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 may 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.
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.