Feeling Lucky (Part 2)
Last week I introduced you to Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, who has spent a decade researching “Lucky” and “Unlucky” people. He studied them through interviews, diaries, personality testing and questionnaires, looking for common threads and then ran experiments to test some of his theories. (Reading that post will help the rest of this make sense.)
In one experiment, he raised the importance of finding the “one right answer” by offering a monetary reward. He found that with added stress people tended to become more narrowly focused and miss extraneous information. He concluded that the more diligently you are looking for one specific opportunity or answer, the more likely you are to miss other beneficial information or opportunities.
(I bet you have seen this in the “basketball video” that has circulated on the Internet. While this is not Wiseman’s project, it illustrates the concept perfectly. You’re asked to count how many times players in white shirts pass the basketball. Try it–and see for yourself what hyper-focus can do.)
Wiseman summed up his general conclusions:
“My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. 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.”
What is so cool—he took it a step further. He actually conducted a “luck school” to see if training Unlucky People to act more like Lucky People would work. And it did.
“I asked a group of lucky and unlucky 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.”
The results were amazing—80% of the participants reported that they were happier and found life more satisfying. They started to self-identify as Lucky People.
I’m excited about all this because his three main conclusions mirror the topics of many of my past blog posts.
“Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches.”
- My suggestion: immerse yourself in more “right-brain” activities that open up communication with your intuition (More than a Fad, Sorry I’ve Got to Run, What Can a Pen and Paper Do for You?)
“Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives.”
- My suggestion: cultivate a mentality of creativity and apply it to life’s daily situations (What is Creativity, The Value of Fun, Creative ≠ Artistic)
“Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse.”
- My suggestion: Become a spin-doctor. Use gratitude as a way to put a positive spin on any situation. The third lesson in the Art of Gratitude course is all about how to do this (while also increasing your “right brain” activities!).
This is a lot to take in, but it’s also great news! It means that we all have the ability to increase the good fortune in our lives. It takes mental effort, but it’s doable!!
Consider all of the different actions that Wiseman has suggested and choose just ONE THING to focus on today. Will you spin negative situations with gratitude? Will you try to approach one daily routine with a creative twist? Will you nurture your right brain with a doodling session? Focus on one type of action all day, and then email me later to tell me about your day!
If you really want to change your luck, you can read Wiseman’s book, Luck Factor.