiseman disagrees. “Luck is not a magical ability or a gift from the gods,” he writes in The Luck Factor, his 2003 book about the essential principles of changing your fortune. “Instead, it is a way of thinking and behaving.” He insists that we have far more control over the element—and outcome—of chance in our lives than we realize. In fact, he argues that only 10 percent of life is truly random. The remaining 90 percent is “actually defined by the way you think.”

The article goes on to discuss Wiseman’s experiment with two people being given the opportunity to “find” money and the way that incident related to the rest of their day.  They were both told to go to a particular coffee shop for an interview.  One person “found” the money (taped to the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop) and the other didn’t.  The one who found the money went on to have a great conversation with a potential business partner in the coffee shop (also planted).  He viewed his day as lucky.  The one who didn’t find the money said her day was uneventful.  Wiseman expounds that lucky people are extroverted and they have a better ability at maintaining friendships.  Their mindset seems to be a magnet for meeting new people and finding positive opportunities.

What also fascinated me about this article were the statistics that Wiseman poses about meeting people.  The “chance” of forming new relationships can be a great deal easier than we thought.

Ultimately, Wiseman believes, the bigger your circle of acquaintances, the more opportunities you have. A typical person knows about 300 people on a first-name basis. So if you go to a party and meet someone new, he explains, you’re “only two handshakes away from 300 times 300 people; that’s 90,000 new possibilities for a new opportunity, just by saying hello.” By the same logic, if you meet 50 new people at a conference, you’re just a couple of introductions away from 4.5 million opportunities to change your life.

Wow, that is a lot of potential relationships that could be built.  You never know who is going to be the next big donor, volunteer, fan, or all around supporter of your art.  Wouldn’t it make sense to stay in a lucky state of mind to make that chance meeting happen?

For the complete article:

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!


Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.
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