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3 Ways the "Lucky Girl Syndrome" May Be Hurting You

Examining a delusional faith in your luck.

Key points

  • This mindset is a delusional faith in your luck.
  • Create actionable plans to build momentum and enhance the likelihood of success.
  • Sometimes it takes more attempts or a different approach to cross a novel obstacle.
Umar Ben / Unsplash
Umar Ben / Unsplash

"Lucky girl syndrome," not an official syndrome but a trend popularized by TikTok, refers to the idea of developing a delusional faith in your luck and believing in the power of an unwaveringly positive mindset. People who promote this syndrome, primarily women, promise that believing blindly in your luck, without any concrete proof of its effectiveness, can lead to great things falling in your lap.

Despite the seemingly positive connotation, this mindset can have significant negative effects on mental health, including chronic stress, self-doubt, and decreased self-worth due to unrealistic expectations.

If you have been disappointed by similar positive visualization trends in the past, the following three suggestions can help you buffer the side effects of the lucky girl mindset.

1. Set realistic ambitions

A lucky girl mindset can lead to impossibly lofty ambitions and goals if one gets too carried away with it. Expecting brilliant things to happen to you all of the time can blind you to your context, your capabilities, and your energy levels.

Instead, keeping your ambitions realistic can help you understand your own values, passions, and strengths – and can help you set goals that genuinely resonate with who you are as an individual.

A study found that individuals with misaligned or uncertain ambitions at age 16 experienced higher unemployment rates, lower educational achievements, and lower wages in adulthood, highlighting the negative impact of such ambitions on long-term goals and financial success.

Reflect on what truly brings you joy. Set meaningful goals instead of leaving it all to the universe. When you bring in this shift, you automatically empower yourself to pursue success in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling, fostering a sense of purpose and well-being along the way.

2. Don't just visualize, take action

Visualizing can surely help clarify your vision, but it is through proactive and consistent steps that you turn your aspirations into reality. Ideally, the powerful tool of visualization should be used to inspire a game plan that can help you reach your goals. We cannot bank on luck all of the time, especially if we are not putting in the work.

One study highlights the importance of creating a written action plan to enhance personal success. It states that the action plan should consist of specific goals, success values, and the necessary tasks to achieve those goals, along with target dates for completion.

This process of creating actionable plans will build momentum and enhance the likelihood of success while cultivating a sense of personal agency and empowerment, both of which reinforce your belief in your own capabilities, not just luck.

3. Embrace the possibility of failure

The biggest shortcoming of visualization techniques like the "lucky girl syndrome" is that they might paint failures as negative experiences. While failure can hurt quite a bit, it can also enrich you. Accepting failure frees you from the paralyzing fear of judgment and criticism, and makes room for growth, resilience, and the freedom to explore new avenues without the fear of judgment.

If we were to take the lucky girl mindset at face value, failures could make you feel like something’s not working or that you are failing in spite of making all efforts to succeed. However, as we all are aware, sometimes it might just take more attempts or a slightly different approach to cross a novel obstacle.

For instance, two studies explored the link between a suggested adaptive response to failure – that is, accepting negative emotions without suppression – and subsequent well-being. The results of both studies demonstrated that individuals who responded to failure by accepting negative emotions and redirecting their focus towards new, personally meaningful goals experienced greater well-being, including increased happiness and reduced depressive symptoms.


Positive visualization and affirmations might give you the push you need to reach your goals. However, relying solely on your belief system and ignoring important steps like action, strategy, and evaluation might lead to stagnation.

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