How to Get Lucky

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    40 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    One thing for you to think about

    Luck doesn’t just happen, it’s created. You can do things to increase the odds of serendipity. Meeting more people makes you lucky. Learning more skills makes you lucky. Being willing to fail makes you lucky. Offering to help others more often makes you lucky.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Two things for you to ask yourself

    How often do you blame your circumstances on bad luck? What can you do to add more luck into your life?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Do something that increases the chances something good happens to you—this could be doing co-workers a favor, volunteering your time on the weekend, taking the time to meet other parents at your child’s school, whatever. Think of something you can do, then go do it.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to take a long hard look at your moral beliefs. Ask yourself: what if a belief you held sacred was wrong?

    Most people shudder at this exercise, but Narelle said she really enjoyed the challenge:

    Through generational trauma, my core beliefs have been that it is admirable to suffer, and those who live a lavish life, unabashedly going for their goals and exposing themselves to the world should be ashamed of their behavior.

    My morals are, ‘Don’t be bold, don’t be showy,’ and ‘You are not enough and people who act like that are arrogant and inconsiderate jerks.’ I manipulate people into thinking I am disadvantaged and use it as an excuse to keep myself stuck.

    If this is in fact wrong, it means that I am using past pain as an excuse to judge people incorrectly and unfairly, not with love and encouragement.

    If I can let this go, I could be treating people with acknowledgement and excitement for their achievements and expression of self, and maybe even give permission for myself to do the same.

    Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

    This is a great and powerful example of the sort of questioning that must eventually happen with any trauma response. When we endure a great amount of pain, our mind distorts our beliefs to justify that pain. And often that justification involves the unfair judgment of everyone else.

    Many readers, questioning their moral beliefs, got to thinking about religious ones that they hold. One wrote in with candor about a struggle they’re facing:

    Well this is not fun, but here goes. When I think of morality, usually what comes up is religion. I started off thinking I’m flexible about it—specifically eating/not eating beef. I don’t eat it, and my parents don’t. But almost all my generation, even in my immediate family, has tried it at some point. However, for me it is a complete no.

    Now, I’ve married a non-Hindu. When I think of my kid, I imagine getting really mad if she even thinks about eating beef. I’m expecting to impose my beliefs on her, whether she likes it or not, through intimidation/guilt. That’s the first thought that occurs.

    But, now that you’re asking us to examine such thoughts, I guess that won’t really be fair to her. Not just because she’s being raised in a culture where beef eating is fairly common, or because her heritage is only half Hindu, but also because no matter what I do, she’ll do what she wants to anyway in the end.

    So, is it worth me becoming the bad guy and exercising this intimidating technique just because this issue is important to me, and this is the only way I know parenting has ‘worked’ for such topics?

    We’re just hitting all of the fun topics in today’s email. Next up: politics, Kat is seeing the monster in extremism:

    I follow a variety of social media accounts, a few of which seem to be closer to the tail ends of the political spectrum. A few years ago when I started following them, they got my attention because they made me think, and had perspectives beyond what I was comfortable with. They helped me expand my thoughts around political matters.

    However, when I see these accounts now, I see the same ‘monster’ in their content that they’re saying they’re fighting. Hatred, other-ness, devaluing human life. It occurred to me that no matter which end of the spectrum your views fall, there’s hatred at both extremes. I’m coming to realize that if the monster you’re fighting is a person or group of people, then you’re not helping the actual problem. You’re feeding into the same monster.

    This realization that both extremes quickly start to resemble one another is known as “Horseshoe Theory” and I covered it in a newsletter many years ago.

    Finally, Shawna’s reflecting on a belief she didn’t realize she had, and a belief many probably won’t admit to having:

    Recently, I realized the many, many times in which I was the asshole. I had never realized how greedy I always was. I’m greedy about things, coveting things, eating more than my share of food, not being able to hide my naked desires, asking for help even when I don’t strictly need it.

    This tied in with a core belief I just realized I had: ‘I should always get what I want.’ I always wanted other people to get what they needed and wanted too, but my own wants blinded me to theirs. Your email made me think of that, and I just wanted to share.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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