How to Improve Your Luck

Previous Article Next Article
December 09, 2008 | 47,992 views

For centuries, people have recognized the power of luck. To investigate scientifically why some people are consistently lucky and others aren't, Richard Wiseman advertised in national periodicals for volunteers of both varieties. Four hundred men and women from all walks of life responded.

Over a 10-year period, Wiseman interviewed them, asked them to complete diaries, questionnaires and IQ tests, and invited them to his laboratory for experiments. He found that lucky people get that way by applying some basic principles:

• Seizing chance opportunities
• Creating self-fulfilling prophecies through positive expectations
• Adopting a resilient attitude that turns bad luck around

For example, he gave lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to determine how many photos were inside. On average, unlucky people spent about two minutes on this exercise -- but the lucky people only spent seconds. On the paper's second page, in large type, was the message "Stop counting: There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." Lucky people tended to spot the message. Unlucky ones didn't.

Halfway through the paper, was a message that read: "Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250." Again, the unlucky people missed it. The lucky people saw what was there, rather than just what they were looking for.

Lucky participants also put effort into adding variety to their lives, tended to be more optimistic, and were happier and more satisfied with their lives.

The good news is that when Wiseman described the techniques to help participants react like lucky people, 80 percent reported being happier and luckier after just one month.

One unlucky subject said that after adjusting her attitude, her bad luck actually vanished.

The bottom line? Thoughts and behavior affect the good and bad fortune you encounter. The most elusive of goals -- an effective way of taking advantage of the power of luck -- is actually available to everyone.

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • Reader's Digest November 19, 2008