Tuesday, March 01, 2016

5061 How to be Lucky

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Scars tell better stories than tattoos.


On a scale of lucky to unlucky, where would you say you fall?   Do you know people who seem to have lots of luck?  Do you know people who seem to have the worst luck in the world?  How would you describe the personal attributes or characteristics of lucky people?  Of unlucky people?

First, how do I define lucky and unlucky?  Very lucky people seem to get all the breaks.  Good things seem to just fall into their laps.  They find themselves always in the right place at the right time.  Things usually go right for them, and when things go wrong, they're not usually terribly wrong, they are recoverable.  Very unlucky people seem to fall into every hole in the road.  Good things zoom right past them.  Every time goodies are being handed out, they are somewhere else, wondering what the heck happened.

I've known many people, socially and at work, who seem to fall at both extremes.  You look at them, and wonder why.  Why do some people seem to get all the luck, and others who seem just as deserving, get no breaks?

The lucky people seem to be happier and more relaxed, enjoying life more.  Of course they are!  Unlucky people seem to be more tense and unhappy, and despairing of things ever getting better.  Of course they are - they're still cleaning up the last mess and wondering what's next - they're waiting for a piano to fall on them!

But which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Are lucky people happy and relaxed because they are lucky, or lucky because they are happy and relaxed?  Can you make luck?  Is it possible to drive luck away?

Can you learn to be luckier?

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, decided to find out.  His article is at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/3304496/Be-lucky-its-an-easy-skill-to-learn.html. It's not terribly long, and quite fascinating, although I hope this is just a brief summary, and there was a lot more involved.  Anyway, his conclusion is yes, being open to lucky happenstance can be learned.

One odd thing I took away from the article is that hyper-focus on a task at hand is not beneficial.   He has one example, but I can see where it would apply to almost everything.

Another thought - did the unlucky people really become luckier, or did they just learn to see the good stuff more clearly, and be more relaxed about the bad stuff, so they felt luckier?  

Thoughts?  Are you lucky?  Unlucky?  How so?