Do you believe that some people are just lucky or that you can create your own luck? I have to admit that for a long time I felt it was the former, in that some people were just luckier than others, but the more that I’ve read around the subject of luck, the more there is pointing to the suggestion that we can create our own luck.

How you can increase your luck

Psychologist, Dr Matthew Smith, is a leading researcher in the field of luck and is currently carrying out a research project called Go Luck Yourself. Dr Smith is looking into whether luck can be created and if so, are there any specific actions that people can take to create their own luck. Early findings from his research suggest that there may be five actions that people can take to increase their luck experiences. Dr Smith is proposing that these five tips can indeed attract good luck:

  1. Embrace luck – there are many uncertainties in life and unplanned or unexpected events that happen to us. These can be major or minor events and the challenge is to acknowledge that these events are down to luck, whether that be good or bad luck, and to embrace what happens
  2. Expect good luck – psychologists talk about the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, whereby a belief that things will work out for the best, with the impact that we will interact with the world differently, thus affecting the things that happen to us. The suggestion is that by expecting good luck, then we are actually more likely to have positive experiences. This may appear at odds with the first tip, however, there are often events that we would put down to luck, which we can actually influence
  3. Be open to opportunity – there are opportunities to us all the time, it’s just that we aren’t always aware of them! By having a relaxed and open attitude to events going on around us, we can enable us to spot these opportunities, which may be a chance for a good luck experience. We should also acknowledge our own role in creating luck. There are things within our control that can create luck, such as coming out of your comfort zone to talk to a person may create a positive opportunity for you
  4. Go with the flow – often people do not like the idea of ‘going with the flow’, however, following the flow of the river can be a great way of bringing luck into our lives. It requires us to ‘trust the process’ and that those unexpected events may actually be an opportunity for an exciting surprise!
  5. Dealing with bad luck – Being realistic, there are always going to be times when bad luck strikes and we need to bounce back from them. There is a simple psychological technique to enable this. We can help to keep things in perspective by remembering that no matter what happens, things could still be worse somehow. This is called counterfactual thinking by psychologists, whereby we compare what actually happened to what might have happened. This can be an impactful way of seeing the good luck in the bad.
Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

Having applied these five tips myself over a period of time, I observed that I did seem to experience more instances of luck and also that I was feeling more optimistic and happier about events in my life. Was this due to great awareness of good luck experiences and that I was focusing more on when good luck came my way more than instances of bad luck? Could it be that, similar to Dr Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions, there may be a Broaden and Build Theory of Luck, whereby the more instances of luck we experience, then exponentially our luck will increase? I can’t answer this question, along with whether we can create our own luck, but I know a man who can! This is why I can’t wait to read Dr Smith’s luck research project findings.

In the meantime, Go Luck Yourself!

About the Authors

Tim Lomas Ph.D.

Tim Lomas, Ph.D., is a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London. 

Dan Collinson

Dan Collinson is an associate lecturer in positive psychology at Buckinghamshire New University and a director of Positive Psychology Learning.

Lesley Lyle

Lesley Lyle is an associate lecturer in positive psychology at Buckinghamshire New University and a Director at Positive Psychology Learning.
 

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