I was complaining to a friend that I am not very lucky with raffles, lotteries, lucky-dips etc to get away from a persistent attempt by him to get me to buy a raffle ticket. His persistence paid off but, although I did not win, I got reflecting, and did some research on being unlucky. Here is what I found, an old email from another friend. I quote it in its entirety.
The loser’s guide to getting lucky
By Professor Richard Wiseman
University of Hertfordshire
Why do some people get all the luck while others never get the breaks they
deserve? A psychologist says he has discovered the answer. Ten years ago, I
set out to examine luck.
I wanted to know why some people are always in the right place at the right
time, while others consistently experience ill fortune.
I placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt
consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.
Hundreds of extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research and,
over the years, I have interviewed them, monitored their lives and had them
take part in experiments.
Professor Wiseman’s top tips
The results reveal that although these people have almost no insight into
the causes of their luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for
much of their good and bad fortune.
Those who have succeeded at anything and don’t mention luck are kidding
Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently
encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.
I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to
differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.
I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look
through it and tell me how many photographs were inside.
Professor Wiseman’s formula came too late for some…
I had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying:
“Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.”
This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more
than two inches high.
It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended
to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.
Everything in life is luck
Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety
disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.
As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking
for something else.
They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss
opportunities to make good friends.
They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job
advertisements and miss other types of jobs.
Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there
rather than just what they are looking for.
Luck is believing you’re lucky
My research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via
They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky
decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies
via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms
bad luck into good.
Towards the end of the work, I wondered whether these principles could be
used to create good luck.
I asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises
designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person.
These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their
intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck.
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have
One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened.
The results were dramatic: 80% of people were now happier, more satisfied
with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.
The lucky people had become even luckier and the unlucky had become lucky.
Finally, I had found the elusive “luck factor” .
Here are Professor Wiseman’s four top tips for becoming lucky:
Listen to your gut instincts – they are normally right.
Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine.
Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well.
Visualize yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone
call. Luck is very often a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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