Luck is considered by many to be a force of nature, coming and going as inevitably as the tide.
A study has found that "lucky" individuals usually posses many intersecting qualities, including extroverted personalities, a lack of anxiety, open-mindedness, and optimism. Each of these plays an important role in one's luck production.
The essence of luck is opportunity, so it follows that the more opportunities one encounters and the more receptive one is to those opportunities, the "luckier" one is. It was found that lucky people smile twice as often as others, and engage in more eye contact than unlucky people do. Such outgoing, extroverted behavior exposes a person to more opportunities due to the increased social interaction. Similarly, open-mindedness allows one to encounter a greater number of unique prospects, and makes one more apt to embrace new opportunities.
Some birthdays are better bets than others. Scientists don't tend to buy into astrology, yet they've established that certain conditions such as schizophrenia, and even personality traits such as novelty seeking, are linked to birth months. It's not the planets at work per se, but rather subtle influences on fetal brain development due to factors including sleep and wake cycles and the prevalence of viruses that differ from season to season.
Across genders and ages, people born between March and August believe themselves to be luckier, on average, than those born in the colder months of September through February. (Relatedly, summer babies grow up to be more open-minded and less neurotic than winter tots.) May is the luckiest month of all.
The best opportunities arise when you approach life with a flexible mind-set. See how you can get out of the unlucky column:
If you think this way about: Romantic Relationships
"Here's my checklist. He has to be smart, attractive, and financially secure, subscribe to The New York Times, love to cook, and love dogs."
Try this approach instead: "I don't really have a type. I'm open to anyone as long as he's a good person. I'll know it when I see it."
If you think this way about: Work
"I need to finish this project by 11, team meeting at 12, and lunch at 1, finish that report this afternoon, and I'm home free by 6."
Try this approach instead: "I want to try to accomplish two major things today, but in my downtime, I'm going to explore a few other ideas that could help the company or my career."
If you think this way about: Friendships
"I already have a handful of really wonderful friends. I don't need or have time for anymore."
Try this approach instead: "I love to make new friends, even if it never goes farther than a conversation and being friends on Facebook."
If you think this way about: Errands
"I need to hit the dry cleaner, the bank, and the grocery store. I should be home in time for the game."
Try this approach instead: "I have to get these things done, but I'm not going to rush because I don't really know what to expect or whom I'll meet. It will be interesting to see how it works out."
If you think this way about: Business Meetings
"I'm meeting up with this person to do a deal, not thinking of them as a friend or a potential partner."
Try this approach instead: "I'll accept a meeting with anyone, anytime, because you never know where it might lead-even if its five years down the road."
Lucky and Unlucky people- A comparison
Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. I think this helps them because gut feelings act as an alarm bell - a reason to consider a decision carefully.
Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one person described how he thought of a color before arriving at a party and then introduced himself to people wearing that color. This kind of behavior boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety.
Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. In one interview, a lucky volunteer arrived with his leg in a plaster cast and described how he had fallen down a flight of stairs. I asked him whether he still felt lucky and he cheerfully explained that he felt luckier than before. As he pointed out, he could have broken his neck.
Four principles to help one increase their good fortune:
Principle One: Maximize Chance Opportunities Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.
Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.
Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.
Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on the ill fortune, and take control of the situation.
Unsurprisingly, optimism plays a key role in luckiness, since it strongly affects luck production and luck perception. A study shows that a lucky, optimistic person is far more satisfied with all areas of their lives than an unlucky, pessimistic person. An optimist feels lucky for spotting a silver lining, however gray the cloud... yet a pessimist will curse their luck even in the face of good fortune, because they can't see past the green grass on the other side of the fence.
Fortunately, one's mindset is entirely within one's control. An unlucky person who resolves to change their luck can become more social; they can make a conscious effort to be optimistic and make the best of any situation; and they can be more open to new ideas and experiences.