Do you consider yourself lucky? You might regularly win competitions and feel life always goes your way. Or are you unlucky? Your life could be a poster for Murphy’s Law.
How you answer that question may determine how lucky you actually are.
The good news is, we can improve our luck.
Dr. Richard Wiseman is a Luck expert. He has undertaken numerous experiments to determine if luck is a measurable quality and if we can scientifically improve our luck. One of these experiments involved a newspaper.
Participants of the “Newspaper Experiment” were asked if they considered themselves lucky or unlucky and then they were asked to flick through and count the images in the newspaper provided. The unlucky participants counted the pictures, 42 in total, but they were significantly slower than the lucky participants. Embedded in the newspaper was a shortcut, a half-page ad that read “stop counting, there are 42 images in the newspaper.”
Lucky people expect lucky opportunities to come into their life and they keep a look out for these. When they see them, they trust their intuition and go with it.
Unlucky people tend to keep on the path. If they’re under pressure or stressed (aren’t we all?), they narrow their focus even more, sticking strictly to the instructions.
How can we improve our luck?
Let’s zoom the lens out for a moment and have a look at your life. You were born. This is miraculous. On the one or two days of the month that conception was possible, out of millions of potential humans, you made it through. You were very lucky. You have access to the internet (and so presumably, clean water, food, warmth and shelter), of the 3 billion people on the planet, you fall into the lucky ones. You are reading this blog, out of millions of people you could be reading, you’re here now – very lucky.
See what I did there? I started challenging that little voice inside that says, “I’m unlucky”. How can that be when there is evidence against it? In fact, we all have elements of luck in our life daily. Take a moment, I’m sure you can think of at least 5 ways you were lucky this week.
The truth is, our brains don’t like luck. We like a coherent story in which we’re in control. “I got lucky,” is not a great story, we can’t label it, store it and replicate it.
Hindsight makes lucky breaks seem like good choices. “I made a good choice in going to that networking event”, we think. We pay no attention to the lucky co-incidence that the right person we needed to meet also happened to make that same good choice when they could easily have chosen to give this one a miss and watch Netflix that night instead.
But predicting the future is not that simple. Our reality is actually made up of heaps of lucky breaks stacked on top of each other.
I met my husband because I said yes to a random trip to a small town in New Zealand – luckily. My business is starting to work out because I luckily connected with someone I wasn’t expecting to on a course I luckily signed up for because I happened to think, “I wonder if WestREAP need a Maths tutor.” And luckily, they didn’t need a maths tutor but they were running a business course.
We can improve our luck, it seems, by adopting a mindset that says we are lucky.
Mindsets are easier to adopt when we believe they are true. That’s why I’m stacking the evidence of this new belief for you. I encourage you to build your own lucky list and keep adding to it. Give credit to those lucky breaks and remind yourself that you are lucky.
If you can’t find any lucky breaks, then record positive things you can be grateful for. You’d be surprised how often moments of success trace back to luck.
Luck doesn’t mean winning the lotto (although, it can). It’s not about getting something for nothing. You make your own luck by choosing to notice lucky breaks, getting out and about where you may encounter lucky breaks and allowing flexibility in your ultimate plan.
So, I ask you again, are you lucky?
Be Brave and Curious,