What was that famous line from Dirty Harry?
“You’ve got to ask yourself a question: ‘do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”
Turns out that if you do feel lucky, you probably are. This is because luck is mostly a matter of perspective. And, also, a self-fulfilling prophecy: Those who believe they have luck typically attract more good fortune.
Is this the universe talking? Perhaps sometimes. It’s undeniable that some of us are born into better circumstances. But there is also a scientific basis to attracting luck.
Finding a four-leaf clover or carrying a lucky penny around might work for the most superstitious of us. However, all it really takes is for you to believe you have luck.
In an article published by the New Statesman in the U.K., a study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, author of “The Luck Factor,” was cited. His research concluded that people who believe they are lucky tend to attract more good fortune because “they create and notice more opportunities, are more resilient and are more likely to have self-fulfilling positive expectations.”
The article says, “[Wiseman] ran one experiment in which self-described lucky and unlucky people were given a newspaper and told to count the number of photographs they found in it. The ‘lucky’ were much more likely than the ‘unlucky’ people to spot the large text on page two that said, ‘Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.’ They were also much more likely to spot a second message, written in two-inch-high letters that said, ‘Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.’ Wiseman found that unlucky people tended to be more anxious, and their anxiety prevented them from noticing the unexpected.” (The New Statesman, August 15, 2018)
Other studies have shown that realizing you have everything you need is a good way to feel lucky, and those who feel lucky also tend to be more generous toward others. This attitude of paying it forward pays off in big ways. Not only for the recipient, but for the giver. It boosts feelings of self-esteem, can alleviate depression, and stimulates the reward center in your brain, releasing endorphins and creating what scientists call a “giver’s high.”
Allowing yourself to be open to opportunities is another hallmark of lucky people. Luck is not for those who sit around and wait for it. Leaving your comfort zone and taking a chance can lead to failure, of course, but it can also lead to big possibilities. Lucky people are willing to fail–and try again. And again. Practice accepting failure, and eventually you’ll overcome that fear.
The theory of luck is rooted in mindfulness, too. Noticing the good in your life rather than focusing on the bad breeds happiness and contentment. Try sitting down and listing 100 things about your life that make you feel lucky. I guarantee you’ll walk away feeling like you won the Life Lottery.
No four-leaf clover required.
Until we meet…