Personal Growth

Luck Is Predictable, Which Means You Can Make Yourself Luckier

Are you lucky or unlucky? It's not the universe or random chance that makes you that way — it's your own thoughts and behaviors.

Do You Feel Lucky?

English psychologist and author Richard Wiseman once performed a 10-year study on the science of luck. He placed ads in the newspaper calling for people who considered themselves very lucky or very unlucky to contact him. In all, his study included 400 participants from all walks of life.

In one experiment, he asked lucky and unlucky people to look through a newspaper and count the number of photographs inside. On average, it took the unlucky people around two minutes. The lucky people, on the other hand, took a few seconds. Why? Because on the second page, there was a message that said in a massive font, "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." The lucky people, it seems, were more open to possibilities other than the ones they were searching for.

In another experiment, he presented both lucky and unlucky people with a scenario: Imagine you're at a bank when an armed robber comes in. He fires a single bullet, and it hits you in the arm. Would you consider this event lucky or unlucky? Unlucky people were more likely to say it was unlucky — it was their bad luck to not only be in the bank when a robber came in but to be the only person who was shot. On the contrary, lucky people thought it was a lucky scenario. After all, you could have been shot in the head.

Says Wiseman in an article he wrote on the experiment, "Lucky people tend to imagine spontaneously how the bad luck they encounter could have been worse and, in doing so, they feel much better about themselves and their lives. This, in turn, helps keep their expectations about the future high, and, increases the likelihood of them continuing to live a lucky life."

Related Video: The Odds of Finding Life and Love

How You Can Get Luckier

Wiseman used his research to figure out how people could improve their luck. He found that there were four principles at work:

1. Maximize chance opportunities. Stay open to new experiences and adopt a more relaxed attitude.

2. Listen to lucky hunches. Pay attention to your intuition, and work to clear your mind of cluttering thoughts.

3. Expect good fortune. Lucky people assume that everything will turn out alright. That helps them keep going even in the face of failure.

4. Turn bad luck into good. Imagine how things could have been worse. Don't dwell on the bad. Take control rather than giving up.

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"The Luck Factor" is the book Richard Wiseman wrote about this area of research. You can get the audiobook free with a 30-day trial of Audible. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity gets a share of the sale.

Written by Ashley Hamer December 21, 2016

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