Can You Make Your Own Luck?

Do you consider yourself lucky or unlucky?  Did you ever notice that many successful people credit their good fortune to luck?  I’ve been interested in luck for a few years and I wanted to share some basic principles that can change your luck for the better and make anyone “lucky”.  This is the first article in the Temphunt Luck Series.

A few years ago, I was bothered that so many successful people gave credit for their success in business to luck.  I couldn’t believe that being successful was a matter of chance so I did some research on the subject and found that luck is more of a science than it is chance.  According to Richard Wiseman, a psychologist who specializes in unusual psychology, there are four main principles that determine a person’s luck.

Lucky people are skilled at noticing and creating chance opportunities

Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense and anxious than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected.  Lucky people are more relaxed, network more and open to new opportunities.

In his research on Luck, Professor Wiseman invited a large group of people who thought of themselves as either “lucky” or “unlucky” to participate in a study.  He gave them each a newspaper and asked them to count all of the pictures in the entire paper.  The unlucky people in the group took a few minutes to count all of the pictures but the lucky people only took a few seconds because on the second page there was a large headline that read “stop counting, there are 43 pictures in this paper”.  When you concentrate so hard on the task at hand, you lose sight of the forest because the trees are in the way.

Make lucky decisions by listening to their gut

In his bestselling book “Blink”, Malcolm Gladwell describes how the decisions that we make in a split second can be just as good as or even better than decisions made after hours of decision-making.  Our “gut” or inner intuition knows more than we do and we should listen to it.  With some practice, your gut will help you get luckier.

Theodore Roosevelt once said:

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Create self fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations

Lucky people expect to get lucky.  In every situation, every conversation and every interaction, they are looking for the lucky opportunities.  Picture two people going to a party, one is looking to meet the girl of his dreams and one if looking to have a good time.  Who do you think will be happier at the end of the night.  While the first person will spend all of his time and energy looking for someone who probably isn’t there, the second person has plenty of opportunities to have fun.  In addition, he may even meet someone who will introduce him to his future spouse, boss, business partner or best friend.

Adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good

A few years ago I was rising in a taxi that got into a bad accident.  I was sitting in the backseat doing some work when all of a sudden, the car slammed into the car in front of it and the car behind us slammed into us.  Everything happened so quickly and I wasn’t sure what was going on but I ended up with bad cuts and bruises all over my face.  Most people would say that I was unlucky for getting into that particular cab but I look at it in a different light.  I feel lucky that I didn’t have any permanent damage and I was able to show up to my friend’s wedding, albeit late and bloody.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Feces Occur”.  You can’t stop things from happening but what you can control is how you view them.  If you always look on the bright side, you will get lucky.

Now that you know the 4 principles of getting lucky, in the next few articles in this series I will write about how temp workers and others looking for work can use these principles to get lucky.  To make sure that you don’t miss any articles, you can sign up for the articles by email in the box at the top of the right sidebar or subscribe to the Temphunt rss feed.

To learn more about luck, you can visit the Get Lucky Blog.

Pic Credit: cygnus921
  • Right now I’m reading the book “The Luck Factor” by Richard Wiseman. I highly recommend it if you’re interested in the science of luck, fascinating stuff!

  • I read it along with a whole bunch of Wiseman’s other work.  Great Stuff.  

  • Ben

    It’s truly fascinating that the word “luck” appears so frequesntly in many persons’ explanation of how they got to where they got. Another common word is “by chance,” a similar concept. These people might need to be encouraged to tease out their contrubution to this “lucky” or “chance” event or opportunity. This was most likely the inspiration for Krumboltz and Gilatt in their respective concepts of “planned happenstance” and “positive uncertainty.” These need to be recognized as a counter narrative to the [mostly fictitious] linear career progression. Thanks for the luck series.

  • There are many names for what we know or call “Luck”.  The latest is “planned serendipity” which is used in the new book “Get Lucky” by Thor Muller and Lane Becker.  What people think of as “luck” is ingrained in our beings and how we perceive it is taught to us as we grow up and go through life.  A person must consciously take a step back, look at the big picture and realize that they can control most of what they call luck, chance, serendipity, opportunity, etc…