How to Be Lucky in Life
4 techniques to attract luck from the book ‘The Luck Factor’
Did you ever wonder, “Why am I not lucky?” and “Why does luck always seem to favour a few people?”
Many times, you might have noticed that people with less talent have attained significant success, be it in their jobs, business, or relationships.
How did they achieve that success?
Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman conducted research on this topic with thousands of volunteers.
In this summary of the book ‘The Luck Factor’ by Richard Wiseman, we will explore the following questions:
1. What is luck?
2. How can you create your luck?
3. Four techniques for attracting luck?
Wait! This summary is not just for unlucky people; it’s also for those lucky individuals who are interested in understanding why they’re fortunate. Read on.
What is Luck?
‘Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.’ — OPRAH WINFREY
According to Wikipedia, “Luck is the phenomenon and belief that defines the experience of improbable events, especially improbably positive or negative ones”
In simpler terms, luck can be defined as obtaining something without planning, purely by chance.
For instance, consider a person winning the lottery, narrowly avoiding an accident by moving a few seconds before it happened, or getting a job by randomly attending an interview.
These are all real-life examples that you may have observed, and the key takeaway is that luck is not limited to any one specific field.
You can notice it in various areas such as business, politics, science, relationships, health, etc…
Let’s take a look at a real-life incident where luck played a significant role.
Warren Buffett, the most successful investor, was rejected from Harvard Business School when he was twenty.
After his rejection, he applied to other business schools, and he was eventually accepted at Columbia Business School. The professor at Columbia became Buffett’s mentor, and he later stated, ‘Harvard’s rejection was the luckiest thing that happened to me.’
Difference between Lucky and Unlucky People
Lucky people tend to have chances work out consistently in their favour. They often win competitions, and coincidentally meet people who significantly impact their lives, and their good fortune assists them in achieving their goals.
In contrast, unlucky people often experience unfavorable circumstances working against them. They may not win competitions, encounter accidents that are not their fault, face business failures due to unfortunate circumstances, and miss out on job opportunities.
The key takeaway here is that “luck is not connected to people’s intelligence.”
The Key Takeaway 1: Maximize Your Chance Opportunities
Lucky people seem to consistently find opportunities at the right time. How do they consistently seize these chances?
After conducting research, it became clear that people’s personality traits play a crucial role in creating these opportunities.
One aspect involves creating a strong network. We are familiar with the distinction between extroverts and introverts.
For those who may not know, extroverts thrive on spending time with the outer world, such as visiting friends and traveling with others, while introverts prefer spending their time with themselves, like reading books.
Extroverts tend to build strong networks with other people, which further enhances their chances of encountering lucky opportunities. Connecting with more people helps them increase their luck.
How to be a Social Magnet
In their research, the author observed that lucky people, often without realizing it, act as social magnets. This means that lucky individuals tend to attract others through their open body language and facial expressions.
Open body language includes actions like smiling, maintaining direct eye contact, positioning their bodies toward the person they’re speaking to, and keeping their arms uncrossed.
In contrast, closed body language involves behaviours like crossing their arms and legs while speaking, failing to maintain strong eye contact, and not smiling.
Let’s take a look at an experiment that illustrates this principle.
In this experiment, researchers selected both lucky and unlucky individuals and asked them to visit a coffee shop one after the other, where they waited to meet people participating in a ‘luck project.’
On the way to the coffee shop, the researchers strategically placed $5 outside and set up the coffee shop with four tables. At one table, they asked a businessman to sit, while the other tables were occupied by regular individuals. All participants were instructed to behave in the same manner.
The first person to arrive at the coffee shop was a lucky individual. On his way, he spotted the $5 and entered the shop. He took a seat next to the businessman, introduced himself, and engaged in a fruitful conversation.
In contrast, the unlucky person failed to notice the $5 and, although he sat down beside the businessman, he didn’t initiate any conversation.
This experiment vividly illustrates how lucky people tend to attract opportunities. They are consistently open to new connections, which, in turn, leads them to opportunities.
The key takeaway from this experiment is that to create more opportunities, you need to establish a strong network by actively initiating conversations with others and being open to new experiences in your life.
The Key Takeaway 2: Listen to Your Lucky Hunches
In the research, lucky people expressed that they make good decisions based on their intuition.
To gain a deeper understanding of this, researchers analyzed their decision-making by conducting a survey in which participants were questioned about the decisions they had made in their careers, personal relationships, business, and finance.
The survey’s results revealed that lucky people tend to place more trust in their intuition when making decisions, compared to unlucky individuals.
As they delved deeper into these findings, they noticed the significance of the concept of “unconsciousness.”
But what exactly is unconsciousness? To explain, consider a scenario where I ask you to choose one dress out of four different dresses. Your choice is likely based on the colour or design of the dress.
When I inquire about why you selected that specific dress, you might say it’s because you liked the colour or design. However, you may not be able to explain why you favoured that particular colour or design.
This is where the concept of “familiarity” comes into play. Unconsciously, we tend to prefer things that we’ve encountered or seen before.
Certain aspects have registered in our minds, influencing our decisions without us being consciously aware of it.
