Either you’re the person who finds a $20 bill every time they glance at the ground … or you’re the one begrudgingly watching on (again) as your lucky friend scoops up the money, wondering what they’ve got that you don’t.
From the casino to the board room, we all ask these questions as we (or the person next to us) strikes it big: Does luck happen randomly? Or are some people naturally luckier than others? If so, what are they doing right?
We turned to Dr. Richard Wiseman, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England, for the answers. He’s devoted the past two decades to studying the origins and nature of good and bad luck, which he writes about in "The Luck Factor."
Chance? No, It’s Personality
Luck is not the same as chance. Chance has to do with purely external causes, such as the flipping of a coin or the drawing of a lottery ticket, over which you have no control. Luck, on the other hand, is influenced by your character, assumptions and behavior. Lucky people tend to have similar personality traits such as being extroverted, relaxed and open to new experiences. “I discovered,” Wiseman writes, “that being at the right place at the right time is actually all about being in the right state of mind.”
Wiseman’s body of research led him to a startling conclusion: “People are not born lucky. Instead, lucky people are, without realizing it, using four basic principles to create good fortune in their lives.” If you want to have more luck more often, you should apply the following principles in your own life:
The Four Principles of Luck
1. Lucky people create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives. They naturally—or purposefully—meet, connect and maintain relationships with other people. They’re open to taking risks, trying new things and visiting unfamiliar places. They also have what Wiseman calls “a relaxed attitude toward life,” which allows them to notice options and opportunities that others who are worried or preoccupied might overlook. Most importantly, lucky people thrive on maintaining variety and creativity in their lives.
2. Lucky people make successful decisions by using their intuition and gut feelings. They value their hunches and have confidence in their ability to know what’s right for them. They also keep their intuition sharp by meditating, clearing their minds and seeking regular refuge in quiet places.
3. Lucky people’s expectations about the future help them fulfill their dreams and ambitions. They expect to be lucky now and in the future. Keeping such a positive outlook actually affects how they behave in all kinds of situations: confident, cooperative, outgoing and adventurous. This behavior increases their chances of success. Furthermore, they see setbacks as temporary, and they persevere in achieving their goals.
4. Lucky people are able to transform their bad luck into good fortune. They don’t dwell on moments of bad luck but instead let go of them and concentrate on future possibilities. They see bad luck as an opportunity to learn from mistakes, and they actively seek out better ways of handling similar situations.
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