Why are some people so lucky?
Why are some people so lucky? It seems like no matter what certain people in our lives do, they’re always catching lucky breaks. Luckiness follows them like a cloud: they’re always meeting people who further their careers, finding money in otherwise bad markets, experiencing romantic success, or making new friends with ease.
It’s enough to make anyone envious. But where does it come from? Where are these people finding all their luck? And why don’t the rest of us have that kind of fortune?
You might be surprised to learn that luck is, by all accounts, not an outside force. It doesn’t “enter” people or “bless” anyone from time to time. Instead, a groundbreaking study by researcher Richard Wiseman found that luck is largely a self-controlled force. The study, which transpired over the course of a decade and followed hundreds of individuals, found that people largely made, or lost, their own fortunes, and outside factors had little to do with it.
Not only that, but Wiseman also found that people can actually increase the amount of luck they experience. By practicing four different habits, historically unlucky people were able to turn their fortunes around and experience happier, more fulfilling lives.
So, what can you do to boost your luck?
Why are some people so lucky? Here are 4 ways to improve your luck:
1. Believe that you’re a lucky person
This might sound hard to believe, but as with the other points on this list, it’s rooted in science. The truth is that yes, believing you’re a lucky person can actually make you luckier. Wiseman’s study showed that most people who catch lucky breaks believe they’re likely to experience good fortune in the near future.
Other traits shared by lucky people involve optimism, a strong belief in positive outcomes and expectations, as well as greater sociability and extroversion. Throughout the study, these traits often coalesced into self-fulfilling prophecies for lucky people, who used their skills to connect, innovate and create new ways to be successful in many areas of life.
By contrast, unlucky people often think pessimistically about the world. They complain of having “no luck” and think the world is unfair for handing them a bad situation. Unfortunately, self-fulfilling prophecies work both ways — during the study, these people often weren’t lucky because they only saw the negative in everything. Instead of thinking about what could happen, they think about what wouldn’t…
…and what you focus on grows.
2. Be open to new experiences and opportunities
In Wiseman’s study, he conducted an experiment to see whether or not people perceived as lucky were more observant than others. To do so, he offered subjects a newspaper, and asked them to count the number of pictures that were inside. Most people took right around two minutes to complete their photo count…
…but lucky people, as it turns out, took only a few seconds. That’s because on the inside of the paper, there was a large message that read: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” While most people didn’t notice the message (they were too busy counting), the most observant subjects spotted it quickly. As it turns out, these observant folks were the same subjects who described themselves as “lucky” in a previous self-assessment.
Wiseman’s study also showed that these people were the ones most willing to be open to new experiences and opportunities. In essence, the experiment showed that observational skills were intricately linked with the ability to notice, evaluate and participate in novel experiences that might create new opportunities down the road.
What does that mean for the rest of us? In short, if you want to be luckier, you’ve got to be open to experiences that merit luck. Observe the world around you and look for ways to consistently break the mold by trying something you haven’t before.
Who knows? You might just catch a lucky break.
3. Look on the bright side of life
We touched on this briefly before, but looking at everything through a positive lens is just as important as believing you’re a lucky person. If you focus solely on the worst outcomes, the worst outcomes tend to happen. Conversely, focusing on the best outcomes causes better things to happen. The way we think controls everything else, which is why changing our thinking is the first step to improving our circumstances.
Not only that, but believing good things will happen can help you be more open-minded about trying new things. If you think a social event will lead to lots of networking contacts, you’re more likely to attend that event in the first place. If you believe new people are genuinely interesting, you’re more likely to turn first encounters into long-term friendships. And if you see every date as an experience to form a romantic connection with someone, you won’t be so worried about being unlucky in love.
4. Step out of your comfort zone and break the mold
Luck doesn’t come to those who stagnate. Luck comes to those who are constantly itching for new experiences, creating new goals, and achieving new milestones. That’s why choosing to do something different today, this week or this month can play a huge factor in helping you increase your luck down the road.
Why? Because routines lead to ruts. When you only talk with the same small circle, make the same meals every night and do the same kind of work every day, you’re closing yourself off to chance encounters and new ideas that foster luck. What would happen if you went to a networking convention that none of your friends were attending? Or what new ideas might you have if you went to the local co-op, farmer’s market or foreign food store instead of your everyday grocery outlet?
You’ll never know until you try.
Why are some people so lucky? Because they make their luck
Centuries ago, people believed luck was a mysterious force that visited some people and spurned others. Now, it’s much clearer than ever before that luck is largely a controllable force. By engaging with the world, remaining positive, believing in your ability to create opportunities for yourself, and trying new things, you can drastically improve your luckiness.
That’s right: you can be lucky, too. And you don’t even need a rabbit’s foot to do it. All you need is the right mindset.