‘Planned happenstance’* is a term that means planning events to create your own luck. Sounds like the opposite of luck doesn’t it? How can you plan luck? Well, it’s actually not as crazy as you might think. You can plan your actions to increase the likelihood that luck will happen. That’s what we call planned happenstance. In fact, you’ve probably been practicing this already without even realising. Think of a time when you thought “That was lucky”, or “I was in the right place at the right time”. Now think about what you actually did that may have helped you.
Take a look at how planned happenstance, or luck, worked out for Kate and Jack.
Knocking on doors
He’s a Year 9 student from Devonport who was looking for part-time work. He walked past a fast food shop on his way to school each day and decided to drop in his CV. He spoke to the Duty Manager to say he would love to work there and wondered if they had any vacancies. As luck would have it, there was a casual job vacancy. Jack was offered the job on the spot! His decision to call into the takeaway is an example of ‘planned happenstance’. He planned what actions he need to do to put himself out there and created his own luck.
Work exposure events
On the way to her gym in Launceston last year she noticed an ‘Employment Day’ event was taking place. The event was to connect employers with senior school students and young job seekers. There were opportunities to have actual job interviews for ‘real jobs’ with employers. So Kate raced home and got changed into her job interview clothes. She collected copies of her résumé and returned to the event to have some job interviews. And guess what? She was offered an apprenticeship on the day! Stuff like this happens all the time.
Always be open to opportunities that come your way. Think about what actions you can take to put yourself out there. And make no mistake; opportunities will come your way.
*Krumboltz, J. D. (2009). The planned happenstance learning theory. Journal of Career Assessment, 17(2), 135-154. DOI: 1177/1069072708328861