Some people seem luckier than others, don't they?

It's like four-leaf clovers fall out of the sky and straight into their laps, or they always seem to know about the latest and greatest job opportunities or newest trends before everyone else.

But are they actually lucky—or do they simply know how to make their own luck? Is it that everything falls into place for them—or that they're better able to recognize luck when it does come their way?

I'd argue that luck is actually something that can be cultivated or even created.

Luck is actually something that can be cultivated or created.
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Of course, it should be said that luck can look completely different for some people—there are very real systematic structures that work to boost or keep down certain people based on race or gender or other forms of privilege. And certainly, specific groups of people have to work twice as hard to create luck for themselves.

But you can find small ways to create more luck in your day-to-day. How: Using a "Luck List."

Create Your Own Luck List

There's an exercise in Meera Lee Patel's wonderful journal of self-exploration called Start Where You Are that we'll call a "Luck List."

She encourages readers to create a chart with two columns: Label the first one "Things I Need Luck For" and the other "Ways to Get Them Without Luck."

What can you write in the first column from your own life?

Perhaps you think you need luck to land the entry-level position of your dreams or to find a compatible partner. (Because how many times has a newly-coupled up friend told you with a great big smile, "Oh, I just got lucky…")

Write a list of experiences or moments you believe it takes luck to get. (I'll wait!)

Unravel Your Luck List

Now, shift your focus to that "Ways to Get Them Without Luck" column.

At first it might seem hard to see beyond our own past experiences and biases.

If we've always believed it takes luck to get (fill in the blank with whatever your luckiest thing is here), then using a different tactic might not seem immediately obvious. That's why it's important to get creative—and go deep.

Take, for example, if you want to find a compatible partner.

You might think that it takes a stroke-of-lightning luck to make it happen. But what happens when you consider all the elements that are in your control: Can you ask your friends if they have any single friends? Can you join groups for activities you enjoy, in the hopes that you might meet like-minded people? Can you try online dating, or old-fashioned meet-when-you're-out-and-about dating?

Once you start to examine the many paths that are available to you, the idea that what you want is created simply from luck might seem less realistic.

A more career-related example: Let's say you're job searching and everyone you know seems to keep lucking into these fantastic opportunities—great benefits, big fat salary, summer Fridays.

How did that happen?!, you might think. I'm doing the exact same thing, so where's my luck?

But the thing is, sometimes you don't know the whole story—so uncover it. Can you ask your friend about the work they put into finding their new job?

Demystifying the actual steps involved might yield surprising results that prove to you it's less about luck than some other factors actually in your control.

Demystifying the actual steps involved might yield surprising results that prove to you it's less about luck than some other factors actually in your control.
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Think about the steps that you can take to demystify these "lucky" experiences you wish to have. And continue filling out the column with ways to get what you want without luck.

Stop Waiting and Start Looking

The benefits of this luck/not-actually-luck exercise are two-fold: Not only will you better understand what you're seeking, but you'll also create more tangible actions to get you closer to your goal.

Not only will you better understand what you're seeking, but you'll also create more tangible actions to get you closer to your goal.
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Because how often do you dismiss even trying for something becuase you think it's so out of reach?

Knowing that it's not that far away—that you can create your luck just as you can create anything else—might unfold an entirely new reality for you. And you don't even need luck to get there.


Read next: How to Create Your Own Opportunity

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