How to Get Lucky
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How to Get Lucky

Celebrating St. Patty's Day, the New Year (when 2010 rolls around) or any of the other cultural New Years, or Mardi Gras, brings with it more than a chance to lift a pint, make a toast or two, and as act goofy as time and temperature permits. Participating in a good luck ritual can also bring good luck to your life. The very act of believing in good luck, and wishing it for yourself and others, increases the likelihood you will experience positive/lucky outcomes. This information isn't strictly mind over matter (which I strongly suggest, anyway). There's scientific evidence that by believing in good fortune, seeing the silver lining in dark clouds (turning lemons into lemonade),  and being open to the possibilities that life brings daily, you can become more fortunate and lucky. Here's the science:

Scientific research by no-less than the esteemed B.F. Skinner, and U.K. psychologist Richard Wiseman proved that good luck-thinking is a pattern that we unconsciously (or consciously) reflect. In Skinner's animal behavior experiments, a food reward caused the lab animal to anticipate another reward by acting in a certain way, (which we might see in humans as rituals conducted for luck). In Wiseman's experiments (conducted in the early 2000s), people who viewed life more positively (no matter what their problems) generally had much better luck than those who viewed life negatively. Yes, it's the power of positive thinking, with an update.

How can you bring some good luck to your life? Here are seven simple way to get lucky, based on Wiseman's research, and also my own cosmic endeavors and experiences.

1. Expect a Positive Outcome to bring about good luck. If you're out job-hunting or if you've been forced to face the economic music, do not  allow yourself to hold a pity party. Instead, focus on the fact that better times are coming. Although you can't control when the economy will  improve, you can control your attitude and your beliefs. A strong belief in your abilities and talents; persistence in a job hunt or in dealing with banks, lenders, and assistance help-lines, will lead you to a better outcome that the person stuck in negativity.  Over time (and it could take more than usual, these days), your self-belief and positive attitude will become your self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, your life will change - but for the better, as you will see. (I can't tell you have many items I have found by believing in my ability to find them.This has been incredibly lucky for me).

2. Turn negative to positive and good luck will result. You don't need to be a magician to accomplish this. Wiseman's research showed that lucky people had great coping abilities that allowed them to see opportunity in a tough situation and to realize how much worse things could be. They do not allow negative thinking to invade their lives. They practice affirmations (as I have suggested in another article here); they surround themselves with positive people and positive energy; they visualize how fortunate they are that things aren't worse. One recent example; a TV interview with one of Bernard Madoff's victims who lost his fortune. He looked at the camera without blinking, and said, "I may have lost everything but not the things that count most - my family."  Here's a man who will find a way to survive, and even thrive, despite his misfortune. Elsewhere I have discussed how the change in the way the U.S. does business, the number of businesses that have closed, and the rise in demand for simplicity, natural and green materials, offers new niches for business creation. More entrepreneurs will be born in this tough time than in the decade preceding, because of the bravado and right-brain thinking of the silver-lining visionaries, many of who have come along out of college. But many of us have years of experience we can also use as guides to what works and what doesn't. Age is no barrier to succeeding these days, so do not allow this to become an obstacle. Review your past history for all the positive lessons you have learned about life that you can now teach others and re-live for yourself. Remember that  when serious health or financial problems occur, it is helpful to view them in a spiritual manner and attempt to make the very best out of what you're going through. You have no idea how much your positive attitude will impact and uplift the others who care for you.

3. Trust your intuition; your gut feeling will guide you to a good luck conclusion. Your intuition is really your inner-good-luck guru. We've been taught, throughout our lives, to tamp down and even ignore the gut feelings and follow the (sometimes bad) examples set or suggested by others. But psychologist Wiseman says lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition. He suggests ways to improve your intuitive abilities, including meditation. I agree, but another method is to write down a personal history of when you used your intuition to make the right decision. Go as far back as your childhood (children are more naturally intuitive and act on their uncensored feelings) to see what intuitive ideas worked. If you can't recall a single incidence or you've been experiencing a lot of negativity, your gut/intuitive sense is strongly in need of repair. Intuition is a very important part of the Sixth Sense, and we are all born with it. The Sixth Sense if your inner ally if you let it be. Intuition is a guide you towards the best possible outcome for you. (I have found, whether it be betting on the horses or selecting a friend, to go with my first instinct. It is always right, if I listened correctly).

4. Be open to networking and turning chance experiences into new opportunities to bring about good luck. Did you ever hear the expression, "being in the right place at the right time"?  There is no better example of knocking on a closed door, only to have it open unexpectedly. A positive-thinker will find this a fun challenge and will knock on as many doors as it takes. With a lucky person, no lead will go un-noticed; no business card un-exchanged. Psychologist Wiseman says lucky people are experienced at seizing chance opportunities and turning them into good fortune. You will know when there's a good chance for good luck if you follow your intuition #3 and also if you radiate good energy and good attitude. As Ida Lupino, the great 1940s actress would advise, if you have a problem, "Act as if....."

