Looking for Luck in All the Wrong Places
> 4/5/2006 10:41:20 AM

Dr. Richard Wiseman may not be the most highly respected research psychologist ever, but he has carved a niche out for himself in the world of pop-psychology. At one time an extremely successful magician, Wiseman went out and got a doctorate in psychology and now sits as head of a research unit at the University of Hertfordshire. By and large, his is the type of researcher more likely to draw interest from the Unsolved Mysteries crowd then the New England Journal of Medicine, and with book titles like Magic in Theory: an introduction to the theoretical and psychological elements of conjuring, Laughlab: The Scientific Search For The World's Funniest Joke and Guidelines for Testing Psychic Claimants that should come as little surprise. But his 2003 book, The Luck Factor received no small wellspring of attention upon release and has provided some insight into the idea of what it means to be lucky.

The blog Damn Interesting, a collection of articles on various topics, ran a nice summary the other day of Dr. Wiseman's premise in The Luck Factor. While the book amounts to little more than others in the self-help genre, Wiseman's "Four Principles," devised to help people increase their fortune are particularly interesting.

Principle One: Maximise Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on the ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

It turns out that a lot of times, being lucky amounts to staying positive, and setting yourself up for positive things to happen. This might seem intuitive, but it isn't something that everyone does instinctively. Dr. Wiseman may be more entertainer than anything else, but his common sense wisdom can certainly provide us with a shove in the right direction.

Remember to email your Grand Rounds submission to jtschnaars@treatmentonline.com!

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