“Some people have all the luck.”
You’ve heard that said, and perhaps you have wondered whether it is true. Professor Richard Wiseman, a research psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in Britain, set out to test that proposition, and he subsequently wrote this book about his findings, The Luck Factor: The Four Essential Principles. His studies showed that people can improve their luck, or at least feel that they have, by changing their behavior and attitudes.
Getting luckier by changing your behavior and attitudes will not increase your chances of winning the lottery. Roulette wheels and slot machines won’t notice, either. Rather, your awareness of opportunities, your use of intuition/hunches, your resilience in the face of bad fortune, and your interactions with other people will improve–and their responses will likely be beneficial to you, making you “luckier.”
Dr. Wiseman’s findings uncovered four elements in the difference between those who believed themselves to have been lucky versus those who did not:
1. “Maximize your chance possibilities.” Be alert to opportunities, and act on them. He states this as, “Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives.” Often extroverts, they network well. With a relaxed attitude toward life, they try new things, get out of ruts, giving themselves more chances to “win.” For example, my youngest brother accepted a temporary research assignment in Great Britain, and there he met a wonderful woman to whom he is very happily married.
Professor Wiseman tested his subjects for alertness to obvious clues in a simple reading experiment. The ones who had considered themselves to be lucky usually found the clues almost immediately. The faction considering themselves to be unlucky generally missed the clues. The lucky were simply more alert than the unlucky.
To gauge their comparative degrees of connection to others, their degree of networking, Professor Wiseman had his study subjects read a list of 15 common last names and then check how many of these 15 surnames were of people they knew personally. On average, the “lucky” fraction knew many more than the “unlucky” fraction, indicating that the lucky ones were more effective at building networks. Networks are likely to present opportunities.
2. “Listen to your lucky hunches.“ Follow your intuition, not just your reasoning, in personal, financial, and business situations. You can increase this faculty by meditation and by setting aside problems temporarily while your subconscious mind works on them. Falling in love certainly has its intuitive aspects. Sometimes, however, we get a feeling that something is awry, even though we do not know why. Heed both attraction and repulsion. “The heart has its reasons that reason does not understand.”
3. “Expect good fortune.” Create self-fulfilling prophecies by having positive expectations. Expect interactions with others to be mutually beneficial. You will be more attractive as a partner, more likely to establish a win/win outcome. Let your reach exceed your grasp: have high goals. You cannot win if you do not try. “You’ve got to be in it to win it.”
4. “Turn bad luck into good.“ See the positive side of failure: turn that lemon into lemonade; recognize that it could be worse; learn; adapt; forge on; don‘t dwell on temporary defeat.