We all revel in a moment of good luck
When it happens, it surprises and delights us, lifts our mood, and makes us feel more generous and happy.
But what exactly is luck?
Seneca, the Roman dramatist, philosopher, and politician who lived 5 BC – 65 AD, said,
“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
Another definition of luck is:
“Serendipitous events occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way, a kind of ‘happy accident’ that results in something valuable.”
We give and receive gifts in hope of improving good luck
For instance, on the wall in the corner of my office, I have a beautiful picture of a single, stylised goldfish. A dear friend gave it to me. It represents the gift of good luck as tranquillity, wisdom, and long life.
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, and author of The Luck Factor has spent years researching good luck and serendipity. He aimed to find out why some people seem to be luckier than others.
A luck experiment
Entertainer Derren Brown had a similar aim when he conducted a massive experiment about luck. The operation involved a whole town over a three-month period. Both Richard Wiseman’s and Derren Brown’s conclusions may surprise you.
What makes some people lucky?
In the Derren Brown Experiment, a TV programme that aired in 2011, he used the whole town of Todmorden in the UK to find out what makes some people fortunate, while others only attract misfortune. The programme has much to offer on so many levels; intrigue, the power of our minds, the energy of group consciousness, and how attitude affects our luck. It is also incredibly entertaining!
Derren concluded people create their own luck
Richard Wiseman drew a similar conclusion. He judged some people are not luckier, just quicker to spot and seize opportunities in serendipitous situations.
So if ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity’, if you create your own good luck, and if, to be luckier, you need to spot and seize opportunities, what precisely can you do to increase your luck factor?
As far as I can tell, there are four things you can do that will improve your chance of experiencing ‘happy accidents’ — serendipity — or good luck.
1. Chill out
Wiseman found unlucky people are tenser than lucky people. Anxiety or stress disrupts our ability to recognise unexpected and possibly auspicious events or occurrences. The reason for this is that when we’re stressed, we operate using foveal vision (sometimes called tunnel vision). We direct our vision toward and directly in front of us, and this often means we miss things on the periphery; people, situations, or events that might increase our good luck factor.
When we’re relaxed, we use our peripheral vision
Peripheral vision enables you to take in the whole panorama of what’s happening in front of and around you. It makes total sense that you’re more likely to see opportunities if you’re relaxed and have expansive vision than if you’re locked into your foveal vision and focused in an extremely narrow field.
Learn how to create peripheral vision in my article How To Create A Breakthrough State: 5 Easy Techniques (It’s #3)
2. Positive beliefs about luck
Do you consider yourself lucky or unlucky? It’s important not to underestimate the part that beliefs play in how lucky you might be. In Derren Brown’s experiment, Wayne, the local Todmorden butcher, painfully illustrated the belief aspect of luck. Wayne knew he had lots of luck — all of it bad luck. With this conviction, Wayne was unable to even recognise three extremely ‘lucky’ opportunities placed explicitly in his way.
What do you believe about your luck?
Primarily, beliefs act as filters of your experience; if you believe you’re lucky, you’re more likely to identify and take up opportunities that will bring you luck, than if you assume you’re unlucky.
The lucky charm phenomenon
Many people have a lucky charm or mascot; something they associate with good fortune. Perhaps the person has experienced good luck while they’ve had the object with them, and then associated their success with that object. Others buy a ‘lucky’ charm such as a four-leafed clover or a lucky rabbit’s foot (even though it wasn’t too lucky for the rabbit!) and attribute their luck to that item.
We can consider even an item of clothing lucky; the clothing you wore when you got that fantastic job, or met the love of your life. We keep our fingers crossed that life will go our way, or we may have a lucky word or phrase, or we might have some other anchor that helps improve our mood. Some of us even have bracelets full of lucky charms.
Others would call these things superstitious nonsense!
But remember, It’s the belief in the power of that item to bring good luck that increases the chances of it being lucky. If you believe ‘lucky’ things work to increase your good luck factor, I say go for it!
3. Great expectations
Your thoughts create your life. So, as well as having positive beliefs, it’s crucial to expect good things. If this isn’t a habit for you yet, you could always begin with a simple exercise to refocus your thinking. One such practice is to look for three favourable occurrences each day. Write these things down somewhere, in your diary, journal, on your phone, or even on your computer.
Writing is an essential component of this exercise because once you’ve been doing it for a few days, you’ll catch yourself looking for good things to write about. You’ll begin creating positive expectations. These can be the simplest of things:
- The shop assistant was super helpful in finding what you needed
- You bumped into a friend you haven’t seen in a while
- You found that an item of clothing you’d wanted was now on sale.
The point of the exercise is to retrain your mind to look for the positives in life — and be grateful.
4. Seize opportunities
Before you can even seize opportunities, you have to be open to them. The more open you are to new ideas or ways of doing things, the more likely it is that you’ll see those opportunities. But even if you’re chilled out, have positive beliefs, and have great expectations, your luck is more likely to increase if you take advantage of serendipitous events by seizing the opportunities they create.
The word serendipity implies ‘happy coincidence.’ So overthinking about where your actions might lead and then deciding whether you should take action is contrary to attracting luck. You can’t know in advance where actions or situations will lead you. Yet there are many instances where just going with the flow or following your gut feel has led to serendipitous events. Coincidences are like that!
Luck is only apparent when you’ve experienced it
I know this is stating the obvious, but only with hindsight can you connect the dots and determine how your stroke of good fortune eventuated. Without expecting and believing that you attract good fortune, it’s unlikely you will. And if you’re not relaxed and ready to recognise and seize opportunities, then there won’t be any dots to connect!
So open your mind to the possibility of having more good luck — and no doubt you will!
The 4 steps are so easy to incorporate into your life, why wouldn’t you try them all?
- Chill out.
- Positive beliefs about luck.
- Great expectations.
- Seize opportunities.
Need something else to improve your luck factor?
“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night.“ ~ Anonymous
Please share if you enjoyed this post
If you found this post valuable, I’d love you to share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or your platform of choice. 🙂 Just use the social sharing buttons below!
Got a comment?
Please post it below.Tags: Beliefs and values, Fun and laughter, Perception, Self-awareness, Thinking and mindset