Monday, February 19, 2007

Do You Have the Luck of the Irish?

Are you "lucky"? Well, that may just depend on your state of mind – at least according to a British psychologist, Professor Richard Wiseman. I was reading about a study he had done of 400 people from all walks of life, half of whom considered themselves "lucky" and the other half classified themselves as "unlucky." It seems that those people who considered themselves lucky had certain differences in how they thought and acted from the "unlucky" group.

The lucky people were relaxed, open to new things and new people, and were quick to spot opportunities. Unlucky people tended to be more tense, stuck in routines and afraid of anything new, and unwilling to take a risk. Lucky people trusted their gut instincts and had a positive attitude – they expected good fortune or a good outcome. And, as you can guess, the unlucky ones always expected the worst.

When something unfortunate happened to the lucky ones, they were able to deal with it in a positive way. They did this by imagining that things could have been worse, and didn't dwell on their misfortune, but took control of the situation. The unlucky ones of course brooded on their misfortune, and it only confirmed to them how "unlucky" they were.

"There are only two types of person who cannot become lucky," Wiseman suggests. "There's the person who is happy to be unlucky, for whom misfortune is a central part of their identity. And there's the person who's not prepared to put the work in; there's a lot of effort involved in applying the principles."

So that old saying about "you make your own luck" could turn out to be true. Here are a few tips you might want to try, to increase your own "luck."

  • Write down six new things to try out (anything from a new food, or a visit to a new place, or a new hobby) that you can accomplish in a month.
  • Be more open to talking to people you don't know.
  • Start your own "network." The more people you know, the more ideas and opportunities you have access to.
  • When you get up in the morning, assume that the day will be a good one and everything you do will turn out for the best.
  • Keep a "luck" journal. At the end of each day, take a few moments to write down only the positive and lucky things that happened.

After a month, you can't help but recognize all the good things that are happening.

Good luck!

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