Friday 27 March 2015


In a popular and influential study that changed the way many people think about luck, Richard Wiseman gave several subjects a newspaper and told them to count all the pictures. The people who considered themselves unlucky in pre-study interviews averaged several minutes to comb through the paper, counting every picture. The people who considered themselves lucky only took seconds. How? On the second page of the paper, Wiseman had written, in font two inches tall, "Stop counting. There are 43 pictures."[1] Feeling lucky means learning to being open to finding opportunities for luck.

Method 1 of 3: Finding Luck

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Decide what you want and ask for it. Learn to identify and amplify your desires, and you'll give yourself a better chance of attaining your goals and getting what you want. If you feel unlucky and rootless, without foundation, it's probably because you haven't identified what it is you want to be doing, what you want out of life, and what you can do to attain it. The first step in getting somewhere is deciding where you want to go.
  • For some people, it might be smarter to start with a five-year plan, while others might need to start smaller. What do you want today? What do you want to get out of Wednesday? Make this a daily exercise.
  • Focus on things that will improve your lot in life on a deep emotional level, not a superficial one. Saying, "I want to win the lottery" won't help you win the lottery because it's not addressing your real want. Learn to say instead, "I want financial security and to feel important." Big difference.
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    Say yes instead of saying no. Often, feelings that we're unlucky or unfortunate are the result of giving yourself no chance to be successful. Going into a situation expecting to fail is the best way to ensure failure, just like grandma used to say. Instead of wasting time coming up with reasons to avoid tough situations or challenging scenarios, come up with reasons to act, to confront, and to succeed. Say yes instead of no.
    • Remember the last time your friend called with Friday night plans and you bailed? When you're home and relaxing, it's easy to come up with reasons to stay in. There's Netflix that needs to be watched! Couches that need to be broken in! Next time, try and make yourself go out and expect to have a life-changing experience. You'll be right.
    • The unlucky are well-practiced at getting in their own way. Putting yourself out there and giving yourself the chance to succeed requires that you also have the chance to fail. Choosing inaction over action is a way of keeping yourself safe from failure, but it takes away the possibility of succeeding as well.
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    See challenges as opportunities to succeed. You've just been offered an exciting but intimidating new responsibility at work? Take it with enthusiasm. You've been asked to speak in front of a crowd of people? Write a great speech. You've been tasked with picking up a famous artist from the airport? Chat 'em up. Treat intimidating moments as chances to make your own luck, not as hopeless obstacles.[2]
    • It may seem corny, but try talking yourself up. Make a psych-up playlist to play before you show up for work every day, or have to do something that scares you. "Up Above My Head" by Sister Rosetta never made anyone feel unlucky.
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    Take advantage of good fortune. Unlucky people chalk up good fortune to accident, using good luck as a chance to self-deprecate, or to make excuses. Lucky people take good fortunate and turn it into more good fortune. In the newspaper experiment Wiseman conducted, the only difference between the lucky and the unlucky was that the lucky people kept an eye out for advantage, fortune, and luck, and the unlucky–given the exact same advantage–missed it.
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    Take control of situations. Francis Ford Coppola, award-winning filmmaker of Apocalypse Now and The Godfather is famous for his unusual ways of making movies, which isn't really very strange at all. When he wants to make a movie, he just starts making a movie. No script, actors, or studio support? Doesn't matter. He's got an idea and doesn't let anyone get in his way. Respect yourself enough to give your wants and your desires precedence over other concerns.
    • Don't say "I wonder if I'll be allowed to do this," but say "Who's going to stop me?" Giving yourself the responsibility to succeed gives you the ability to succeed. Give yourself the position of control, not other people who are supposedly keeping you from getting what you want.
    • Don't wait around for permission to do things. Take what you want. At work, don't write up a project proposal for approval, just do your project and show off the results. Don't wait to get an outline of your book put together so you can get an advance from a publisher and write it, just start writing it.
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    Stop thinking and start feeling. Lucky people have learned to respect their intuitions, hunches, and gut instincts. If you've got a tendency to overanalyze situations and find reasons to feel slighted, offended, or unlucky, learn to listen to your gut instead.
    • Try this experiment: Next time you've got to make an important decision, let yourself make it instantaneously. Go with your fastest gut reaction and don't give yourself the chance to rethink it. It just occurred to you that you're not in love with your partner? Break up. Now. You just got the urge to quit your job and volunteer on an organic grape vineyard for a couple months? Put in your papers. Make it happen.
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    Work hard. Coppola still had to make those movies he blundered into. That meant hundreds of hours of dull slogging through the jungle in Vietnam, and early mornings dealing with Marlon Brando's weirdness, and hundreds of reels of film to edit. But he threw himself into it. Sow the seeds of luck with labor. Work hard.
    • Hard workers open up opportunities and advantages because their results are that much better than everyone else's. If you're working twice as hard at work, your work will be twice as good, and you'll feel twice as lucky for having done it.
    • Try and focus on doing one thing at a time and doing it extremely well. On Monday, don't worry about everything you've got to do for the rest of the week. Try not to even think about what you've got to do in the afternoon. Just think about this moment, right now, and finishing what you've started.

