by Jerry Posner
First, some questions to ask yourself:
In my life, how would I define “good luck” or “miracles?”
Do I believe in the possibility of those favorable outcomes?
What could I do that would increase the likelihood of the outcomes I most desire?
How much control or influence do I have, to skew the “odds” in my favor?
Am I interested in creating trends … or specific outcomes … or both?
Write down goals and desired outcomes. Review daily. Edit as you see fit.
Consider the trajectory, causal factors, that resulted in already experienced miracles or “good luck.”
Be intentional with choices. Long term or short term outcomes? Patience is often necessary.
(Every outcome results in more outcomes. There is always “what will happen next?”)
Create as many positive relationships as possible. Be kind, polite, generous, helpful, compassionate.
Self-identify as a “lucky” or “grateful” or “blessed” person. See yourself as a “probability engineer.”
Be a very good listener. Be open to new experiences.
Be present and aware of your surroundings. Notice “chance” opportunities that often arise.
Placebos and “good luck charms” have been known to influence behavior, mindset and outcomes.
Self-fulfilling prophecies, based on belief, can influence actions. Choose positive expectations.
Take advantage of “freerolls.” “The key feature of a freeroll is limited downside, meaning there isn’t much to lose, but there might be a lot to gain.” (Annie Duke)
Maybe you ARE the luckiest person in the room!
It’s good to have an open mind, but not SO open that your brains fall out! Cultivate realistic optimism.
MY CANCER ADVENTURE
“Am I Cured?”
Confirmation bias – the tendency to find evidence that supports or confirms one’s beliefs, expectations, notions, points-of-view, etc. This bias can be positive or negative, constructive or destructive.
Self-fulfilling prophecy – a statement or mindset that modifies or alters behaviors and actions, to become true. Self-fulfilling prophecies can also be positive or negative, constructive of destructive.
During the follow-up visit with my surgeon, I asked him, “When people ask if I’m cured, what should I say?”
He replied, “probably.”
The likelihood of being cancer-free after my surgery is very, very high, but it can’t be determined with absolute certainty … yet.
I will have a PSA test twice yearly for five years.
At the beginning of this adventure, I made a prophecy: “somehow this will make me a better person.” I could have just as easily predicted that my life would be miserable, and I suppose I could have created that outcome as well.
In the mean time, I am feeling quite good and except for a couple of ‘plumbing’ issues (which will resolve in time), functioning normally.
I am fortunate. This is my chosen “confirmation bias” – created and nurtured over 30 years of consciously choosing optimism over pessimism. Though I was not always successful, the long-term positive outlook eventually became my brain’s default setting.
I could see myself as an “unlucky” person to have had cancer … or a “lucky” person to have caught it early enough, before it spread beyond the prostate.
When you decide to see yourself as a fortunate, blessed, “lucky” person … you will find evidence everywhere! This may take some practice, but it’s definitely worth it – especially during challenging times. Easiest way? Once a day, write down five things that make you feel grateful.
This will probably be the last chapter in “My Cancer Adventure” series for a while. If there are any significant updates, I will keep you, my valued friends and readers, in the loop.
And speaking of valued friends and readers … I am so very grateful for your kind and generous support. Your prayers and positive thoughts mean the world to me. Most of all, my wife Lynne gets the lion’s share of the credit for the relative smoothness of this “adventure.” Our five-year wedding anniversary is next month – truly the very best five years of my life.
PS: I have created a new workshop and keynote speech for businesses, organizations and events – WAYS TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE ADVERSITY: What To Do When Things Don’t Exactly Go Your Way. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, and very best wishes to you and yours!
MY CANCER ADVENTURE
I am lucky.
I was diagnosed last Friday. I began this blog yesterday. The outpouring of
support and advice has been so heartwarming, that much of the sting and initial
shock has been greatly softened.
A husband of a business friend who navigated prostate cancer was extremely
generous sharing his research and experience, as was a friend and neighbor who
also went through it. Later today, I’ll be speaking to an old high school buddy
who grew up to be a respected doctor. So, yeah, I’m getting some good input.
My insurance provider, Fallon, has a “Peace of Mind” program that would involve
my getting a second opinion from a specialist in Boston. I was also happy to
hear that Dana-Farber, Mass General and other top institutions are in their
The obvious lesson is: when facing a challenging situation, don’t keep it a
secret. Tell your friends and allies.
This is “Grati-Tuesday” — the day of the week to especially focus on gratitude.
Feeling it. Expressing it. Perhaps doing a little gratitude journaling or
meditation (“Gratitude Break”).
I am grateful that I have no symptoms, early diagnosis, lots of support, some
terrific jobs booked for June, and most of all, a smart and loving wife.
Love to you all.
I am delighted that my new book, ETERNAL COSMIC WISDOM AT BARGAIN BASEMENT PRICES is available on Amazon.com … and also available for the Kindle. Deep, lighthearted, profound and fun … all the the same time! But most of all – practical.
The Kindle version:
A self-motivational experiment:
Get 4 file cards. Label them:
“5 people who love me.”
“5 people who truly inspire me.”
“5 things that make me very happy.”
“5 feelings/emotions I want to feel more of.”
Make your lists.
Read and think about them once daily.
See what happens after a month!
Create positive emotional connections – express unconditional kindness – and skew the probability of positive outcomes in your favor. No guarantees, but better odds than the mega millions, I’d say.
A WEDDING ANNIVERSARY SYNCHRONICITY
Lynne and I decided to go to MASS MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams as a part of our second wedding anniversary celebration. We were going to go to the museum first thing in the morning, then have lunch as Jae’s Inn, also in North Adams, but we changed our minds and chose lunch first, museum later.
After lunch, I noticed a woman working at Jae’s who looked familiar. Speaking with her, it turned out she was the daughter of an old friend of mine, who was also working there. I hadn’t seen the daughter or her mom in 16 years or so, so we had a lovely chat. The mom, Patty Boynton, also figured into a recent chance conversation I had with the manager of the Holiday Inn, Salem, NH, Molly Mulholland.
Because I was staying in Molly’s hotel … because I was presenting a seminar for Margaritas Restaurant in the same building … because, because, because … I got into an extended conversation with Ms. Mulholland, and discovered she had lived in the Berkshires, and that we had a mind-boggling quantity of mutual friends, associates and colleagues – including Patty Boynton (whom, as mentioned, I hadn’t seen in about 16 years).
So, after that fun and unexpected reunion, Lynne and I headed to the museum. While we were in line to pay for admission, a young couple were laughing because the guy’s wedding ring fell off of his finger, and rolled onto the floor. The woman laughed and mentioned something about how funny this was, the ring falling off on this, their anniversary. Yes, it was their second wedding anniversary also.
What are the odds of two couples celebrating their second wedding anniversaries on the exact same day, standing next to each other in line at Mass MOCA?
And, of course, we wouldn’t have known about their anniversary, if the guy’s ring didn’t fall off of his finger at that precise moment!
So, as in all “synchronicities” or “low probability meaningful events” there are many factors that conspire to create the result. Right place at right time suggests every little decision, all delays, traffic flow, chance meetings, etc., can “create” or “put the kibosh” on any possible result.
Do you enjoy these “synchronicities” or “meaningful coincidences” in your life? If so, keep a log or journal of them … you’ll probably “notice” or “create” many more of them!