Being Lucky

In one of our family weekend brunches we had a conversation about ‘longing for a life partner’ that oppress so many youngsters and adults. We argued – should we promote initiatives or wait for the Goddess of luck? In the evening my son, Arnon, sent to me an interesting article about luck that was published in England in 2003 by Richard Wiseman. Here is a summary:

A decade ago, I set out to investigate luck. I believe that I now understand why some people are luckier than others and that it is possible to become luckier.
I started with advertisements asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.  400 men and women volunteered from all walks of life. Jessica, a 42-year-old forensic scientist, is typical of the lucky group. As she explained: “I have my dream job, wonderful children and a great guy whom I love. It’s amazing; when I look back at my life, I realise I have been lucky in just about every area.”  In contrast, Carolyn, a 34-year-old care assistant, is typical of the unlucky group. She is accident-prone. In one week, she twisted her ankle, injured her back in another fall and drove into a tree during a driving lesson. She was unlucky in love and felt she was always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Over the years, I interviewed and worked with these volunteers. The findings have revealed the thoughts and behaviour of the unlucky people are responsible for much of their fortune.
Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not. I gave all of them a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper, on half a page with bold letters, contained the message: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” The unlucky people tended to miss it because they were busy looking for photos and the lucky people tended to spot it.
Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally tenser than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected. And so it is with luck – unlucky people miss chance 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 as a result 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.
To find out whether the outcome of my research could be used to increase the amount of good luck that people encounter, I created a “luck school”. After only one month the results were dramatic: 80% of the people were now happier, more satisfied and, perhaps most important of all, luckier. Take Carolyn, whom I introduced already. After graduating from “luck school”, she has passed her driving test after three years of trying, was no longer accident-prone and became more confident.
In the wake of these studies, I think there are 3 easy techniques that can help to maximise good fortune:
   * Lucky people listen to their hunches and intuition. They will look how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation.
   * Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives and are open to chance opportunities.
   * Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. A lucky volunteer once arrived with his leg in a plaster cast after he had fallen down a flight of stairs. He cheerfully explained that he felt luckier, as he could easily have broken his neck.

(From an article by Richard Wiseman, psychologist, University of Hertfordshire, the author of “The Luck Factor” (Century))

Since I personally don’t believe that things are pre-dictated – otherwise why do we learn, influence or make efforts – so I agree that we have to assist luck. If your desire is to find a partner, you shouldn’t hide at home and expect that somebody will arrive. It can happen, but chances are low.
George Bernard Shaw once said – “I don’t believe in circumstances. People who made progress in the world are people that stand up and look for the circumstances that they want, and if they don’t find them – they create them.”  

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Shuka, Thursday, May 06, 2010

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