Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nick - Feeling Lucky?

There's a really excellent study (PDF is here) about what makes a person lucky or unlucky. The ten year study involved 400 people who considered themselves exceptionally lucky or unlucky. Here's a quick summary of what it found:
  • Self-described "lucky" people had fortunate chance encounters.
  • Lucky people were more observant in experimental trials.
  • Unlucky people are generally more anxious than lucky people.
  • Self-described lucky people continue being lucky; unlucky people continue being unlucky.
  • A "luck school" by the experimenter was successful in teach people how to be luckier.
Ultimately, the study made some interesting conclusions. One important one that presents itself is that we have a flawed perception of luck. While we think of luck as simply being left completely to chance, it is actually determined by a person's state of mind or mannerisms.

The second important conclusion to the study is that it identified the four principles that allow a person to generate good fortune. These are, essentially, the character traits that distinguish a lucky person from an unlucky person.
  1. Skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities
  2. Make lucky decisions by following their intuition
  3. Create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations
  4. Adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good
When you put these traits together, basically what you get is the impression that go-with-the-flow type of people are luckier. Which, looking back, has always seemed true in my experience. Basically, being too anxious or inflexible results in missing opportunities in life.

The moral of these four traits can be summed up like this: Keep a positive outlook, because your own perception of events is what really matters. Be flexible, and don't let opportunity pass you by.

Don't be afraid to take chances.


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