As luck would have it

As luck would have it

A CHARMED LIFE

As luck would have it
Good luck charms ranging from amulets, statues and other objects are promoted and guarded zealously to bring good luck into our lives. We wake up on the right side of our beds, knock on wood and look for four-leaf clovers in the fervent hope that lady luck will find us. Charmed traditions and age-old customs that are believed to bring good luck, whether in the form of financial prosperity or to ward off evil spirits, are practised across all cultures. And yet, good luck, the most elusive of holy grails — seems to slip through our fingers, time and again. Even so, affirm behavioural scientists, it does not take rocket science to lure good luck into our lives.

Here are some simple strategies — not just to feel lucky but to actually get lucky in life...

Stay alive, stay lucky

People who think they are unlucky are the ones who sleep walk through the exciting adventure called life. They are listless and for the most part, lack the vigour and vitality that is needed to attract luck into their lives. They are unenthusiastic and unmotivated, fearful and pessimistic. They shut their minds to new experiences. Sitting in their comfort zone, they fail to see and take advantage of opportunities outside the realm of what they believe to be comfortable. In short, they are fooling themselves that they are alive. It was to such people that John Henry Newman, an Anglican priest, poet and theologian exhorted, “Fear not that your life might end and that you may die, fear rather that your life may never have a beginning.”

This failure to live fully and fearlessly breeds misfortunes. On the contrary, when life is embraced wholly and enthusiastically, opportunities come knocking, viable chances appear, good fortunes are found and fresh avenues for growth, prosperity and good luck abound.

Think positive

It is said that luck is believing you are lucky. Findings confirm that positive expectations produce positive results just as negative expectations can lead to unhappy endings. Those who make it a habit of seeing the glass half-full stand a greater chance of making their own breaks due to their optimism than the cynical ones who see the glass as half-empty, thus paving the way for bad luck and missed chances.

Hard work & luck

American President, Thomas Jefferson once said, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” It has been proved that hard work opens doors to progress — and to more luck. Sitting idle and wishing for lady luck to knock at the door is as futile as blaming our parents, the government and our boss for where we are in life. As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Thus, focusing and directing all efforts and energy in the pursuit of doing the job on hand well and going the extra mile in anything that we are responsible for is a certain way to get luck coming our way. Again, reaching out to others and lending a helping hand to those in need, inexplicably attracts luck into our lives. As the cliché goes, what goes around, comes around.

The right attitude

In perceiving luck, psychologists refer to the concept of ‘counter-factual thinking’ that affects the way we feel about being lucky or unlucky in life. The concept refers to the feelings we experience when we contemplate all the alternative outcomes of an event, if a different course of action been pursued. Author Richard Wiseman, best known for his study and research on the principles of good and bad luck published in the self-help book ‘the luck factor,’ explains the concept of counter-factual thinking and its impact on the reactions of people with the following experiment he conducted with a group of people. His subjects are given a situation of being in a bank. They are told that suddenly an armed robber enters the bank and fires shots that hit their arms. They are later questioned on how they feel about the incident. While some felt that it was due to their bad luck that they were there at the bank at the time the robber broke in, others in the group felt that it was their good luck that they were only shot in the arm and that they were lucky to be alive! Thus the real outcome — the subjects being shot in the arm, in itself was neither lucky nor unlucky. Rather the attitude adopted while viewing the situation had a greater impact on how the luck factor was perceived.

The same concept of counter-factual thinking is used to describe the feelings of silver and bronze medallists in the Olympics. Psychologists point to how silver medal winners are often not as happy as the bronze medal winners. This is because the bronze medallists feel lucky that they managed to walk away with a medal as they were very close to not getting a medal at all, while the silver medallists feel a sense of loss and regret at not having won a gold medal when they were so close to getting it!

Hence, whether we feel lucky or unlucky for most part depends not on luck itself rather on our perception of what luck is. When we develop the ability to see the brighter side of events, it keeps our morale high and the likelihood of luck surges.

Committing ourselves to learning to be lucky is yet another step to feeling and being lucky in life. Being open to learning new skills, partaking in fresh experiences, looking for new approaches to problems, being more open to opportunities around us, breaking routines and learning to deal with bad luck by imagining things being worse, will collectively make us happier and more satisfied with our lives and that in itself is tantamount to being lucky.

Embrace spirituality

Do the chances of our progress depend on the size of the mole on our faces or on the shape of the moon in the sky? No prizes for guessing the answer! Beyond the fact that orthodox superstitions and beliefs are baseless and retrograde, they are also crippling and counter-productive. Instead, if we turn our attention to spirituality and prayer, the odds that we can get lucky can increase exponentially. Tapping into the power of luck from a source higher and greater than human understanding is not only beneficial but once developed and practised can iron out misfortunes and bring God’s divine providence into our lives. The luckiest people have always been the ones who have had a bent for spirituality and prayer.

So, it’s about time we stopped looking for a lucky horseshoe. Luck could be right at our door step at this very moment. Luck is the off shoot of some of life’s simple, yet powerful, choices practised daily and advocated by the experts who have discovered luck. And they are available to you and me. It all depends on how we train ourselves to see, feel and get lucky in life!
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