Richard Wiseman, a British psychologist, has studied why some people are lucky and others are not. He found four main traits that lucky people have that help them to be “lucky”
They create, notice, and act upon chance opportunities that come up.
They make good decisions using a combination of intuition and logic.
They have positive thoughts about the future.
They don’t let “bad” luck get them down – they find a way to turn it into good fortune.
Take the idea of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people don't.
Wiseman created a simple experiment to learn more. He gathered a group of people and gave each of them a newspaper, requesting they look through it and report how many photographs were inside.
He had secretly placed a large message in the newspaper saying: "Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250" – a very nice prize of about $400 in U.S. currency.
The unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.
It seems that unlucky people are generally more anxious than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else.
They are the kind of people who 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 miss other types of jobs.
Wiseman asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. They were expected to spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck.
One month later, the volunteers described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80 percent of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.
Perhaps this is the year that you’ll be open to new experiences, rather than stuck in rigid thoughts and a strict routine. When anxious people notice something new – if they notice it at all – they want no part of it. Lucky people are comfortable enough to check out new opportunities and are willing to take risks.
Here's an opportunity: you may download Wiseman's e-book on The Luck Factor .
I am beginning a luck diary for 2010—how about you?