Right place, right time

The following blog is made up of the best bits of editorial, articles and blogs that I’ve come across in my 38 years of working life, 30 of which I spent as my own boss at a very successful Creative Agency.

I thank all those that have inspired me to make (and write!) my own observations on these subjects. I now want to switch my focus to helping the next generation find the success that I did, and hopefully avoid a few of the pitfalls I didn’t!

I’m not a great believer in luck per se. I am, however, a believer in creating superior opportunities by being in the right place at the right time, being true to yourself and doing everything for the right reason.

Napoleon, before promoting his senior soldiers to the roles of General or Marshal, always asked the same question: “are they lucky?” If the answer was a positive one, then they were promoted.

I came across the following list on Twitter, posted by @ValaAfshar under the title of 12 habits of lucky people, which inspired me to write this blog. It’s absolutely spot on - and whilst I can’t guarantee you’ll be ‘lucky’, you’ll definitely maximise your chances!

1. Hard Working

Fairly obvious this one. The famous golfer player, Gary Player, responds to a spectator who asks him how he can be so lucky, by saying simply: “The harder you work, the luckier you get” - and he was known for the hours he put in on the practice ground. I’m not suggesting that you start working 24 hours a day, so do not confuse long hours and hard work, as they are simply not the same. Hard work is about being committed and directing all you energies towards your goals. Long hours will sap your strength, make you disillusioned and forget your core purpose.

2. Highly Optimistic

Are you glass ‘half full’ or glass ‘half empty’? Optimistic people see opportunities everywhere. Pessimistic people see only the dangers that lie ahead - which can lead to paralysis. This is not a good trait to have when seeking to increase your chances of success.

3. Passionately Teach Others

Those that pass on their knowledge without asking for anything in return end up with a highly motivated workforce and a solid network of colleagues. Ultimately, always remember that you’ll be rewarded by the knowledge that you have helped others be the best they can be.

4. Generous

Most ‘lucky’ people intrinsically know the difference between the cost of something and its value - it’s something I’ve addressed in a number of my other blogs. You should always be prepared to show your generosity without ‘counting score’.

5. Punctuality

It’s not only a trait that will gain you respect, but it’s also one that shows you too are respectful and that you recognise that it’s not just your time which is precious.

6. A Love to Volunteer

Volunteering is good for the soul. It’ll take you to places that you’ve never been to before and introduce you to people that you’d never normally come across. It enriches your life like you could never imagine.

7. Staying Teachable

Never, ever stop learning. The world is changing at such a pace that just to keep up, you need to stretch your mind every day. Read voraciously, do things that take you out of your comfort zone, and set yourself daily challenges that will ultimately help you to become a better person.

8. Grateful

No single person has achieved what they have without a close network of support around them. Family keeping you humble and grounded, friends that excite you and support you, work colleagues that give you a sense of teamwork and belonging. Be grateful to all of them - they are the ones who have made you what you are!

9. Promoting Others

Be open-hearted about others. Promote them more than you do yourself. Even competitors need promoting - they are the ones that keep you sharp and determined. It also shows respect and humility.

10. Seeking Random Collisions

Spend time in places that you wouldn’t normally go to, attend events that don’t appeal to you. Serendipity has a strange way of working.

11. Welcoming & Kind

There is no room in the World for unkindness. To be heartfelt and welcoming to all (and to see the world from their point of view) will only advance your understanding of the World.

12. Trustworthy

To gain a reputation for being trustworthy, you must be trustworthy. In spirit, in thought - and in all actions. It takes a lifetime to gain a reputation and minutes to destroy it.


I hope you’ve found my interpretation of Vala’s list interesting. I have come across many very successful people in my time, and the vast majority of them display most if not all of these traits. Have another read through - how many do you feel you’re currently fulfilling?

SelfJonathan Leafe