Work & Career
7 Things Lucky People Do That You Don’t
If you can’t find a four-leaf clover or magic charm, you can always create your own serendipity. Steal these secrets from people who seem naturally prone to good fortune.
They’re people magnets
The more people you know, the more chances for a friend to come through with a lucky break. In one study, Richard Wiseman, professor of psychology and author of The Luck Factor, showed participants a list of last names and asked them if they were on a first-name basis with at least one person with each name. Of the subjects who considered themselves lucky, half were able to tick off eight or more names. Only a quarter of the participants in the unlucky group could. “Lucky people talk to lots of people, attract people to them, and keep in touch,” Wiseman told Health.com. “These habits result in a ‘network of luck,’ creating the potential for fortuitous connections.”Need some help with mingling with others? Here are some tips for engaging small talk that’s not awkward.
They trust their gut instinct
In one study, British researchers found that our gut instincts are often credible and stem from real physical reactions in our body, such as increased heart rate and sweat. Participants in the study were asked to try to win a card game they had never played before. The game was designed to have no clear strategy, but instead to encourage players to follow their hunches. While playing, each participant wore a heart rate monitor. Changes in players’ heart rates affected how quickly they learned to make the best choices during the game, which signaled to researchers that what happens in our body guides our choices. Here’s how to better tap into your intuition for a happier life.
They don’t push their luck
In Max Gunther’s book How to Get Lucky, he illustrates the possible outcomes of luck pushing with a coin-toss metaphor. “If you toss [a coin] 1,024 times, the odds are there will be one long run in which heads comes up nine times in a row. But there will be 32 short runs in which heads comes up four times in a row,” he says. “Which is the way to bet? On the short runs, of course.” Although you might come to regret cutting a lucky streak short, it’s best to remain rational, and not overly optimistic. These amazing true stories will change how you think about luck.
They break routines and welcome the unexpected
iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
Aim to read a book a week, listen to a podcast on the way to work, or try out a new hobby—anything that will open your eyes to new lines of thinking and new people. Start with these nine books that can change your life.
They look on the bright side
Another difference Wiseman found between lucky and unlucky people was the way in which they dealt with misfortune. To investigate this, he asked his self-reported lucky and unlucky participants to imagine being in a bank when an armed robber enters and fires a shot that hits them in the arm. Unlucky people tended to say it was their bad luck to be in the bank at that time. Lucky people noted that it could’ve been worse. They could have been shot in the head. “Psychologists call this ability to imagine what might have happened, rather than what actually happened, ‘counter-factual’ thinking,” Wiseman writes. His study confirmed that lucky people use this line of thinking to ease the impact of misfortune. Need help being more optimistic? Optimistic people do these 10 things every day.
They tell people what they want
Broadcasting that you’re looking for a new assistant at your firm won’t make the perfect candidate appear, but it will increase the chances that when someone hears about a friend who’s looking, they’ll give you a call.
They act as their own best advocate
“No one will know you exist if you don’t tell them,” says leadership trainer Meagan Rhodes in Girls’ Life. “The key is making sure others know why your talents are worth recognizing.” Make sure that people not only understand what you want but know you deserve it.