Feeling Lucky?

Feeling Lucky?

Have you ever looked at some people who just seem to have it all and asked yourself, ‘what makes them special? Do they have more angels on their side? How come they are so lucky?’

In 2004 an English Professor, Richard Wiseman, published a book The Luck Factor, which drew on the results of several years’ research examining the behaviour, attitudes, and experiences of hundreds of ‘lucky’ and unlucky people.

His research identified that luck was not a birthright, nor did it somehow just happen to those who were classified lucky, but rather their luck hinged on essentially four principles.

So, what are these four principles of luck?

In summary they are:
o Principle 1 – ‘Lucky people create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities of life. (They are aware).
o Principle 2 – Lucky people listen to lucky hunches, which is to say they listen to their intuition.
o Principle 3 – Lucky people expect good fortune (You might call this visualisation.)
o Principle 4 – Lucky people seek to turn ‘bad luck’ into ‘good luck’.

Through large experiments he also determined that luck was not a matter of psychic ability (did that person somehow ‘know’ the winning lottery numbers?), nor was it a matter of intelligence, of conscientiousness or hard work.

Rather, it was attitude that led people to be open to possibility.

It is important here to stop for a moment and reflect on what it means ‘to be open’.

Does this mean that we just lie on the grass and wait for a possibility to happen? Or do our lives, thinking, language and conversations all reflect the activity of being open?

Think of it in terms of being open to a new relationship. The way we approach, speak, and respond to members of the opposite sex will reflect an activity of being open, if only at a subconscious level.

If we look at Professor Wiseman’s lucky people, we find that they lived out the expectations of their hearts. In the first principle listed above, consider all the activity words: ‘create’, ‘notice’ and ‘act upon’.

These people are consciously living life; hence, again, the importance of observation and of awareness.

‘If you seek, you will find’, as the bible puts it. If you visualise your ‘dream’ then, as you begin to attract to yourself the makings of it, you will at some level notice those ‘makings’ and act on them.

So, for instance, being open meant that these lucky people tended to network and socialise. They listened to their intuition; they were also open to the universe rather than tending to notice only those things that were important to them at the moment, whilst ignoring whatever else was in their surroundings, not least the opportunities.

Lucky people were found to be more relaxed; they would tend to listen to people rather than seek to dominate a conversation. (How many people even know how to listen?) They then became aware of what there was to be seen in their world, rather than what they thought ought to be seen.

In other words, they were not confined by the lens of their paradigms.

What tends to happen in many conversations, not just with strangers, and acquaintances, but also friends, is that we are so keen to tell them what we have to say that we only half listen, if at all, to the other person’s dialogue.
We have this desperate need to be noticed and heard rather than to notice and to hear.

• We can miss the cues that could tell us of new possibilities, of new directions
• We can miss the cues that might open our paradigms up and introduce us to whole new worlds; and
• Maybe we also miss the cues because we, consciously or unconsciously, close off because of the other person’s voice, clothes, or background and so miss those angelic messengers who would speak into our future through the medium of that person.

Stop here for a minute and ask yourself, ‘‘do I over-talk other people? Do I really listen? Do I select my conversational partners because of how they look, or sound, or their occupation or lack of it?’’

Do we focus on the visible bards that mark the boundary of our momentary existence?

As we have noted throughout, being relaxed in ourselves is a part of this whole approach to life, this openness. Too often we engage in a social or work situation with an end game in mind.

We focus on meeting the right people, saying the right thing, having a good time; or just plain focused on finding a partner, making an impression, clinching a deal, or reaching a destination etc.

In so doing we focus on the bars that mark the boundary of our momentary existence and are blind to the stars that beckon us beyond, to the life changing opportunities that are on offer.

In a related fashion, Professor Wiseman notes that ‘lucky people are open to new experiences in their lives’. This is demanding.

First and foremost, this challenges the self-imposed limits of our own world. It places an imperative on us to step outside what we know or had planned. It challenges our comfort zone – sometimes seriously so.

Secondly, lucky people expect the new experience to be positive. They have an outlook that expects the best rather than believing in failure and disappointment as a normalcy.

How do we move to become a person with a sunny and open outlook on life; one who is prepared to grasp new experiences with high expectation?

The answer is to start small.

For instance, do you travel the same route to work every day, or follow a set routine? Do you live habitually? Just for once why don’t you change it, mess with your mind, and live dangerously! Do you find yourself always mixing with or talking to the same people? Break out and force yourself to also begin mixing with new groups. You don’t have to discard the old friends. Join a salsa dance class, as one friend of mine did; or a ‘slow cooking group’, as another did.

Simply speaking: ‘broaden your world’.

Meeting people from other cultures and from different backgrounds were recommended strategies to changing our thinking and so remove our cognitive barriers that shape our paradigms.

My wife and I have had some of the richest moments of our lives when we have connected with people from radically different backgrounds, by joining or being involved with different interest groups.

Another factor is that of intuition – the hunch – the gut-feel, in a given situation.

Intuition is an interesting phenomenon. Literally it is defined as instinctive knowing without the use of rational processes. For some, and I believe that this is true, it is an aspect of the divine, or at least of the spirit life, of a person. As an unseen, unreasoned, process it is also a highly creative process.

Listening to your intuition is the essence of art and creativity and soulful living. Intuition is what you use to find the purpose of your life and your place in the world. In philosophy, intuition is the power of obtaining knowledge that cannot be acquired either by inference or observation, by reason or experience.

As such, intuition is thought of as an original, independent source of knowledge, since it is designed to account for just those kinds of knowledge that other sources do not provide.’’

How do we cultivate intuition?

Lucky people in Professor Wiseman’s study not only listened to their intuition but their intuition was strengthened by practicing stillness exercises such as meditation which relaxed their being allowing them to hear from the small inner voice. (Notice that word ‘relax’ again)

Lucky people also tended to clear their mind, find quiet places, and return to problems later. They allowed space and time to find the road through a situation or to the next staging post in life.

As Elisabeth Kubler Ross once said, there is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.

Relaxation and meditation are an integral part of the journey of the lucky person. It is so important.

I would also encourage you to read The Luck Factor which demonstrates scientifically the reality that luck is essentially a matter of an attitude towards life.

Professor Wiseman’s research clearly revealed not only the opportunistic nature of the lucky individuals who participated, but also how they had lucky events occur that were clearly outside of their control, yet somehow, they were the beneficiaries of the WOW factor. The factor that causes those around them to scratch their heads in bemusement and say ‘wow’ the lucky devils, how come everything goes their way?

I am writing this to say that their experience is yours for the living if you really want it. You too can be ‘lucky’.

Guest Blogger  Dr Brian Gordon, OAM

Access awareness and relaxation meditations here …



Wiseman, R. 2004 The Luck Factor Arrow Books Great Britain
WordNet Retrieved 13 September 2007 from http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=intuition
Angelfire. Retrieved 13 September 2007 from http://www.angelfire.com/hi/TheSeer/intuition.html