5. Keep a good luck journal. Psychologist Wiseman teaches this in the Good Luck School created out of his research. Elsewhere I have advised keeping a dream journal to note your dreams; they are much alike, except a Good Luck journal contains only positive good luck experiences. Weisman suggests you write down the good and lucky things that happen to you daily, no matter how trivial they seem. He believes once you continue  to journal this, it will be difficult to see anything negative about your life. You will be re-inforcing a new positive attitude that will make the difference in your future. This journal will also help you see the many forms good luck takes. Sometimes good luck is monetary; sometimes it's luck in love. Sometimes it's when a car swerves at the last possible moment and avoids crashing into you. All fortuitous and all important for your future.

6. Practice what you preach about good luck. One fine way to enhance good luck, in my own experience, is to do good deeds for others - those less fortunate (see #2), especially at a time like this. By doing good deeds, you honor the unwritten promise that life can improve for those who have little hope, through a kind word and kind deed.  In so doing, you will have created a good luck circle (and a circle never ends). Sharing whatever you have, even if its minor, elevates you in mind, mood and spirit, which in turn, increases the opportunity for good luck . If you can lend a helping hand, by volunteering or donating, you realize that kindness is always repaid, in one form or another. If you are suffering financial problems, someone else may lend a hand to you. If you are fortunate, sharing will return to you in man different forms (not always monetary).  If nothing else, there is a great lesson for humankind in the manner in which greed was allowed to wreck our Country over the past decade(s). One private stimulus we can all offer, is to share -  whatever and however best we can. One good deed at a time, this can enhance the spirit and the   attitude of our Country.

7. Find a good luck charm that works for you to enhance you belief in possibilities. I have many good luck charms on my desk - they range from the silly to the mystical, and include vintage winker rings from cereal boxes, vintage cigarette card photos of movie stars, a meteorite rock, some gemstones, and so on. I have surrounded myself with "good luck charms" to lift my mood and spirit; remind me that all things are transitory, and that good luck is where you find it. In researching this article, I read a piece about the many figures in sports who have good luck charms or follow superstitions (from baseball players to Olympic athletes to race-horse trainers). This is not a New Age phenomenon, but part of a rich, cultural and ancient history. "Good luck charms and superstitions have been an integral part of human life throughout history," says Donald Dossey, a psychologist and superstition expert from Ashville, N.C.  Dossey says cave drawings, rain dances and sacrifices were all examples of early human attempts to earn the favor of the gods and bring about good fortune and good luck.  "Superstitious behavior is really an attempt to control the universe that is way too powerful for us to control," he says. "Even after the major world religions formed -- some of which sought to degrade, if not outlaw, superstitious behavior -- many people refused to wean themselves from charms and superstitions, and I don't think we ever will," Dossey says. I agree. Good luck charms always remind us of the possibilities and opportunities for good fortune.  If you are experiencing a run of bad luck, change your attitude and your charms. (I have listed a guide to 12 antique lucky charms for each Sun Sign in the Zodiac. It works for me!).

In sum, having the right frame of mind about good luck is crucial in bringing it about. While you can do much to support yourself in creating this attitude, a belief in good fortune is much more likely to bring about a positive future than a super hero coming down from the sky to save you or a lottery ticket paying off. The odds are most in your favor when believe in your own ability to turn on your life lights and keep them shining brightly. Whatever works can be your mantra. Expect nothing less that good luck and good luck will come to you.

- For more information, see Richard Wiseman's book, The Luck Factor, Changing Your Luck, Changing Your life, (Miramax, 2003).

- For some creative ideas on lucky charms, see my Factoidz, 12 Antique Lucky Charms for the Zodiac


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Comments (3)

I've found also that never allowing yourself to expect or desire anything other then what you currently are experiencing helps a lot - and opens the inner eye to wonderful things in each moment. Happiness is an ad-agency illusion, and since experience requires contrast (for example, children do not seem aware of their blissful state - why? They have no genuine pain (we try to make it so at least) to contrast their moments with. Glad moments imply the balancing presence of an equal number of contrasting sorrowful experiences that make them so sweet when they arive. Joy is the sense of being aware and in the moment. I believe the Jewish sages referred to approaching every day with a "clean paper mind" - ready to absorb the ink of reality in all it's terrible glory and truth. I know this - some of the worst things that I ever had occur wound up creating fabulous new beginnings.

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