Key Point: Members of my family have accused me of having “parking luck.” I go to parking areas that are supposedly full and often a space pops open. My passengers, filled with “parking envy,” then spew out the “lucky” phrase. Well family, haha, it turns out that there is science behind the phrase, “good to be lucky.” Dr. Richard Wiseman is a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and the bestselling author of The Luck Factor. (YouTube channel is here.) Wiseman studied over 1,000 people. According to his research, some people are very unlucky and the good news is, that with intentionality, luck can be influenced. According to the author:
“What the work shows as a whole is that people can change their luck. Luck is not something paranormal in nature. It’s something that we are creating by our thoughts and behavior.”
Wiseman conducted a series of experiments he called “Luck School” to teach unlucky people how to act more like lucky people do. As noted in his book:
“In total, 80 percent of people who attended Luck School said that their luck had increased. On average, these people estimated that their luck had increased by more than 40 percent.”
As a bonus, after Luck School, test results showed attendees were also happier. Ok… We all want more luck and happiness, so here is what the research suggests:
- Create and Maximize Opportunities.
Just let go and friggin try stuff. Do not wait until “when.” Do it now.
Wiseman wrote: “Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives… They just try stuff. Unlucky people suffered from paralysis by analysis. They wouldn’t do anything until they walked through every single angle and by then the world had moved on. They don’t gain the benefits of learning through doing. I’m a big fan of starting small, trying lots of projects, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and iterating based on feedback.”
- Trust your experiences and Listen To Hunches.
Lucky people act on their intuitions across many areas of their lives. Again according to Wiseman:
“Almost 90 percent of lucky people said that they trusted their intuition when it came to personal relationships, and almost 80 percent said it played a vital role in their career choices… About 20 percent more lucky than unlucky people used their intuition when it came to making important financial decisions, and over 20 percent more used their intuition when thinking about their career choices… What intuition seems to be most of the time is when you’ve got expertise in the area, that somehow the body and the brain have detected a pattern that you haven’t consciously seen… When we were talking to our lucky people they would often say, ‘If I get a gut feeling about something I stop and consider it.’ Even when unlucky people got those feelings, they didn’t follow them because they didn’t know where they came from. They were anxious about the world.”
- Be Positive and Expect Good Fortune.
Negative oriented people expect things will likely turn out poorly. People with a high positive quotient are more likely to try new things, follow through on opportunities and believe they will work out for the better, one way or another:
“On average, lucky people thought that there was about a 90 percent chance of having a great time on their next holiday, (and) an 84 percent chance of achieving at least one of their lifetime ambitions…Lucky people are buying into positive superstitions. In studies we’ve seen that good luck charms do improve performance, whether it’s physical skills like playing golf or mental skills like memory tasks… The researchers found that by activating good luck beliefs, these objects were consistently able to boost people’s self-confidence and that this up-tick in self-assurance in turn affected a wide range of performance. Lucky thinking, it turned out in this study, positively affected people’s ability to solve puzzles and to remember the pictures depicted on thirty-six different cards, and it improved their putting performance in golf! In fact, people with a lucky charm performed significantly better than did the people who had none.”
Rubis Note: I have “lucky underwear” I wear for important occasions… Just saying, haha.
- Turn Bad Luck Into Grit.
Of course lucky people aren’t always lucky. However they handle adversity differently than unlucky people.
Per the Luck Factor, “When things get tough you’ve got two choices: You can either fold or you can keep going. Lucky people are very resilient. I remember talking to one lucky person that had fallen down some stairs and broken his leg. I said, ‘I bet you don’t consider yourself quite so lucky now.’ He said the last time he went to a hospital he met a nurse and they fell in love. Now the two of them are happily married twenty-five years later. He said, ‘It was the best thing that ever happened to me… So, yeah, things can look bad now, but the long term effect of this might be very, very positive.’ That’s a very resilient attitude. Lucky people tend to have that sort of approach.”
I hear people at work often describe others as “just plain lucky.” Of course timing and other factors have a big impact on luck. At the same time, it is encouraging to note that we really can influence how overall lucky we are:
- Create and Maximize Opportunities: Keep trying new things. Don’t wait. Do it NOW (Character Triangle: Chapter 1).
- Trust and Listen To Hunches: Trust your intuition and remind yourself that your experience collects and sorts data. Verify… Use data AND listen to your inside voice.
- Be positive and Expect Good Fortune: Be positive and optimistic. Honesty and realism is different than skepticism. Think YES first. Anybody can start with NO.
- Turn Bad Luck Into Grit:Crappy luck will happen and this is an invitation for learning and practicing grit. Put bad luck to work for you. Learn and do more.
P.S. Follow up to our previous blog on Charisma, Wiseman noted that people who feel they are lucky are more charismatic. It felt good to be around them:
“Through doing countless interviews with lucky and unlucky people, I found you could tell within seconds which type of person you were about to interview. The lucky people were more engaging and upbeat… We have some research coming out which shows that one of the major factors is not how you yourself feel, but how you can make other people feel. It’s very closely related to charisma.”
Lucky in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: I love this. It’s no secret that in today’s world, when a successful person reaches the top, there are many people who can’t wait to bring them back down. I see this in my industry on a daily basis. Unfortunately, people feel like the success of others is symbolic of a status level that they’ll never achieve, so they revel in the idea that it should be taken away from them. That’s nonsense. Instead, we should be happy for the luck and fortune of others, and learn lessons from their path. There’s no shortness of luck out there.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis