Why is it that some people appear to attract life’s good fortune while others encounter more than their fair share of bad luck? Is there something lucky people have or do which makes them so? If so, can those who consider themselves unlucky learn from their lucky counterparts? Are lucky people born or made?
The good news is that you can create your own luck. Research by Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman shares how, in his book ‘The Luck Factor.’ The author undertook extensive research and discovered that personality shapes how lucky we are. Wiseman’s suggests that there are 5 Dimensions of Personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (or OCEAN). We all fall somewhere between the extremes on each of the Dimensions. Here is a link to a free Personality Dimensions questionnaire.
The author discovered that 3 of the 5 Dimensions, Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness did have an impact.
Those who are more outgoing will have a wider social group they engage with, increasing their chances of opportunities. Those who score low on Neuroticism are more relaxed. When relaxed, you’re more likely to be aware of your surroundings and to spot opportunities. A high score on Openness means you’ll be readier to seize opportunities and try different experiences. This combination of being well-connected, relaxed and curious creates the optimal conditions for being lucky.
With increased awareness of what it takes to be luckier, it’s possible to reverse the tendency to attract bad luck.
When lucky people did suffer misfortune, they were swifter, when compared to unlucky people, to reframe what had happened to them. For instance “thank goodness I only suffered minor whiplash in that car accident. It could have been so much worse!” So- what’s the recipe for those of you who aren’t natural extroverts, and whose idea of hell is small talk at parties and ‘networking?’ What if you are uncomfortable trying new experiences, don’t like surprises, and who the thought of a weekend away in the tranquillity of a spa break brings you out in a cold sweat?
- Extend your network. You don’t have to be an extrovert to extend your network. Use platforms such as LinkedIn. Invest effort in getting to know some people well and developing meaningful relationships. Ask for introductions to new people you’d like to connect with through existing contacts if that’s more comfortable.
- Relax. If your score was high on Neuroticism, make time to relax, meditate or breathe deeply. Done regularly, this will help centre you and make you more aware of what’s going on around you, increasing the likelihood you’ll spot opportunities. Visualise success and make daily positive affirmations. These will help to raise your expectations of becoming luckier
- Alter your routine. If you ordinarily prefer predictability, throw the dice for a change. Have six options, one for each number, all of which are new experiences. Commit to follow through on the activity the dice lands on. Alter your routine from time to time.
‘Luck is where opportunity meets preparation‘ Seneca.