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Is it possible to create good luck?

By Phil Verghis on February 11, 2009

From the January 2009 newsletter – The Verghis View. Sign up from my home page.)

It has been a particularly harsh winter in the northeastern United States. Add the barrage of bleak economic news, and a lot of people are feeling blue. During times like these it’s easy to spot the eternal optimists. You know the type: the ones who think the glass is more than half full. (Confession: guilty as charged.)

Being optimistic is a pretty good trait to have, it turns out. In fact, it is one of the four principles of people who are lucky. Yes, you read that right. There are traits you can adopt to improve your luck.

In a 2003 book called The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles (Miramax), Professor Richard Wiseman scientifically explored psychological differences between people who considered themselves exceptionally lucky and unlucky. Wiseman states that people are not born lucky. Instead, lucky people use four basic principles (often without realizing it) to create good fortune in their lives.

  • Principle One: Maximize Chance Opportunities
    Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude toward life and by being open to new experiences.
  • Principle Two: Listening to Hunches
    Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. They also take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.
  • Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune
    Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.
  • Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
    Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

Scientific Luck
A number of great scientific discoveries came about by accident (or luck). A relatively recent well-known example is the ‘failed glue’ that led to the creation of Post-It notes.


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