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Why Some People are Luckier than Others

Some people seem to be luckier than others.  Why is this the case?

Researchers did the following experiment to find out.  They gave volunteers newspapers to read.

Unknown to them, the newspapers had a coupon inside with the phrase:  “Get $50 For Free!” in bold black letters.  The coupons were fairly noticeable but not overly obvious.

Those who had said they were lucky tended to find this coupon.

Those who said, no, they’re not so lucky, tended to not.

The two groups both had the exact same situation and opportunity.  But those who thought of themselves as lucky tended to notice it more and get $50 for free.

Luck is something that happens when you have the mind frame for it, when you work in that direction.  A lot of luck happens because you are in the situation where it can occur.

So to get lucky, you have to put yourself in situations where it is likely to happen – then act on the opportunity when it arises.

Take Jerry Weintraub, who represented stars like Elvis Presley.  He was just starting and struggling to make it in Hollywood.  At one point, he stopped at a local restaurant that was a known hotspot for important people ‘in the biz.’ There, he overheard two executives talking about a job opportunity that fit him.

He then called there, demanded the job and got it.

Lucky.

A famous saying goes, “The harder I work, the luckier I get,” and it is very true.

To get lucky, have the mindset that you are lucky.  Switch yourself from the group that misses the coupon to the one that does.  Start thinking that you will come across fortunate twists and turns in life, and you will.

Now, the idea that just thinking something will make it come true is highly unrealistic, from my experience.  This is in general.  But when you have the mindset that you’ll notice things that can develop in your favor, it tends to result in that happening.

That said, in the end, most of us are quite lucky.  We live in a society which is wealthier than ever, where the average person lives in more comfort and longer than the mightiest ruler of 2,000 years ago.

7 ways to get luckier

1) Keep an open mind

Opportunities unfold when you have an open mind.  If you were given a newspaper to read in the study and had a closed mind (“I’m just reading this for the study”), you could easily miss the coupon.  By having a flexible, open mind, good things can happen unexpectedly.

2) Stay in touch with people

By staying in touch with people, you keep yourself open to new possibilities.  In talking with a friend, you may find that they are doing something which can somehow help you.

3) Look for opportunities

Have an active mindset that you are looking for opportunities.  Perhaps think things like, “I feel like I’m going to get lucky.”  Having this active mindset frames things in a positive way that naturally leads to better luck.

4) Put yourself in new situations

New experiences expose you to new possibilities.

5) Assume things are good

A lot of times, there is ambiguity to how things can be interpreted.  And often, the internal choice you make in interpreting things can influence how they develop.  If you make the choice to assume things are good, often they will end that way.

A positive attitude can create good luck.

6) Think, “This too is for the good”

A story goes of a quite happy person who always said, “This too is for the good.”  Sometimes something happens, like it rains and an event is canceled.  If you frame events as “this too is for the good,” then you are more likely to get lucky one way or another.

After the rain, you might, say, go to the grocery store and run into a friend who helps you get a job.

7) Think long term

Sometimes bad luck in the short term turns out to be good luck.   Once, I needed to rent an apartment as I couldn’t get a dorm.  I took the train out to campus to see three apartments, pick one, and sign a deal.

Two stood me up, and the one I saw was terrible.  But since I was in town, I decided to go beg the housing office for a dorm.  I got there, and they told me that they had just decided to give me a room.

Had I signed a deal, I would have lost the lease.

Many times what seems to be bad luck now turns out to be good luck in the future.



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This post was written by on Thursday, February 3, 2011. This author has written 223 posts on this blog and has 4851841 total posts views.


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2 comments

  1. This is an AWESOME post and it’s so freaking true. Often, when I find myself faced with something AGGRAVATING that doesn’t seem to be what I want, I tell myself that it might be “a gift in a crap package”. There’s a lot of gifts out there in crap packages :)

  2. Thanks, Katy!  Yes, we have to keep our eyes open for good possibilities.  Sometimes something that seems bad turns out to be good (and vice versa of course, but with a positive mindset you tend to get ‘lucky’)

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