Have you ever thought to yourself that some people get all the luck, while others never seem to get the lucky breaks? There may be something in that - and Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire has completed some research that suggests that there may be useful strategies to improving your luck.
He enlisted the help of hundreds of volunteers who considered themselves to be lucky, alongside some less-lucky people. He interviewed them and carried out some experiments. The results showed that, although these people had little insight into what had actually caused their luck, their thoughts and behaviour are likely to be responsible for much of their good and bad fortune.
He gave his subjects a task that involved looking through a newspaper. Halfway down a page, there was an instruction: ‘Tell the experimenter that you have seen this, and you will win £250.’
It was found that those who were considered to be lucky were much more likely to see this, and claim their prize.
He concluded that unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and that this interferes with their ability to pay attention to the unexpected. As a result, they missed opportunities because they were too busy looking for something else.
Therefore, they missed lucky chances because they were too focused on looking for something specific. He explained that they may go to parties intending to find their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends.
Wiseman concluded that lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they specially are looking for.
He added that his research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four principles. They:
- are good at creating and noticing chance opportunities
- make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition
- create self-fulfilling prophesies by having positive expectations
- adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good luck
He asked the group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person, as above.
These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to perceived bad luck.
One month later, the results were dramatic: 80% of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and - luckier. The lucky people had become even luckier and the unlucky had become lucky. It appeared that he had discovered the ‘luck factor’.
So here are Professor Wiseman's four top tips for being lucky:
- Listen to your gut instincts - they are usually right
- Be open to new experiences and in doing so, breaking your usual routine
- Reflect at the end of each day on the things that went well
- Visualise yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call. Luck can often be a self-fulfilling prophecy.