by Professor Richard Wiseman, University of Hertfordshire
I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities. I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. I had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying: "Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $50."
This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than two inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it. Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.
As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties' intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and miss other types of jobs.
Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for. My research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.
Here are Professor Wiseman's four top tips for becoming lucky:
1) Listen to your gut instincts - they are normally right
2) Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine
3) Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well
4) Visualize yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call.
The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems, but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect.