What Lucky People Do Differently Than Unlucky People

What Lucky People Do Differently Than Unlucky People

What makes a person lucky? Often it’s less about actual luck than it is about a person’s general outlook. Here’s why.Entrepreneur Jonathan Fields, in his personal blog, points to a fascinating study by psychologist Richard Wiseman. Wiseman surveyed a bunch of people to find out who considered themselves lucky or unlucky, then performed a very interesting test:

[Wiseman]gave both the “lucky” and the “unlucky” people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds.

How could the “lucky” people do this? Because they found a message on the second page that read, “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” So why didn’t the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message.

So what does this mean? From the article:

“Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.”

People who we often consider lucky are more relaxed and open to what’s going on around them. They’re not focused on a single task, blocking out everything else so much that they miss something important and unexpected. What this experiment demonstrates is that luck may not so much be luck, but whether or not our mindset leaves us open to opportunities we would otherwise miss because we’re so absolutely sure of what we want. Photo by Lindsey T

What Lucky People Do Differently [Jonathan Fields]


  • Lucky people are not different “than” unlucky people, they are different “from” (or “to”) unlucky people.

    Yes, it does matter. 😛

    • While you were busy being a pedant, you missed yet another opportunity to listen to the content rather than just reading the words.

      No, it doesn’t really matter.

    • I often see incorrect grammar and spelling in these articles but I draw the line at understanding. If the sentence is still easily understandable and its intention is still clear then there is no need to correct the author.

  • Doesn’t always work that way! My friend was so focused on making sure she got the correct discount on some DVDs recently that she didn’t notice that the sales assistant hadn’t included her hard drive in her purchases. She bought over $300 worth of stuff but got the HDD free (1.5Tb).
    It wasn’t until she was home checking her receipt that she noticed.
    I call that lucky.

    • I agree with Courtoman. Did you go back and make good your findings? Karma is a bitch, unless you are so unlucky, you feel your Karma was in a positive balance?

      Otherwise, I hope she thinks about her actions everytime that HDD is used.

      • Except Karma isn’t real.

        It’s a bit like luck in the sense that it’s often a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe in Karma and you do something bad, my theory is that you’re going to feel guilty enough that you trip yourself up somewhere else. Either that or confirmation bias is going to make you believe that an unrelated event is “karma balancing things out”.

        It’s funny how on this site religion gets ripped to sheds but yet other much more ridiculous stuff like this is fine.

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