Happy Go Lucky

This is in continuation to the previous post and is to promote thoughts of Professor Richard Wiseman, University of Hertfordshire

He gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. He had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying: “Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.”

This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than two inches high. He was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it. Unlucky people are generally tenser than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.

As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and miss other types of jobs.

Lucky people are more relaxed and open , and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for. My research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four 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.

He asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. Dramatic results these exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck. One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80% of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.