I remember someone who in all other respects was not very wise saying something that I’ve heard repeated and reworded many times ever since, but it has stuck with me for years. “You make your own luck”, he said as he filled in an application form to do a course. He had no qualifications for it, but it didn’t stop him, and it didn’t stop them letting him do it either. The irony of it is, that he dropped the course half way through. The moral is that he got on the course in the first place; if you don’t ask you don’t get.So it struck me that there are a few ways that I make my own luck. One way is the act of going for things, trying things. I think it’s a good policy to know your limitations and either push them or adhere to them according to circumstance. However, the making of luck that really tickles me is of the type I employ whenever I’m going for an interview or having to give a performance. There’s a common trick, which repulses me, of trying to imagine the people in front of you on the toilet. Eurgh. Seriously, that’s gross. My way is much better. I started doing things my way by accident. I was giving a big talk at the Royal Institution of Great Britain and I was rather nervous. I went to the loo before I had to give the talk – nerves you know – and I realized I was wearing my thong inside out. It cracked me up that I would be going and talking to this audience of austere scientists with an inside-out thong on, and my nerves evaporated. Since then, when I have to face people in a nerve-wrecking situation, I’ve always tried to do something inconspicuously humourous, whether it be backwards knickers, comedy socks or a funny note in my pocket. My favourite one has to be the most recent though. I went for an interview last year for a job I really wanted. I didn’t want to rely on comedy socks for this one; I had to think of something else. As I was getting dressed I moved the jeans I’d been wearing the previous day, and out of the pocket fell the penny I’d picked up off the road (see a penny…). Having no pockets in my interview trousers, I employed the age-old tradition of women in pocketless clothes – I stuffed it in my bra. Knowing there was a penny in my bra, how could I possibly be nervous? Of course, I forever have to live with the terrible uncertainty of whether I got the job because I deserved it, or if it was down purely to the magic of the bra-penny.