In this week's New Age Notebook, I am going to address a subject that often comes up in the chat rooms: LUCK. Why is it that some people seem to be born with horseshoes up the wazoo while others battle an endless string of disasters and setbacks?Is there such thing as being born under a lucky star? Is it karma or a curse? While some are eternal victims of Murphy's Law: "if something can go wrong, it will.", others seem to be able to get away with murder and suffer no consequences at all.
Luckily, I came across a very interesting article in the London Telegraph about this subject by Richard Wiseman, a researcher who has been studying extremely lucky and very unlucky people for the past ten years. His goal was to find out if it was possible for anybody to become "luckier."
Wiseman asked hundreds of people who felt they were either "very lucky" or "very unlucky" to fill out diaries and take part in questionnaires. I. Q. tests and experiments. The findings have revealed that although unlucky people have almost no insight into the causes of their good and bad luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their malfortune.
First he refers to what is called the "chance opportunity" or "lucky break." We all know that lucky people consistently encounter them, while unlucky people do not. Wiseman performed a test in which he asked both fortunate and unfortunate people to search through a newspaper and find out how many photographs were inside.
On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs while the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper!" This message took up half the page and was written in type that was more than five centimetres high. It was staring everyone in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky tended to spot it. For fun, Wiseman apparently placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper: "Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $700£." Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still stuck in the past -- too busy looking for the original 43 photographs.
So it seems that being too obsessed or attached to pursuing one goal, tends to make you somehow blind to opportunity and somehow unlucky. Personality tests also revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people's ability to notice the unexpected. The harder they looked, the less they saw. Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else.
Wiseman opened a "luck school, conducted all kinds of experiments and in the end concluded that lucky people generate good fortune by using the following three techniques:
· USE YOUR INTUITION! Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. Gut feelings act as an alarm bell - to consider a decision carefully.
· VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE! Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. By contrast, lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. Doing the same thing every day, or thinking about the same thing every day creates a rut that prevents you from encountering opportunity.
· ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE! Lucky people tend to see the positive side of ill fortune. If they get a bad break, they cheer themselves up by saying "it could have been worse." When one of Wiseman's extremely lucky subjects broke his leg, he cheerfully explained that it could have been worse - he could have broken his neck.
So, in a nutshell, how do you change your luck? Think outside the box, think positive, don't dwell on the past and if you fall off your horse, get right back on it. According to Wiseman, good or ill fortune is not karma, its not a curse and its definitely not magic. It is self-created.