“I’ve decided that although I’m a very fortunate person, I tend to also be an unlucky person.” I stopped reading for a moment when I got to this line of a recent email I received from a friend describing some mishaps. On one hand, I loved that she saw herself as fortunate. But the self-designated label of unlucky didn’t sit right with me. I believe that what we say to ourselves about ourselves matters. I think if you tell your brain you’re unlucky, you’ll begin to perceive your circumstances through that lens, thus validating your belief and feeding the cycle.
I looked online to see what others said about luck and came across this article on how luck is a skill one can learn. Hmmm, a skill? Seems like an oxymoron. Isn’t “luck” something determined by “chance?” How, then can one learn to be lucky? Richard Wiseman is a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire who’s been studying luck for 10 years. He said he wanted to, “examine the impact on people’s lives of chance opportunities, lucky breaks and being in the right place at the right time.” His studies involved 400 people from 18- 84 years old who participated in experiments and interviews, completed diaries, questionnaires and intelligence tests. He found a difference in the attitudes and behaviors of “lucky” people that, in a subsequent experiment, he was able to teach to “unlucky” people, resulting in higher levels of happiness and “luck.”
Tell me more! Turns out its pretty simple. According to Wiseman, lucky people are more observant to their surroundings and potential opportunities; they listen to and trust their intuition; they carry positive expectations for life and take a “glass half full” perspective; and finally, they adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.
Wiseman suggests three ways to change your luck.
- Respect your hunches. Think both rationally and with your gut. Trust your intuitions.
- Change your routines. Take different routes to the places you frequent. Try new habits. Introduce yourself to new people at a social gathering rather than sticking with the same core group. Look around you as you walk and expect to see something new.
- Look at the bright side. There’s always a bright side. Got in a fender bender? At least you weren’t hurt. Internet down? Hey, more time for yourself (take a walk, read a book, call a friend).
In all transparency, I’m a glass half full kind of gal. I don’t know if that came naturally or was modeled and taught (probably both), but I do know I prefer to be happy so it’s easy to go there most days. I’ve never thought of it as a “luck skill” but I’ll take it! Because I, too, am a very fortunate person, and also a lucky one!