By Carol Kline
Everyone knows that luck is random, unpredictable, even fickle, right?
Well, as it turns out, not really.
Luck has far less to do with chance than we think. Although there’s a component of luck that’s beyond our control, according to recent research in the field of Positive Psychology, we make (or break) our own good fortune with our attitudes, actions, and associations.
With that in mind, let’s focus on the biggest block to being lucky: the feeling of being unlucky.
Picture this scene: You’re at an event at which there’s a drawing. The master of ceremonies has just plunged his hand into the container of tickets. Grabbing one, he pulls it out and brings it up to his face to read the name or number written there. Now, freeze the action right there. At that moment, what’s going through your mind?
Are you thinking, “Woo-hoo, he’s going to call my ticket!”? Or, “I won’t win. I never win anything”?
The first response reveals a mindset primed for luck—the second, a mindset that blocks luck. This is a reality that’s grounded in science. Numerous studies show that when you believe you’re a lucky person, you’re far more likely to be. There are several reasons for this.
The first is that people who believe they are lucky actually perceive more of the opportunities that come their way. This is because the lucky person’s reticular activating system—the part of the brain that filters the barrage of incoming sensory input for important data—is on high alert for anything that could lead to a lucky result.
The second reason is that self-described lucky people are more confident and willing to take risks. Once they see an opportunity, they’re more likely to act on it.
The final reason that people who feel lucky have more luck is their “posture.” Lucky people smile more, are friendlier and more relaxed, and even have a better sense of humor! Simply put, they’re more attractive people energetically. People are drawn to them and want to work with them, invest with them, buy from them, help them.
These combined factors translate to a larger number of positive outcomes—or more luck.
Becoming luckier is entirely possible but requires conscious intention: you’ll need to adjust your core beliefs and your habitual actions, beginning with your mindset.
A lucky mindset isn’t created through positive or magical thinking, or faking it till you make it. It’s brought about by learning to free yourself from your past mental conditioning, step by conscious step.
Start the process with a simple commitment to being lucky and to believing it’s possible. It can help to remember an occasion when you were lucky and to anchor that feeling inside. This will serve as a touchstone as you go forward.
But remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! If you find yourself slipping back into your old patterns of unlucky thinking, take a deep breath and recommit to luck, again and again. With time and attention, feeling lucky can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
BIO: Carol Kline is a #1 New York Times bestselling author whose books include Happy for No Reason, Love for No Reason, five books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and the upcoming Conscious Luck: Eight Secrets to Intentionally Change Your Fortune, co-authored with Gay Hendricks.