Do you ever look at other people and wonder how they get so lucky in life? Some people seem to catch all the lucky breaks, whether in their careers, relationships, or in the small everyday occurrences of life.
Some people, on the other hand, just can’t seem to get things to go their way. Whenever anything happens to them, events tend to take a turn for the worse.
So what separates lucky people from everyone else? Is it a matter of doing things differently, or are some people really luckier than others?
What Separates Lucky People From the Rest
Professor Richard Wiseman has been studying how luck plays a role in people’s lives. He has spent much of his time researching how lucky breaks happen, and why they happen to certain people rather than others. To begin, Wiseman examined a group of self-professed “lucky” versus “unlucky” people.
The first interesting point of differentiation is that lucky people are much more extroverted than unlucky people. He found that lucky people are easier to talk to, as they tend to smile more and have stronger eye contact than unlucky people. According to Wiseman, these tendencies increase their lucky chances because they meet more people and connect more easily, which opens up more opportunities.
Another great differentiation is that lucky people tend to be more relaxed in life, while unlucky people are more neurotic. To see how anxiety affects performance, Wiseman asked subjects to watch a moving dot in the center of a computer screen, while dots flashed unexpectedly on the sides of the screen. Nearly all participants noticed the dots on the side.
He then repeated the experiment, but raised the stakes. To increase anxiety levels, he offered a financial reward to subjects who focused on the center dot. As a result, over a third of participants missed seeing the same dots on the edges of the screen.
Overall, anxiety increases our concentration on a task, but it can cause us to miss out on other opportunities. When we relate this information to luck, we can see how people sabotage their goals because they’re too worried about obtaining one thing, at the expense of other opportunities.
Unlucky people might look for one particular job position, but miss out on other equally viable career paths. They might talk to a few familiar people at a gathering and miss out on meeting new people. Or, they’re so focused on getting somewhere that they don’t notice a $20 bill sitting on the sidewalk.
The third major difference between lucky and unlucky people is their openness to experience. Wiseman found that lucky people are more likely to try new things and go to new places. For instance, they’re more likely to travel, talk to other people, and create new opportunities, such as a starting a side business.
Trying out different things makes it more likely that you’ll find opportunities that are a good fit for your personality and strengths. One of the best examples of this comes from physicist Stephen Hawking, who said: “I was lucky to have chosen to work in theoretical physics, because that was one of the few areas in which my condition would not be a serious handicap.”
Unlucky people, on the other hand, are more likely to be complacent in their lives. Even if they feel discontent, they rather stay where they are than venture out and try something different.
Are you feeling content in your life or simply being complacent?
Increase Your Luck With a Few Mindset Changes
If someone opened a course that taught you how to become luckier in life, do you think that the course would improve your life? Would you enroll?
After studying the science of luck and figuring out the differences between lucky and unlucky people, Wiseman created a “luck school,” where participants were put through a series of exercises and lessons that taught them how to increase their luck. They learned how to spot opportunities, become more positive, and increase their decision-making skills.
The end result? Transformational.
After a month, 80 percent of participants reported that they felt happier, more satisfied with where they were in their lives, and luckier than before. The self-professed lucky people increased their luck further, and the formerly unlucky people now felt like they were lucky.
What we can learn from Wiseman’s studies and lessons is that luck isn’t simply about chance. It’s about making decisions that increase the likelihood of those chances occurring and capitalizing on those opportunities.
You too can increase your luck by making a few simple changes.
1. Have an open frame of mind.
Just because you can’t achieve one thing, doesn’t mean that everything is closed off. Focusing relentlessly on attaining one goal can keep you from noticing other opportunities that are just as, if not more valuable. When you are open to new experiences and places, you give yourself a better chance of inviting good fortune into your life.
As I said before, it’s not about being the smartest. Having a good attitude and consistency are more important.
2. Keep a positive attitude.
Lucky people tend to look on the bright side of things. For instance, when a car accident happens, an unlucky person might groan about all the inconveniences that the accident caused, while a lucky person might say, “Fortunately nobody got hurt.”
This mindset also has the benefit of making it easier to try new things. When you stay positive, you’re more eager to do something new because you expect good things to come out of it.
3. Try something outside your comfort zone.
Whenever we do something outside of our routine, there’s a fear that we might end up looking foolish. But lucky people know that it’s normal to feel that way about anything new. Feeling weird is simply part of the process to reaching success.
If you never step outside your routine, you risk closing yourself off to exciting opportunities and adventures. What’s one unusual thing you’ll try this week?