Category Archives: Surprising Findings

Improve Your Luck

Luck is defined as “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”

Experimental psychologist, author, creative consultant for many television programs, and magician – Professor Richard Wiseman conducted a study on over 400 volunteer participants for ten years, in an effort to understand why some people have good luck, while others do not.

He discovered that luck is not magical, unless one considers paying attention and being aware to be a magical ability. A person can improve their luck by simply becoming more aware and more relaxed.

You do not need a lucky rabbit’s foot (I had one as a child) or a four leaf clover, although such items four leaf clovermay serve as reminders that you are in control of your luck, good or bad.

Superstition / Magical Charms

If you have “good luck charms,” you do not need to throw them away, but instead use them as constant reminders that give you power to change your luck!

According to Wiseman…

My research revealed that lucky people generate their own 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.

To further prove his point, he conducted an experiment in which he gave the same newspaper to all of the participants.

He asked all of them to count the number of photographs.

The unlucky people averaged about two minutes to count all of the photographs.

The lucky people were done in a matter of seconds.

Why?

Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message “Stop counting –
There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”

Wiseman described the “ad” above as taking up half a page, with the font size being over two inches.

As I read about this newspaper experiment, I wondered if I would have seen the ad. Truthfully speaking, I believe I would take notice of it on some days, and on other days I might not, which further proves Professor Wiseman’s reasoning that our attitude affects our luck.

I had an English professor my freshman year in college who did something similar. He handed out a quiz and the first instruction said to read all of the questions before answering. I did. The last question said “Sign your paper and hand it in. Do not answer any of the questions.” I was lucky that day.

If this isn’t enough proof that we manifest our own good luck by our attitudes and actions, keep reading.

Wiseman continued his experiment with the newspaper by adding another large ad about half-way into the newspaper.

As Wiseman explained…

This one announced:
“Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.

Continued experiments indicated that anxiety plays a key role in how people react to such instructions. Those overcome with anxiety to complete the task, do not notice the “extra” ads.

Here is an example of how paying attention and being aware of what is happening around you, even as you are walking down the street, can offer you a chance at some good luck – IF you notice and take appropriate action.

As reported in The Luck Factor…

Barnett Helzberg Jr. is a lucky man. By 1994 he had built up a chain of highly successful jewelry stores with an annual revenue of around $300 mil-lion. One day he was walking past the Plaza Hotel in New York when he heard a woman call out, “Mr. Buffett” to the man next to him. Helzberg won-dered whether the man might be Warren Buffett – one of the most successful investors in America. Helzberg had never met Buffett, but had read about the financial criteria that Buffett used when buying a company.

Helzberg had recently turned sixty, was thinking of selling his company, and realized that his might be the type of company that would interest Buffett. Helzberg seized the opportunity, walked over to the stranger and introduced himself. The man did indeed turn out to be Warren Buffett, and the chance meeting proved highly fortuitous because about a year later Buffett agreed to buy Helzberg’s chain of stores. And all because Helz-berg just happened to be walking by as a woman called out Buffett’s name on a street corner in New York.

Read the full report of Wiseman’s experiments and findings as published in The Skeptical Inquirer, in this pdf file, The Luck Factor.”

Source: Richard Wiseman’s website.

Good Luck!

Good Luck!

Get The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook here.

Does Facebook Make You Happy

There is an article circulating that states that those who give up Facebook are happier.

Unfortunately, people reading such articles rarely read the entire article to see the actual findings, how many people participated, and where they were from. support_groups_on_facebook

This particular research included a mere 1095 Facebook users. The study was done in Copenhagen, so I would assume that is where the participants lived, but that is not necessarily so. The study was conducted by The Happiness Research Institute

Let’s break down the findings from the study of 1095 people, which does not even make up 1% of the people using Facebook, but that doesn’t seem to matter to researchers.

Scientifically speaking, it is perfectly fine to use a sample group and then make generalizations about the overall population. However, you would normally have a more inclusive representation of daily users. If you are going to use such a small sampling, then you should summarize the findings based on their common characteristics, which have to be more than the fact that they use Facebook every day.

Some of the questions I would want answered are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Do they live alone, or with how many do they live?
  • Do they spend most of their time at home alone?
  • Are they working?
  • Are they taking care of others in the home, such as children or ill loved ones?
  • Are they disabled in any way?
  • Are they depressed regardless of their use of Facebook?

Now think about those questions and how they might affect someone who logs in to Facebook every day. If you live alone, then Facebook helps you have contact with the outside world. The drawback is that it can also make you envious of what others are able to do, but at least you have contact. The same scenario applies if you are disabled or stuck at home as a caregiver.

Perhaps your family lives in another state and you don’t see them often. Then Facebook becomes a vital tool in keeping those relationships current and active.

As you can see, personal circumstances and satisfaction with life in general will have an effect on all of your experiences, including your time on Facebook.

So how can we truly say that Facebook or the lack thereof will make you happier?

Now we’ll take a look at the findings of this “study.”

Take note of the numbers such as:

  • 39% are more likely to be less happy… which means 61% (majority) feel at least as happy if not happier than their friends.
  • 5 out of 10 which is half or 50% which is basically a coin toss, envy amazing experiences of others.  Interestingly, I also envy “some” amazing experiences regardless of where I learn about them.
  • 1 out of 3 envy the happiness of others on FB, which means that 2 out of 3 are not envious, which is the majority.
  • 4 out of 10 envying the success of others likewise means that they are in the minority because 6 out of 10 or 60% are not feeling envious of other people’s success or appearance of success on Facebook.

The actual quote on the findings:

“People on Facebook are 39% more likely to feel less happy than their friends,” reads the study. “Instead of focussing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have […] 5 out of 10 envy the #amazing experiences of others posted on Facebook. 1 out of 3 envy how #happy other people seem on Facebook. 4 out of 10 envy the apparent #success of others on Facebook.”

 

If you’re still interested in this study in spite of the fact that they misspelled focusing and in spite of the fact that it is utter nonsense, you can read more about it where I discovered it at SocialMediaWeek.com.

You can also download the report from the Happiness Research Institute.

Meanwhile, don’t worry. Be happy that millions of people can connect with each other using Facebook, or can connect with support groups, hobby groups, religious groups and political groups as well as fan groups and so much more.

The risks and the dangers of Facebook are minimal when compared to the benefits of its existence.

Thank you Mark Zuckerburg.

MarkZ

 

 

Over half of all suicides involve guns

According to the APA (American Psychiatric Association), over half of all suicides involve guns.

Suicide deaths by method from the APA.

Suicide deaths by method

This is a difficult problem to solve, but there are things that can be done to minimize the danger.

A family member may buy a gun with good intentions of protecting the family.

Unbeknownst to them, another family member might use that gun to commit suicide.

We must emphasize to gun owners that their guns should be under lock and key where no one who is depressed or experiencing overwhelming stress can have access to them.

They need to become mindful of the emotional and mental health of everyone in their home.

Can they commit suicide another way?

Of course they can, but that doesn’t make it okay to leave guns in easy access areas.

Be a responsible gun owner.

Protect your family by locking up your guns.

You probably won’t need it for anything else anyway, according to statistics. I understand that having a gun makes some people feel safer, just don’t let fear rule your actions.

Be responsible.

Learn more at the APA blog.