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Discover the role luck plays in life’s successes…

Jul 10, 2023

Believing is seeing

Roman philosopher Seneca once said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Now, of course there is an element of pure luck that exists, but it does make me laugh when someone will say they never ever win the National Lottery and that some people are just so lucky. When asked: “Do you buy tickets?”, invariably, the answer is “No”! So how can they get ‘lucky’ then?!

Some people appear to be 'lucky' - they seem to land on their feet and seemingly have it all.  Many will look at successful people and make assumptions that they've had it easy or that they're lucky and everything was handed to them on a plate.

Not so. What people don't see is the continuous hard graft, the grit and resilience required when the bad times hit; the challenging choices that are made; maybe the mistakes they've needed to pick themselves up from and learn by. Nor are people on the outside looking in, privy to perhaps the financial hardships that many go through before they're on the up.

People don't see those parts of the journey and so they've no idea of the tenacity and self-belief that has been required, the mental reserves that have been nigh on empty but that something kept them going throughout.

That something is mindset- self-discipline, a desire to succeed, utter self-belief that the goal is obtainable.

Life throws curve balls but mindset is what gets you through. 

The power of grit and determination

Tragedy and grief visited Rebecca Roberts at a young age and I think few would say she has been ‘lucky’ in life. Roberts’ mother died when Rebecca was 12 years old and not long after, her father became mentally ill and was admitted to a psychiatric ward, diagnosed with dementia. With no parent able to care for them, at age just 13, Roberts and her four siblings were separated and put into care.

The attitude of the adults around Rebecca was that having grown up in care, it was unlikely she would succeed at anything. And yet through tenacity and hard work, Roberts was to prove them all wrong. Achieving her A levels, she then went on to study for a degree in forensic psychology and criminal justice. She was one of the first people in care in her county to go to university.

However, whilst out one night during her second year at university, she was attacked, held at knife point and raped. This led Rebecca to spiral out of control– unsurprisingly, unable to cope with the effects of such a horrific event. She said she gained 10 stone in weight and that she was depressed and suicidal, feeling there was no meaning to her life.

At this point, Rebecca met Paul who was a former strongman competitor, and he was helping her to lose weight and gain strength having sustained an injury through playing rugby. Very quickly, the two fell in love. Paul saw something in Rebecca and said that within five years, he would help her to train to be the world’s strongest woman. It gave her drive and purpose and in just five months, Roberts entered her first competition and won, to become the UK’s strongest woman.

But, in March 2022, Paul was diagnosed with heart failure and given a life expectancy of another 20 years. Paul and Rebecca changed their lifestyle and life goals but nine months later, Paul had a heart attack and sadly passed away. Yet more tragedy to visit Rebecca.

Did this slow her down in her mission? No. Rebecca says that in Paul’s honour, and in his memory, she continues to train and enter competitions, determined in her quest to be considered the world’s strongest woman who has ever lived. Rebecca hasn’t missed a training session since losing Paul. Is luck playing a part in her successes? I don’t think so. True grit and determination are what is getting Rebecca through incredibly challenging times.

Steve Maraboli once said: “Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.” I think in Rebecca Roberts' case, this is 100% true.

The power of mindset work

In her TED Talk Grit: The power of passion and perseverance, Angela Duckworth describes grit as having the passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It’s sticking with your future and working hard to make that future a reality. Duckworth talks about the role Professor Carole Dweck’s Growth Mindset plays in this – adopting an ‘I don’t know how to do this yet…’ mindset. It’s knowing the ability to learn is not fixed and that it can change with your effort.

So, are you the kind of person who is willing to put themselves out there – who is willing to fail, learn from it and carry on? If you complete: ‘I’m the kind of person who…’ you will find out a lot about what you believe is true about you. Some of it will be positive, and some less so. And it’s challenging the unhelpful beliefs that you hold about yourself and rewiring those thought patterns. It’s turning down the dial of the noisy self-limiting beliefs that always seem to jostle for more airtime and amplifying the positive self-beliefs.

As with Rebecca Roberts, sometimes support from others is required, to give you the support to move forward. It's ensuring you seek that person or people, who can offer you support and guidance.

Assumptive affirmations are a powerful tool to rewire your brain to believe in a positive outcome. It’s those mantras you repeat daily but remember: “Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion” – so said motivational guru Jim Rohn. It’s important you say those assumptive affirmations with absolute conviction and start to see yourself as the kind of person who… (insert what it is you want to be, do and have).

Visualisation is another powerful way of seeing your goal with absolute intention. It’s that mental movie of seeing both the process of achieving the goal, and the completion of it. Connecting with how you will feel is key. It can be so emotive and such a great drive to attaining that achievement.

Writing down the goal in the first place is the starting point. Putting pen to paper uses two senses – visual and touch, and by doing this, you are telling your brain: ‘This is important.’ Ask Zharnel Hughes. He broke Linford Christie’s 30-year British record, to run the 100m in 9.83 seconds. Not only did the 27-year-old dream it but, prior to his race in New York, Hughes had written down that he would make history by clocking that exact time. As we say on The Winning Edge Mindset course: Strong belief triggers the mind to find the how.

The opportunities are out there to make the successes happen but it’s about being ready to spot them, and you’ll only be able to do that if you know what it is you want, that you make a plan and believe you deserve for it to happen.

Something that Rebecca Roberts tells herself and believes is that: ‘Better things are coming’ and she has always believed this from a young age, despite the bullying in school, despite losing both her parents so young, despite losing her partner. Rebecca believes she is here for a higher purpose, and she strives for that purpose in life.

What is your sense of purpose? What is it that you want so badly that you will work so hard to achieve it? What is your why? And do you focus on cultivating a mindset with the grit and determination to achieve what you want in life? If you don’t, then change your goal.

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