Friday, April 18, 2008

Time to Get Lucky

While in the local library looking for a book by creative mastermind, Julia Cameron, I ran across a provocative title, How To Create Your Own Luck, by Susan Roane (2004). Well, to what purpose do libraries exist, if not to let you check out books like these without having to actually buy them?

Here's the scoop on Susan Roane. She was a school teacher who got laid off in some teacher-firing process that went on in California many years ago. Obviously the teacher shortage did not then exist. She decided to work with groups of newly unemployed teachers, to help them find new vocations, careers, or even simple jobs. One result of that work was a subsequent book, How to Work a Room. You can see that her work is not that of encouraging reflexivity, but just the opposite -- to get out there and talk to people.

Her main theme is that small talk is important because it forges new connections between people, and it can lead to what she calls "big talk": the job offers, speaking opportunities, play dates for children, investments, and so forth. Mixonian is all for any manner of connecting with people, and it is through talking that relationships are built.

Roane's book on luck is structured around eight traits:

- Talk to strangers.

- Make small talk.

- Drop names.

- Eavesdrop and listen

- Ask for or offer help.

- Stray from chosen paths.

- Exit graciously without burning bridges.

- Say yes, instead of no.

These are all helpful reminders, but I did have a little trouble with the last one. I, and many people I know, have trouble sometimes saying "no" to things to which we really don't want to commit. Nevertheless, Roane's point is valid, you never know what an unexpected contact can lead to, if you approach the situation an open and alert mind.

The friends of Mixonian who travel frequently may be interested in knowing she gave several examples of fruitful friendships that were formed on flights. (Fantastic, no?)

Many people do not enjoy small talk, but you never know to what it can lead.

Don't forget Mixonian's post contest. Submit the lucky post and win $50! And speaking of writing, Christine Kane has an excellent post on writing. See