Ever think to yourself, “They’ve got all the luck”? It’s just their luck that an equally skilled or talented person gets that dream job you always wanted. Or those who find the love of their life are often chalked up to being “lucky in love.” Well, it turns out that luck may be more scientific than superstition. In a ten-year study by Richard Wiseman, experiments showed the nature of luck, and the study revealed that, to a large extent, people make their own good and bad fortune. The results also showed that it is possible to cultivate the amount of luck that people may encounter.
“Lucky people are often convinced that these opportunities are the result of pure chance…But …these seemingly chance opportunities are the result of lucky people’s psychological makeup. . . . Luck is believing you’re lucky.”
This is not to be confused with luck at the gambling table or the slot machines. That is a matter of odds and mathematical statistics. And even in those scenarios, professional gamblers master the ability to calculate those odds and play games of chance with great skill, not superstition.
Wiseman started out as a stage magician. He realized that the art of magic relies more on psychology than trickery. The true secret behind magic lies in clever psychological techniques that exploit limitations in the way our brains work. Visual illusions occur when there is a mismatch between our perceptual experience and the true state of reality. So, unless we are paying close attention to something, we simply won’t see it.
In one experiment Wiseman gave people who described themselves as lucky or unlucky a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained a message the size of a half page, in bold type, saying, “Stop counting — There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” It was staring everyone straight in the face, yet the unlucky people missed it, and the lucky people tended to spot it. He then placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper. That one said: “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this, and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy…