- Be open to more opportunities,
- interact with a large network of people,
- break routines and
- keep a relaxed attitude toward life.
…lucky people pay more attention to what’s going on around them than unlucky people. It’s more nuanced than that. Here’s where being open to meeting, interacting with, and learning from different types of people comes in. Wiseman found that lucky people tend to be open to opportunities (or insights) that come along spontaneously, whereas unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine, fixated on certain specific outcomes.
In analyzing behavior patterns at social parties, for example, unlucky people tended to talk with the same types of people, people who are like themselves. It’s a common phenomenon. On the other hand, lucky people tended to be curious and open to what can come along from chance interactions. For example, Wiseman found that the lucky people had three times greater open body language in social situations than unlucky people. Lucky people also smiled twice as much as unlucky people, thus drawing other people and chance encounters to them. They didn’t cross their arms or legs and pointed their bodies to other people and increased the likelihood of chance encounters by introducing variety. Chance opportunities favored people who were open to them.
Wiseman believed another type of behavior played an even greater role in success. Wiseman found that lucky people build and maintain what he called a strong network of luck. He wrote:
Lucky people are effective at building secure, and longlasting, attachments with the people they meet. They are easy to know and most people like them. They tend to be trusting and form close relationships with others. As a result, they often keep in touch with a much larger number of friends and colleagues than unlucky people. And time and again, this network of friends helps promote opportunity in their lives.
This was Wiseman’s core finding: You can create your own luck. “I discovered that being in the right place at the right time is actually all about being in the right state of mind,” he argued. Lucky people increase their odds of chance encounters or experiences by interacting with a large number of people. Extraversion, Wiseman found, pays opportunity and insight rewards. And that makes perfect sense: Chance opportunities are a numbers game. The more people and perspectives in your sphere of reference, the more likely good insights and opportunities will combine…
After identifying a group of people who identified themselves as unlucky, he shared the main principles of lucky behavior, including specific techniques. As Wiseman described it, “For instance, they were taught how to be more open to opportunities around them, how to break routines, and how to deal with bad luck by imagining things being worse.” Wiseman included exercises to increase chance opportunities, such as building and maintaining a network of luck, being open to new experiences, and developing a more relaxed attitude toward life, as well as ways to listen to hunches and to visualize lucky interactions. After carrying out specific exercises for a month, participants reported back to Wiseman. “The results were dramatic: eighty percent were happier and more satisfied with their lives— and luckier,” Wiseman summed.
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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.