Lucky Duck

Ben Sherwood devotes an entire chapter of his remarkable book The Survivor Club to the science of luck. In an interview with psychologist Richard Wiseman, Sherwood differentiates four characteristics that set “lucky” folk apart from “unlucky” ones. The answer has less to do with supernatural forces or superstitious objects than it does perception. “Lucky” folk seem to have a broader awareness than their “unlucky” counterparts. Wiseman’s replication of a Harvard study on inattentional blindness further illuminates this point, his four reasons for “lucky” folk appear below the clip.

First, “lucky” people are often in the “right place” at the “right time” because they have the “right frame of mind.” Stumbling into chance opportunities is more often the result of being open to possibility. You can increase your luck simply by chilling out. Calm, emotionally stable, relaxed people are more aware of what is happening around them (& opportunities that present themselves) than anxious, overwhelmed, high-stress people.

Second, “lucky” people go with their gut, while according to Wiseman, “unlucky people often ignore their intuition and regret their decision.” This rapid cognition is the same thing Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book Blink. While avoiding terms like intuition or gut instinct, Gladwell talks about the conclusions that the mind comes to in the first two seconds of encountering new information. You can increase your luck by paying closer attention to your initial reactions.

Third, “lucky” people persist in spite of failure. Sherwood writes that “lucky” people are “convinced that life’s most unpredictable events will ‘consistently work out for them,’ while, “unlucky people expect that things will always go wrong.” This ‘doom & gloom’ outlook becomes self-fulfilling. You can increase your luck by paying attention to your internal script. If you are in the ‘doom & gloom’ camp redirect your negative self-talk with positive affirmations, it can change more than just your outlook.

Fourth, lucky people have an uncanny ability to turn lemons into lemonade or as Sherwood puts it, “a special ability to turn bad luck into good fortune.” In times of misfortune, “lucky” people tap into their inner most resources to turn a potential disaster into a ‘lucky’ development. You can increase your luck by looking for opportunity in crisis.

Read more on how to make your own luck.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Smile, it’s free « Digital Taoist
  2. Trackback: When Good Goals Go Bad « Digital Taoist

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