Method 2 of 3: Staying Positive

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    Expect luck. The reason luck happens to the lucky is that lucky people go into a situation expecting success and expecting a lucky outcome. It's just like grandma always used to say: If you think it's going to be boring, it will be. If you go into work expecting a rough day, chances are it's going to be a rough day. If you go into an experience expecting that you're going to have an opportunity for success, you're going to make it happen.
    • Expecting a lucky outcome will make you more aware of advantages and opportunities. Like the lucky people looking through the paper, you'll be more aware and on the lookout for that little thing that's going to get you ahead of the game, rather than giving up prematurely, because you feel unlucky.
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    List your accomplishments, daily. At the end of each day, reflect back on what you've accomplished. Each thing ticked off your to-do list, each goal finished for the day should be celebrated with a mental note and a reward. Don't think about things you wish you would have done, or the things you'd liked to have made time for. Think about what you actually did. Focus hard on your accomplishments and celebrate them.
    • List big accomplishments and small ones. Cleaning up the kitchen without a fuss? That's an accomplishment. Getting out of bed and riding the bus to work? Huge deal. Feel lucky about it.
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    Celebrate little wins and big wins alike. Take a little time out of each day to celebrate the things you've accomplished. It doesn't have to be a blowout party with champagne and cake, but some quiet reflection over new accomplishments and old successes is very important to help you feel lucky.
    • Learning to look back over each day to examine your accomplishments will also help you to move forward and set yourself up for more accomplishments. Get addicted to that pleased feeling of having done something productive today.
    • Make sure your celebrations aren't counterproductive. Celebrating a hard day at the office with a long night at the bar won't make tomorrow very easy on you.
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    Stop comparing yourself to others. You don't have any responsibility to accomplish the same things as the other people you graduated with, the other people you work with, you siblings, your friends, your partner, or your parents. The only person you've got to please with your accomplishment is yourself. Stop comparing your achievements to others and start counting yourself lucky to do what you do.[3]
    • For a lot of people, social networking humble-brags can be a real downer. If you're sick of your old roommate's constant vacation photos and brags about promotions, block the updates, or–better yet–consider unplugging from Facebook altogether.
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    Try to be more outgoing. Learning to put yourself out there can help you make connections and feel fortuitous and fortunate. Expect that every interaction you have with a stranger, even five minutes on the subway, could be life-changing and critical. Maybe the bored guy chatting with you at the post-office might be a like-minded musician you could start a band with. Maybe the cute barista is "the one." Don't let opportunities pass you by.
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    Be more flexible. Having plans is a good way to feel unlucky and disappointed. No one will feel lucky all the time, or experience good fortune every day, but learning to roll with the punches and be at least a little flexible will help you to get the best out of those situations that don't go the way you want.
    • Try and stay focused on the bigger picture. If your peaceful Sunday at home, a day you wanted to devote to cleaning, or spending with your partner, has been interrupted by your friend needed a ride to the airport, don't overreact. Celebrate the chance you'll get to hang out with your friend before a trip. Go into with positive energy.

