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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do You Feel Lucky?

Do you feel lucky?

Really lucky?

Have you ever wondered what luck really is? I mean, scientifically?

In the Ringworld series the little aliens picked a human bred for luck, but it's really not that complicated. Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire (UK) studied luck.

Yeah, that took me a minute to process too. How do you study luck???

Simple, for a psychologist, diaries, questionnaires and intelligence tests, and participation in experiments. Here's what he found:

Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.

Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people's ability to notice the unexpected.

And so it is with luck - unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else.

My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic 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.

It's really that simple: notice chances, listen to your gut, have positive expectations, and bounce back from the bad days.

Roll that over into writing terms: take a chance on different styles, critique groups, and genres; follow where the story leads; plan to be published; roll with the rejections.

Clover image Copyright 1958-2008 Tony & Marilyn Karp found HERE. Image of Richard Wiseman courtesy of and copyright to his website linked above.


  1. "It's really that simple: notice chances, listen to your gut, have positive expectations, and bounce back from the bad days." - I like this. Good words to live by.

  2. I love this. I've always believed in a positive outlook no matter what the situation. I think that helps. Plus I gave up anxiety for lent. ;)

  3. I like those definitions of luck. And for the most part, agree. And us writers would all benefit from taking it to heart! :)

  4. V.R. - I wish I could take credit for it!

    T. Anne - Sounds like a good thing to give up. :o)

    Laura - There's a lot of luck in writing, but you make your own chances.

  5. I have to make somebody I know in real life read this, Liana.

    Her favorite line is: "Nothing ever goes right for me." <- And it drives me nuts.

    Things DO GO RIGHT for her all the time, but she not paying attention.

  6. What a great post! Don't we all know someone who is a little too lucky? ;)

    Thanks, Liana!

  7. Catherine- I sent a copy of the article to a couple of people. It's handy advice.

    Tere- There's no such thing as too much luck! :o)

  8. I love this. I've always held that we make our own luck. I'm going to skip on over to Suzie Townsend's blog. Thanks for the heads up. I'm so lucky. :)

  9. So sending this to my husband who is amazed at my good luck and forget how many things I consistently enter....

  10. Thanks for posting the link! I'll have to tell you the story behind #3 some day :)

  11. Suzie - I'll hold you to that promise. :o)

  12. This is so cool! Thanks for sharing. This is going into my Bliss Book.