Lucky people meet their perfect partners, achieve their lifelong
ambitions, find fulfilling careers, and live happy and meaningful
lives. Their success is not due to them working especially hard, being
amazingly talented or exceptionally intelligent. Instead, they simply
appear to have an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the
right time and enjoy more than their fair share of lucky breaks.
Prof Richard Wiseman's research scientifically explores why some people live such charmed lives, and aims to develop techniques that enable others to enhance their own good fortune. The main findings from the research have been published in his bestselling book The Luck Factor.
This work was originally conceived to scientifically explore psychological differences between people who considered themselves exceptionally lucky and unlucky. This initial research was funded by The Leverhulme Trust and undertaken by Prof Wiseman in collaboration with Dr Matthew Smith and Dr Peter Harris.
Prof Wiseman has since built upon this initial work by identifying the four basic principles used by lucky people to create good fortune in their lives, and developing techniques that enable individuals to enhance their own good luck. This research has involved working with hundreds of exceptionally lucky and unlucky people, and has employed various methods to better understand the psychology of luck.
The results of this work reveal that people are not born lucky. Instead, lucky people are, without realising it, using four basic principles to create good fortune in their lives:
Principle One: Maximise 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 to life and by being open to new experiences.
Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they 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.
A key aspect of Prof Wiseman's work involves developing techniques that help people increase the good fortune they encounter in their life. These techniques help people think and behave like a lucky person. The efficacy of these techniques has been scientifically tested in a series of experiments referred to as ‘luck schools’. These studies involve identifying participants’ ‘luck profiles’ – a measure of the degree to which they incorporate the principles of luck into their lives and then asking them to carry out specially-designed exercises that target areas in need of enhancement.
Luck school has proved highly successful, with almost all participants reporting significant life changes, including increased levels of luck, self-esteem, confidence and success.