Let me ask you an important question…
Are you a lucky person?
Shockingly, your answer to that question actually has more to do with how lucky you are than anything else. Recently, science has proven that we actually can create our own luck. This groundbreaking research reveals several evidence-based tactics you can use to help you stumble into that next great opportunity.
Dr. Richard Wiseman has been named “The Most Interesting and Innovative Experimental Psychologist in the World Today” by The Scientific American. His research and experiments have shed light on some of science’s most interesting topics and debunked several common “self-help” practices.
In a recent interview on The Science of Success, Dr. Wiseman explains how you can find more luck in your life today with science based steps.
But First, A Story…
So you think you’re unlucky, huh? Before we get into the steps, let’s review some of the stories from the Luck Experiments. Dr. Wiseman began by gathering thousands of people who considered themselves lucky or unlucky.
To give you some context, this was the experience of one self-proclaimed “unlucky” person…
· 5 Car Accidents Within 50 Miles — On the same trip.
· Signed Up For A Dating Service…
1. First date broke a leg on the way to meet her.
2. Second, ran into a glass door and broke his nose.
3. When she got engaged, the church she was to be married in burnt down the day before her wedding.
So… maybe you aren’t as unlucky as you thought. Despite these experiences, through adopting some of the mindsets in Dr. Wiseman’s research and implementing some new practices in her life, she actually is luckier.
So let’s get into it, here’s how you can go from unlucky to lucky, in no time at all.
The Newspaper Effect — Your Attention Spotlight
One of the most interesting differences between lucky and unlucky people is their attention spotlight. Lucky people are always looking for an opportunity in the details of everyday life. Where the unlucky tend to move forward without paying as much attention and without looking for luck. This hypothesis was proven and illustrated by Dr. Wiseman’s “Newspaper Experiment”
Dr. Wiseman began by asking participants to classify themselves as lucky or unlucky. They were then asked to flip through a newspaper and count the number of pictures they saw. As a reward they would be given $100. What he did not tell participants was that there were two huge time saving opportunities embedded in the newspaper.
“One was a half-page ad with massive type that said “Stop Counting. There are 42 photographs in this newspaper” and the other was another half page ad that said, “Tell the experimenter you’ve seen this ad and collect your $100 now.” Recalls Dr. Wiseman. The findings were extremely clear. Those who considered themselves lucky saw the ad and collected their money immediately. Those who identified as unlucky sat and counted each ad, missing the valuable time saving message.
When those who considered themselves unlucky felt pushed, stressed, or concerned, their attention narrowed, they put their heads down and droned through the task. In contrast, those who identified themselves as lucky expanded their attention to try and grasp the details of what they were doing. Causing them to get “lucky” and spot this time saving message. If we take the time to slow down, pay attention to what we are doing, and believe we’re lucky, studies show, we will be.
Write It Down
In his next experiment Dr. Wiseman set out to see if we could actually change our luck. “We thought, if we take a group of people who are not particularly lucky or unlucky and get them to think and behave like a lucky person, does that increase their luck?” recalls Dr. Wiseman.
In order to shift the subject’s mindsets they were asked to keep a “luck journal”. Dr. Wiseman lays out the rules, “We asked that at the end of each day they write down the most positive thing that happened or most positive thought they had that day. Or, in some cases, something negative that used to happen that no longer happens, or at very least some thought of gratitude.”
The participants who kept these journals reoriented themselves extremely quickly. They began to see the good things in their lives and the opportunities in front of them. “It’s the most simple interventions we found had the biggest impacts,” notes Dr. Wiseman. Journaling and putting thoughts to paper has been proven to have astounding mental health benefits. By focusing on the good that happens each day we rewire our brains to see more opportunity in each day. Thus increasing how “lucky” we feel with each day.
The Silver Linings Playbook
Once you’ve begun focusing on the positive, it can be hard to stop. Carol Dweck was the first to coin the term “Growth Mindset.” One of the key pillars to a growth mindset is learning and seeing the positive in everything. If you try something and you fail, don’t beat yourself up; focus on what you learned and how you can avoid the same pitfalls in the future. This keeps us moving forward and increase how “lucky” we are in the future as we know what not to do.
By constantly thinking you’re lucky it’s incredible how it changes your perspective of everything. Dr. Wiseman recounts a slightly comical but impactful scenario, “A lucky person would take something as negative as falling down the stairs and find the good. Sure, I fell down the stairs and broke my leg, but if I had landed slightly to the left. I would have broken both of them, lucky.”
You may be thinking that breaking one leg is still a poor outcome. It’s those who train their brain to regard themselves as lucky however who do not dwell on the negative but rather find the positive, shift their focus there, and move forward.
Don’t Be Scared of Change
Oddly enough as Dr. Wiseman explains some people enjoy being unlucky. “About 20% of unlucky people rather enjoy being unlucky. Their self-identity is bound up with that.” This 20% enjoy being the clumsy guest at a party, enjoy never having things work out because on some level, it gives them an excuse.
These people according to the experiments are extremely hard to reach. While thinking lucky can dramatically change your life, you have to want to change to make it happen.
So start writing your own luck journal. Shift the way you think about yourself and the rest will trickle down into how you see the world and interact with others. If you want to start being lucky today, believe it to achieve it.
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