Luck is such a vague concept that it's difficult to explain to children. If you believe, as Seneca and Oprah do, that "luck occurs when preparedness meets opportunity," then the work of parents when teaching children to be "lucky" is twofold.
First, parents have to get kids prepared to succeed. Then, they have to show them how to be open to receive opportunity once they are prepared. There are many highly-skilled, prepared people who are not so lucky, and that's because despite their well-developed skill set, they never learned to use their skills to receive new opportunities.
The "getting kids prepared" part is the easier part, in my opinion, although it's no cakewalk for parents to instill discipline in their kids (and preparation is all about discipline). By communicating a clear and consistent message that effort results in a positive outcome, the hope is that over time, children will develop discipline and work hard to achieve the goals they set out to accomplish.
The second part of luck -- how to receive opportunity once prepared -- is more elusive and easier for adults to comprehend than children. Children can learn these behaviors without directly talking about them with parents. Parents who consistently model these seven behaviors will teach their children how to make their own luck in life.
1. Willingness to take risks
Believe and model for children that when you try something new or engage in an activity, you will be successful. The more you believe in yourself, the greater your chance of success and therefore, the greater likelihood of finding new opportunities or encountering positive chance occurrences.
2. Maintain a positive outlook
People who try new things are more likely to encounter opportunities that dovetail nicely with developed skills. Parents can role model risk-taking behavior whenever possible. Whether it's taking up a new sport, leading a new committee at school, cooking a new food or starting a new job, demonstrate to children that you are willing to take risks in order to reach a goal. The more parents take risks, the more children will be comfortable with uncertainty.
3. Be opened-minded
People who demonstrate cognitive flexibility are more likely to stumble into new approaches to tasks that help them reach their goals. If people are overly-focused on one way of doing things, they will miss out on chances that may lead to luck.
4. Ask for help
People who reach outside themselves and ask for input from others have the advantage of benefiting from the advice, experience and insight of others. Just by asking, they may gain valuable feedback. They may even land new opportunities.
5. Be brave enough to fail
How will a person know if something will work if they don't try? Experiencing failure allows you to focus more closely on what will work.
6. Know when to quit something
Many people remain in failing relationships for years before they eventually end them. Many people remain at uninspiring jobs long after they feel challenged or even content, preferring stasis as opposed to reaching for change. People who are proactive and don't waste time and energy with an inevitably unsuccessful venture are "luckier" because they don't stay stuck. They move on to other possibilities and opportunities, opening up opportunities to receive luck.
7. Demonstrate resiliency during challenge and failure
People who are able to endure and maintain focus when losing or being down are more likely to come back and win (repeatedly) than those who are not.
Parents can emphasize that sometimes when they do things, they don't know how they will turn out, but that they do them anyway. Oftentimes, this is a big part of what makes them "lucky"!
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