In Part 1 of this blog post, I introduced Richard Wiseman’s research and his 4 principles of living a lucky life, which he teaches at his luck school.
To recap, all of that came from his 10-year study on the links between human behavior and good fortune.
The first principle, you may recall, was create and notice opportunities.
We concluded Part I talking about the guys I drove by every day on the way to the gym that made sails for sailboats.
That was a prime example of this sort of mindset, that brought me good luck, and paved the way for Lucky Gi.
How many Jiu-Jitsu players made the same drive, and passed the same store, and never thought there may be an opportunity to talk to these guys to make a Jiu-Jitsu gi?
They’re not exactly naturally related unless you’ve got an eye open for it.
In my case, it was really the desperation and misery of my circumstances that had me looking, which is also an example of Wiseman’s fourth principle, which is having a resilient mental attitude, but we’ll talk more about that below.
For now, I want to mention how what I learned from those guys who made sails was really game-changing on so many levels, because many of the innovations you see in today’s BJJ gis came from what I learned from the sail makers.
The gis I made after talking to them were the first to do the following:
- These were the first gis made with the slit in the side of the gi, to allow way more movement and prevent ripping.
- Reinforced stitching in the gi pants, that not only allowed better movement to play guard more aggressively, but also to keep them from ripping.
- Round knee pads with no corners on them, that helped the knees of the gi pants last for at least a reasonable amount of time and beyond (it was pretty ridiculous before then how quickly they would be worn out and useless).
I also sat down with a tailor and learned how to fit the gis to the body, to get rid of the baggy fit more common in the Judo gis.
These were the first gis to offer the long, slim cut that gives it that distinguished Jiu-Jitsu look.
But even with all that, what Lucky Gi quickly became most known for was… style.
Because I started to realize that if I had solved this problem for myself, I could share it with everyone else who was dreading the awful status quo gis (which was everyone).
And a lot of this was an example of Principle 2: Trusting Your Intuition, which is another of Wiseman’s 4 principles he teaches in his luck school.
At that time, I felt like this was all just so cool, I thought it would be a big hit intuitively.
Which might seem obvious now but, back then nothing like that had been done with Jiu-Jitsu gis, so there was a lot of risk investing so much into it.
Because it was one thing to solve the practical problems of the gi, but I felt adding in style elements was how I was going to create something people were really excited and proud to wear.
So working with Ed Suarez who owned Sinister, making gear for Tap Out and other brands, Lucky Gi was the first to offer elements of style.
Contrast stitching, where the stitching on the gi was a different color than the gi itself.
Embroidery printed on the inside of the gi jacket was a complete game changer, and opened the door for all kinds of designs.
Then, Lucky Gi became the first gi company to make signature gis for Jiu-Jitsu athletes like the Diaz brothers, Marcelo Garcia, Jeff Glover, Raphael Lovato Jr., etc.
And the really cool thing with the signature gis was not only did I make sure the athletes had profit sharing in the sales, but they got to design their own gis.
So all of those signature gis are really an expression of the athlete they’re honoring, which was hugely important to me.
The third and fourth principles of living a lucky life are having positive expectations and having a resilient attitude.
The idea of having positive expectations is simple and straightforward.
We’ve all heard the glass half full talk.
But what it means really is what Shirley Babashoff said in that quote above.
Remember, winners focus on what they want to happen.
Losers focus on what they’re afraid might happen.
That subtle mental difference, the lens you look at life through, will make a night and day difference in your luck.
There’s no magic to it per se, it’s not hocus pocus.
In fact, in psychology it’s called priming.
Kids have a game they play on the playground like this, you might remember.
When you were a kid, do you remember someone on the playground messing with you by asking you what color about a zillion things are that are white, so you say white so many times in a row, and then they ask you what cows drink?
Most people, after being “primed” to think of the color white, when they think of a cow, associating the color white with the cow, will say “milk”.
But that’s the trick.
Cows don’t drink milk, they make it.
That’s psychological priming in perfection.
Or how about this one, where they ask you words that rhyme with roast, or ghost?
You might say host, boast, coast, etc.
Then they ask, what do you put into a toaster?
Naturally you want to say toast, because your brain is stuck on this rhyming game.
But you’ve been had!
Because toast is what comes OUT of a toaster.
Bread is what goes in.
So the mind is always working from some position like that, there’s always some lens and context the world is being filtered through.
So if you can practice setting positive expectations as your filter, they will work just as effectively as those games to open your eyes to the good luck that’s always around you.
You just gotta have the eyes for it.
You just proved it to yourself twice, if you actually played along with those games. : )
The last principle, having a resilient attitude, is commonly referred to these days as reframing.
That just means that when things seem to go “badly” or they don’t turn out how you wanted, you’re able to see how you can “flow with the go” and make the bad thing work for your mission anyway.
And these last two principles were really what got me through all the challenges of having started Lucky Gi with the first two principles.
Because no matter what you’re doing in life, there’s an old military saying that rings true.
“No plan survives contact with reality.”
Because life is always changing, always dynamic… but plans are static.
So if you want to make it across the finish line, whatever that means to you, and you want to have better fortune as you do it, you have to learn how to accept that most of the time, things are not going to go how you planned.
The question is: can you stay focused and keep your eye on the prize anyway?
If you can, you might just find yourself becoming much more lucky all of a sudden.
And if you want to feel better, train better, and have a gi (or two or three) that you can count on to make sure your luck changes on the mats, as a Jiu-Jitsu fighter, be sure to check out the Lucky Gi store at the link below.
Now that you know a little more about the story of how it call came to be, you may find you can see how ALL of these gis are woven using these 4 principles in every stitch, and start to notice details you didn’t before as you look a little more closely.
And if you do that now, you may ALSO find you’re primed to have the perfect Lucky mindset, that allows you to see the opportunities that were completely invisible to you before that are all around you, when you wear these gis. ; )