HAVE you ever met someone and thought that he or she has all the luck? Yes, Lady Luck often gets credit for the wonderful and inexplicable events in some people's lives. But if you carefully analyse the situation, you will learn that usually luck has little to do with their success. What matter are the actions that these charmed persons have taken and wisely avoided.

The people who turn serendipity into success exhibit different combinations of these eight counter-intuitive traits. Here is how you can take a leaf from their book:

1. They talk to strangers

This was first revealed in my book, How To Work A Room, as a retort to the warning of "Don't talk to strangers". This counter-intuitive trait opens up a world of possibilities for most people. If you take a moment to think about it, you may have encounters that started with you talking to a stranger.

2. They make small talk

As I travel across the country giving presentations, I learnt that many people hold small talk in low regard.

And there are those who are not dismissive of small talk because they are aware that they do not know everything. Small talk can include kids, pets, food, parents, sports, books and even the weather. Often, it leads to "big talk", like business deals.

3. They "drop" names

Some people show off by dropping names. This usually happens when you try to make people think you are superior by mentioning the people with whom you spoke, dined, hung out or met.

But when you mention the name of someone you both may know, you are establishing a commonality.

4. They eavesdrop and listen

People who have had their fair share of good fortune do not only listen and observe, but they have a highly refined way of overhearing. This is a way to court information and a short-cut to conducting low-cost "market research".

5. They ask for or offer help

Many of us were raised with the old adage about "making it on our own". The "lucky" people ask for help. They let people know what they need without applying pressure and they reciprocate when others need help.

6. They go off the beaten track

Some successful people were on paths that they had chosen but did not stay on course. They allowed themselves to veer away from their initial paths to pursue a new one they were passionate and excited about.

There are successful entrepreneurs and newsmakers who began in other professions first. Some were lawyers, lobbyists, teachers, engineers, accountants and doctors first. But they took the road that was less travelled, which made all the difference.

7. They exit graciously

Newspapers and magazines often carry stories of sports figures, entertainers and executives who leave their careers in a timely fashion. They know when to hold on to their cards and when to fold them.

A gracious exit means not burning any bridges because you never know when you may need the help of people you have encountered.

8. They say "Yes" when they want to say "No"

A current trend, recommended as a time-management technique is to say "no" to anything that may require extra time and effort.

On the flipside, you may be unwittingly throwing out opportunities that may have been your lucky break if you had only said "yes".