Want to improve your luck?

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
Thomas Jefferson
1746 – 1826

I’ve always believed that luck was totally random, not something you could control. But it seems I was wrong. Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire has devoted a lot of time and effort to studying luck and sheds some light on how to improve your luck.

As part of his studies, he placed ads in newspapers in the major cities of England asking people who considered themselves consistently lucky or unlucky to contact him.

He then interviewed a number of people and selected some to take part in experiments. Participants were asked to look through a newspaper and count the number of photographs they found. Professor Wiseman had secretly placed a half-page ad with two inch type in the middle of the paper; the ad read, “Tell the experimenter you saw this ad and win £250.”

It was a large ad with extremely large type. But here’s the amazing part: most of the people who considered themselves lucky saw the ad and collected the money, while most of the folks who considered themselves unlucky missed the ad.

Dr. Wiseman’s conclusion from these experiments is that unlucky people are generally more tense and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result, they miss opportunities. The “unlucky” didn’t see the ad because they were too focused on finding photographs. In real life, they might look through a newspaper for a particular job and miss ads for more interesting ones, or go to a party looking for their ideal mate and miss out on making new friends. According to Dr. Wiseman, “Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for.”

If you wish to improve your luck, here are four things Dr. Wiseman recommends: get good at noticing chance opportunities; listen to your intuition; create self-fulfilling prophesies by keeping positive expectations; and adopt a resilient attitude — turn problems into opportunities.

By following the above steps, you can improve your luck — and as a result, you’ll enhance your overall quality of life.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
4 B.C. – 65 A.D.

Copyright © 2017 John Chancellor

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