Have you ever wished you could be more lucky in your studies? That only the topics you know about appear on your exam paper? That you luck out and bosh out a great essay without too much effort?

In this post I want to share exactly how to be more lucky in your studies. We’re going to break down what it means to be lucky and identify the steps we can take to be more lucky, find our studies easier and achieve higher grades.

And as always, these study skills techniques can be applied to your career and other areas of your life.

This post originated as a podcast episode which you can listen to below or search for episode 138 of the Chloe Made Me Study podcast. Or, if you’re a more of a learn-by-reading student, carry on for the rough-and-ready blog version based on the script.

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Something I've been thinking about for a while is what it means to be lucky. I don't know about you but I've often looked at the good things happening in someone else's life and thought (or even said), ‘wow, you're so lucky!'

Sometimes random things do happen – someone wins the lottery or finds a crazy-valuable piece of art hiding in their attic.

But most opportunities in life, in your studies or career, most opportunities to develop yourself and progress…they mayyy present themselves by chance but there's nothing random about your ability to grab them.

Let me give you an example.

Four years ago a publisher approached me and asked me to write an approachable study skills book for non-traditional learners…because all other study skills books either focused on the traditional journey of ‘leave school at 18, live on campus and complete your degree then stop learning’ or they were big, stuffy textbooks which no one wanted to read.

We worked on the proposal together, the board at the publishing house went for it and I got a book deal. That deal became my book, The Return to Study Handbook, which was published three years ago (and you can find with a good ol’ google search).

I felt like the LUCKIEST person in the world. A publisher I'd never heard of found little ol' me. At this point I was still working full-time and my business wasn’t that developed. I had my blog and I’d created a few courses but I wasn’t a big, snazzy company.

I also knew the ‘typical’ process of becoming a published author. Work on a proposal or multiple proposals for ages, find an agent (and have to then pay them a share of your royalties), approach publisher after publisher and get turned down multiple times until someone finally values your work.

Because my process was 100x easier than this I didn't even really feel that proud of myself. For a long time it didn’t really sink in and I didn’t want to own the success. Because all I was seeing was, I didn’t try to get a book deal and I got one…what should I be proud of?

All I was looking at was the opportunity itself…not alllll the work I'd done beforehand to be in a position to be able to pursue that opportunity. Let me repeat that. I didn’t recognise all of the hard work and effort and discipline I’d demonstrated over a long time that allowed me to be in a position to grab the opportunity when it presented itself.

My publisher later told me that in her research of potential authors for this book idea she came across my website and saw that I had over 100 blog posts. That I'd been publishing weekly for two years. This consistency and demonstration of my passion and expertise is what caused her to email me about the opportunity to write a book for them. If she'd looked at my site and seen no blog posts or sporadic posting or that I hadn't published anything in months, she probably would have walked on by and I never would have had a chance to go after that opportunity.

Therefore, to get to the nugget at the heart of this example…luck is NOT simply random awesome things that happen to certain people. Luck is in fact the ability to grab opportunities when they arrive because you are READY for them. 

So to become lucky in a certain area of your life, you simply need to determine what it means to be ready for the possible opportunities that could arise.

Simple but random one. Have you ever seen or heard about someone winning a competition, felt a bit jealous and found yourself saying, “Awww I never win anything.” What seems common in these situations is that the people who feel they never win anything…never even try. They don’t enter competitions because they don’t think to or don’t want to take the time or don’t think they’re gonna win so don’t see the point. Well there’s ZERO chance of winning if you’re not taking action to possibly win. My younger sister regularly wins competitions. Why? Because she’s always entering them!! She’s taking action to become lucky…rather than waiting for luck to fall in her lap.

Want to be more lucky and score a promotion at work?

Well then you need to be ready for any promotion opportunities that arise.

Being ready may look like: building good relationships with decision-makers; letting your manager know that you are looking to progress; seeking out feedback to discover your growth areas…then applying for training to develop them or taking action outside of work to upskill yourself. It may even involve the ‘dreaded’ networking so that you can hear news of new positions or opportunities first. It may involve updating your CV and Linkedin profile so you’re ready to apply fast for opportunities.

Want to be more lucky in your studies and get a great grade on your next essay?

Well then you need to be ready to create a high quality piece of work that ticks all the boxes.

Being ready may look like: politely quizzing your tutor or lecturer (or whoever the marker is) about what they're specifically looking for in this essay – finding out what a great answer looks like. Or you may have specific questions from them. For example, if your essay asks you to illustrate your answer with case studies…you might want to try to find out how many case studies. Is it 2? 3? 4? You may get an OK mark whether you use 2/3/4 but asking the question and finding out the preference may get you an epic mark.

What else does being ready look like? 

  • Analysing your feedback to identify areas for improvement…your feedback should highlight the areas where you didn’t receive as many marks as you could, or the areas where you received no marks and why 
  • Actively seeking more feedback if you don't have enough to work with (I have email templates in my membership for this)
  • Actually taking action to develop those areas; improving your study skills (you could read my book, listen to the podcast or enrol in one of my courses);
  • Dedicating enough time to creating a quality piece of work. There is no set amount of time that you need to spend on an essay for it to be good…that will vary massively depending on your course and subject, your level of study, the type of assignment and size of it, the skills being tested, your current level of those skills, your understanding of the task…so many things. So you need to make a judgement of the time it might take and then decide if you can carve out and stick to that time alongside everything else going on in your life.

So there we have it. If you want to be lucky in your studies, your career, life in general…you need to be ready to act on and grab opportunities that arise…rather than letting them sail on by.

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