In the rapidly evolving world of work, John D. Krumboltz’s Planned Happenstance Theory provides a refreshing perspective that emphasizes the importance of embracing unexpected opportunities. Central to Krumboltz’s theory is the notion of luckiness, which plays a pivotal role in shaping one’s professional journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of luckiness in this theory and discover how adopting a mindset of luckiness can have a positive impact on your career.

Planned Happenstance Theory

Planned Happenstance Theory challenges the traditional notion of strict career planning. Instead, it suggests that we can actively shape our careers by capitalizing on unplanned events and chance encounters. Rather than relying solely on a pre-defined career path, we should remain open to unforeseen opportunities and actively engage with the world around us. Within this framework, luckiness becomes a powerful force, turning unexpected events into stepping stones toward career success.

The Role of Luckiness

Luckiness, as defined by Krumboltz, refers to the ability to recognise and seize opportunities that arise from chance events. It involves cultivating a mindset that views unexpected occurrences not as obstacles, but as potential catalysts for growth and advancement. Embracing luckiness means acknowledging that life is full of uncertainties and that our careers can benefit from the unexpected.

Benefits of Adopting a Luckiness Mindset

Enhanced Resilience:

When we embrace luckiness, we develop a heightened resilience to setbacks and challenges. Rather than viewing obstacles as insurmountable barriers, we see them as temporary roadblocks that may lead to unexpected opportunities. This mindset shift fosters adaptability and the ability to bounce back from setbacks with renewed determination.

Expanded Network:

Luckiness often manifests through social connections and networking. By adopting a mindset that values chance encounters and relationships, we open ourselves up to a broader network of professionals and circumstances. These connections can lead to mentorships, collaborative projects, or job opportunities that may have otherwise been missed.

Unleashing Creativity:

A mindset of luckiness encourages us to approach problems with creativity and innovation. When faced with unexpected challenges, those who embrace luckiness are more likely to think outside the box and find unconventional solutions. This creative approach can set them apart in the professional arena and contribute to their career advancement.

Increased Confidence:

Luckiness is closely tied to self-efficacy – the belief in one’s ability to succeed. By acknowledging and capitalising on unplanned opportunities, individuals build confidence in their capacity to navigate the uncertain terrain of their careers. This increased self-assurance positively influences decision-making and fosters a proactive approach to professional development.

Examples of Luckiness in Action

Serendipitous Networking:

Imagine attending a professional event where you strike up a conversation with a fellow attendee, only to discover that they work in a field aligned with your interests. This chance encounter could lead to mentorship, collaboration, or a job offer, showcasing the power of luckiness in expanding your network and career opportunities.

Adapting to Change:

Let’s say you unexpectedly lose your job due to a company restructuring. Instead of viewing this as a setback, adopting a mindset of luckiness might lead you to explore new industries or even starting your own entrepreneurial venture. This change, though unplanned, could open doors to a more fulfilling and successful career path.

Proactive Engagement:

When you enthusiastically put your hand up for special assignments or instigate new projects you expose yourself to new situations, interactions, and experiences. This kind of proactivity can lead to increased exposure to fresh perspectives, skills development and widening your scope beyond your initial role. This can lead to a range of exciting opportunities where luckiness can occur.


In career development, Planned Happenstance Theory, with its emphasis on luckiness, invites individuals to view their professional journeys through a different lens. By embracing the power of luckiness, individuals can transform unexpected events into opportunities for growth, learning, and advancement. The benefits of adopting a mindset of luckiness are vast, from enhanced resilience and expanded networks to increased creativity and confidence.

As you navigate your career, remember that luckiness is not a passive force but a mindset that actively engages with the unpredictability of life. By doing so, you empower yourself to turn serendipity into success and transform chance encounters into stepping stones toward a fulfilling and rewarding professional life. Embrace the luckiness within you and watch as your career unfolds in ways you never imagined possible.

After reading this, what will you do to cultivate luckiness in your career?

Maybe by luckiness you made your way here. Want to enhance your career luckiness? Why not contact us and we’ll get back to as soon as possible.
No luck needed.


Book: Luck Is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career
Mitchell, K. E., Levin, A. S., & Krumboltz, J. D. (1999). Planned happenstance: Constructing unexpected career opportunities. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77(2), 115–124.
Image by Andrea Piacquadio 

Get 50% off the Thrive @ Work course!

use code ' SPRING50 ' at checkout

Get in touch