This is why advertisers invest substantial amounts of money in making their brands or products familiar to the general public.
So How to Improve Your Intuition?
The survey results also unveiled that lucky people actively work to enhance their intuition by employing specific techniques, such as meditation. Through meditation, lucky individuals are able to clear their minds of extraneous thoughts and distractions, allowing their intuition to operate optimally.
One recommended meditation practice is Transcendental meditation:
· Find a quiet and peaceful place.
· Take a few deep breaths to relax.
· Choose a single word as your mantra. This word can be one of your choosing, such as “happiness,” “silence,” or any word that resonates with you.
· The choice of the word itself is not critical; the technique is designed to help you clear your mind of unwanted thoughts.
By practicing this form of meditation, you can create a distraction-free mental space, which can enhance your intuitive decision-making.
The Key Takeaway 3: Expect Good Fortune
Many people have dreams of achieving success and good health in life. Lucky individuals seem to fulfill these dreams not solely through luck but by adopting a different mindset.
Research has unveiled that lucky people hold higher expectations for their lives. They believe in a positive and successful future and perceive obstacles as temporary challenges.
On the contrary, unlucky individuals tend to expect the opposite, anticipating that negative circumstances will persist indefinitely.
But why do unlucky people hold on to those beliefs? A significant finding is that their outlook on the future is often influenced by their past experiences.
For instance, if an unlucky person has previously faced failure in job interviews, they are likely to expect similar outcomes in the future.
Additionally, they may believe that any stroke of good luck they encounter will quickly fade away. These thought patterns are prevalent among many people, including those who, in the past, held similar beliefs.
The higher expectations held by lucky people tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies.
To illustrate, imagine that you’re concerned about your future, and someone suggests you visit an astrologer renowned for perfect predictions.
With a strong belief in the astrologer’s words, you go for a consultation, and the astrologer predicts a bright future for you. As a result, you feel happier and more confident, leading you to behave differently and increase your chances of achieving your goals.
In this scenario, the astrologer hasn’t done anything substantial, but their comments have influenced your behaviour, turning your expectations into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Research underscores that unlucky individuals tend to dwell on their past experiences and maintain low expectations, which detrimentally affects their prospects.
In a study, researchers classified over 2,000 participants into three groups: those with low expectations about their future were labeled as “Negative,” those with high expectations were labeled “Positive,” and those with neutral expectations were labeled “Neutral.”
Over a six-year period, researchers monitored these groups and found that individuals in the “Negative” group were significantly more likely to succumb to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and accidents than those in the “Neutral” group.
So, how can you guide your expectations in a more positive direction?
· Set realistic and achievable goals.
· Write your goals as specifically as possible.
· Assign deadlines to all your goals.
· Whenever you feel demotivated, make a list of the pros and cons of achieving your goals.
· Visualize yourself achieving those goals and anticipate the best possible results.
The key takeaway here is to “set high expectations, as your expectations can potentially become self-fulfilling prophecies.”
The Key Takeaway 4: Turn Your Bad Luck into Good
Are lucky people always fortunate and free from adversity?
No, they also face bad luck and negative events, but how they cope with and overcome these situations is a topic worth exploring.
Did you know that one study found that individuals who won the bronze medal in the Olympics were often happier than those who won the silver medal?
What could explain this? Those who won silver medals often worried about the ‘What if I had performed slightly better?’
In contrast, bronze medallists were happy with their performance, feeling that they had done slightly better than if they hadn’t won a medal at all.
Similar to the above study, lucky individuals tend to focus on the bright side of every situation and think about how things could have been worse. In contrast, unlucky people tend to fixate on negative aspects and think about the worst possible scenarios.
Now, let’s delve into an ancient Chinese parable about a farmer and his fate. One day, as the farmer was traveling with his horse, he suddenly fell to the ground and suffered a severe leg injury.
Relatives and neighbors visited the farmer and expressed their sympathy, telling him that this was indeed bad luck. However, the farmer responded, ‘How do you know that this is bad luck?’
A week later, a village festival was held, and the farmer was unable to attend due to his injury. Others in the village felt sorry for him, thinking it was unfortunate that he couldn’t partake in the festivities. Yet again, the farmer’s response was, ‘How do you know that this is bad luck?’
Tragically, during the festival, a terrible fire broke out, resulting in many deaths. Later, the neighbours realized that the farmer’s injury had saved his life.
The key takeaway here is that “lucky people believe that their misfortune will somehow help them achieve their desired outcomes in the future.” This perspective allows them to turn bad luck into good and find positive aspects even in challenging situations.
Is a black cat crossing your path considered lucky or unlucky? Most of you might say it’s “unlucky,” but actually, it is considered lucky in some countries.
Many people believed they could increase their luck by following superstitious rituals — carrying lucky charms, using or avoiding particular numbers, and more.
The reality is that you can’t create luck with some mystical force. Lucky people don’t have any special power, nor were they born lucky.
They unknowingly developed certain skills that have helped them become fortunate in their lives. So, all you have to do is follow these principles outlined above and be ready to seize your opportunities.