How to Get Lucky

by Don Smith

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I'm a pretty lucky guy. This week, I've been on vacation with my beautiful wife, Pamela, touring the west. By the way, if you haven't gotten away from the kids with your spouse, I highly recommend it :). I managed to get extra lucky and got most of the trip paid for too.

So how did I get so lucky with both a beautiful wife and a paid-for anniversary trip?

Pamela and some other nice scenery from our trip

Lucking Out With a Paid For Trip

Well, let's start with how I got so lucky that I got a free vacation. A year or so ago, I started getting into travel hacking. I researched cards with the best rewards and got a Chase Sapphire card, started using it for all my bills, and shared it with some people.

Voila, tons of points to use on virtually any travel destination. So when I decided to take my wife on vacation, we had our airfare, hotels, and car rental all covered.

Lucky, huh?

Luck Follows Those Who Plan and Put in the Effort

A few weeks ago when we started planning our trip, I thought it would be nice to see an elk. I could have had that thought and stayed in Springfield, Illinois, where I had virtually no chance at seeing them.

Instead, I flew to Denver, Colorado, drove to Estes Park, which had many reviews from people who had seen elk, and voila, I saw several.

Wow, I'm a lucky guy!

See, the thing with luck is that it seems like the more I plan and work at something, the luckier I get.

Getting lucky and seeing elk

Luck is Still Luck

I also thought it would be nice to see some moose. So, I drove to several spots in Wyoming and Idaho known for having moose, yet saw none. Then I randomly saw two on the road back to Denver after I had resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to see them this trip.

While you can put yourself in the best position to get lucky, there's still an element of luck in anything you do. It would have been a newsworthy event to get lucky enough to see moose in Springfield, Illinois though.

Don't Give Up Just Because Plan A Failed

This trip was fun, yet it wasn't Plan A. It wasn't even Plan B. Plan A was Florida for our anniversary trip, that one got canceled due to COVID. Plan B was Hawaii, which got canceled for the same reason. It was Plan C, and it ended up being quite wonderful.

Use Failure to Refine Your Plans and Get Even Luckier Next Time

Marrying Pamela wasn't Plan A for me either, unfortunately. No, she was probably something like Plan Z-23.

The nice thing about not having any of those earlier plans work out is that each time I learned a bit more. By the time I met my wife, I knew exactly what I was looking for.

Three months after we met, we were married. That was eight and a half years ago, and I still consider myself one of the luckiest guys alive to have met her.

I talked about that bit of luck in the article, “How Do I Know When I've Met ‘The One,'” but I might have failed to mention that like Amy Webb, I hacked online dating to get that first date with her. I also had plenty of practice on what to do and not to do by then and had worked on my own issues.

I might have watched this a time or two before Pamela sent me a message on OkCupid…

Be Patient

Even after hacking my dating profile, I didn't get that first date with Pamela right away. In fact, I had came to the conclusion I was perfectly happy being a single dad and had practically forgotten the profile by the time she messaged me. I just got “lucky” when she happened to log on and saw my profile.

Sometimes you just need to have some patience after you've done everything possible to improve your odds of getting lucky.

To Get Lucky, Give Yourself the Best Odds

What I'm taking a long time to say is that if you want to get lucky, stack the odds in your favor. If you don't want to date an alcoholic, then maybe look somewhere other than in the bar for dates. If you want to see an elk, go to Estes Park in Colorado.

If you want to get lucky, do some planning and put in the effort. You might still get unlucky on Plan A and it might take some time, but my guess is that by Plan Z-23, luck will find you.

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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