Method 3 of 3: Using Good Luck Charms

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    Supplement your hard work with lucky charms. While it may seem superstitious to some, it's true that adorning yourself with lucky totems or keeping an eye out for lucky signs can help lots of people feel more lucky. You shouldn't stake all your good feelings on arbitrary symbols and signs, but it's perfectly healthy to feel fortunate on any day you're landed on by a ladybug, or any day that starts with a positive omen.
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    Look for lucky insects and animals. Across cultures, insects and other animals are often thought of as being either unlucky, or lucky, depending on the situation. If you're out among the wildlife, keep an eye out for the following lucky insects or animals:
    • Crickets. Crickets are though to bring good luck from Europe to Asia, as well as the Native American tribes who thought of crickets as bringers of fortune. In some cultures, imitating the sound of a cricket is seen as unlucky.
    • Ladybugs. Some people think that a ladybug that lands on a recently-wedded woman will reveal the number of children she will have in its spots, or the number of dollars soon to be found. Also, ladybugs are thought to bring signs of good weather. Never kill a ladybug if it lands on you.
    • Dragonflies, scarabs, rabbits, eagles, tortoises, dolphins, frogs, bats and many other animals are also commonly thought of as being lucky. If you've got a favorite animal, carry a picture or a totem of that animal with you for luck.[4]
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    Keep lucky plants. Aromatic and lovely, keeping plants in your house can be a wonderful way of livening up your space, as well as a symbol of wealth and prosperity in many cultures. Different plants are thought to have a variety of luck-bringing properties. Some common lucky house plants include:
    • Honeysuckle, lavender, and jasmine are some of the most aromatic plants you can grow, instantly bringing soothing scents into your space. Some people think that the presence of these plants can help to influence your dreams, easing you off to sleep and helping to ease you into a new day of luck and fortune.
    • Bamboo is one of the luckiest plants, thought to bring wealth, creativity, and health to the planters. Bamboo forests are considered mystical and sacred places in many cultures.
    • Basil, rosemary, and sage are all thought to be protective herbs to grow in your home, or around your home. Tenacious plants in many climates, these aromatic herbs are useful in cooking and were even commonly used in exorcisms.[5]
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    Wear lucky charms. You don't have to go out looking for lucky charms–bring them with you! Having a lucky necklace, rabbit's foot charm, or other little trinket in your pocket can give you feelings of fortune that will help translate into positive actions and luck-making behaviors.
    • Carrying acorns, buckeyes, or stones in your pocket is a common practice among farmers. Guitar players will sometimes have lucky picks and athletes will have lucky t-shirts.
    • Whether or not a particular object is actually powerfully lucky doesn't really matter. What matters is that it helps you to feel lucky, which can influence your behavior.
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    Make your space lucky. While it may sound silly, organizing your house according to the principles of design will help to channel your positivity and your lucky energy into good behaviors. If you feel good by creating a lucky and healthful space for yourself, you'll behave in ways that suit your best interests.
    • Unclutter the entryway to your house. The entrance to your house to emphasize flowing energy and positivity. Keeping unwieldy stacks of mail, keys, and shoes near the entrance won't help you feel lucky when you're heading off into the world or when you're coming up. Clean up around the front door.
    • Some people think the color of your doors can help make your home lucky. According to the principles of feng shui, south-facing doors should be red or orange, while north-facing doors should be blue or black.
    • Arrange furniture to create circular spaces. Boxy organization can interrupt positive energy and luck in your home. Instead, look to create curved arrangements for your furniture, to create a more fluid living space.


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