Positive psychology assures: luck can be attracted to your side. How can we make it happen more often?
WHAT IT IS
Luck is both an object of lust and a subject of prejudice. It is believed that there are two types of lucky people:
- Those who “collect” favourable cases simply because they were born under a lucky star,
- those who have been given a gift from heaven (lottery winnings, fateful encounters, inexplicable cures)
Psychologist, author of “Praise for Luck” and “Praise for Optimism”, one of the pioneers of positive psychology in France Philippe Gabillier believes that this postulate needs to be supplemented, otherwise we will remain within the framework of magic and fatalism. “It is true that random luck occurs, but there is another kind of luck that can be ‘pushed’ and cultivated, and such luck is available to everyone.”
This approach is in line with the views of Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at Britain’s University of Hertfordshire and a specialist in the “luck factor.” His study of hundreds of lucky people allowed him to establish that there are two types of luck:
- passive (winning the lotto),
- and psychological, which arises as a result of a volitional decision, a conscious formulation of a personal position.
Another of his discoveries is that the second kind of luck can be renewed, which is why the psychologist calls it “long-term luck”.
Both types of luck have five components:
- a timely meeting (the right person at the right time),
- key information that comes in handy,
- openness to new things (opportunity to gain positive experience),
- an unexpected request,
- a fateful event that disrupts the normal course of life.
WHAT TO DO
“To prolong good fortune,” Philippe Gabillier specifies, “you must prepare the soil in which the seeds of favourable opportunities can develop and consolidate. This can only be realised if you internalise the following four attitudes.
1. Set a goal
“For the luck generator to work, it must be programmed and adjusted according to the direction we have chosen,” says the psychologist. – “Then it will give meaning to the events that happen to us and will ‘generate’ luck: it is our goals that make the generator work that will allow us to detect it.”
Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura, known for his concept of self-efficacy, wrote: “Our human nature is guided in part by the choices we make about personal values and norms. The mechanisms of what we see as our value as individuals partly determine the impact of our encounters on the direction of our social development.”
Thus, if there is no clear intention in advance, there is no lasting good fortune
This does not mean that you have to start with detailed project planning. It is more about defining your desires, feeling in which direction you would like to develop your life, what meaning to put into it.
Positive Intention is the quintessence of vital desires, and to define them, we need to understand what gives us a sense of inner flourishing, what can become the driving force of all life. “What resonates in me? What do I need, what do I want?” These are the questions that underpin our journey to good fortune.
It is then up to everyone to concretise their expectations, to flesh out their intentions: start a diary, get an education, meet others whose desires are similar to ours.
2. Open ourselves to the world
This means to be internally ready to notice new things, to maximise our perception of what is happening around us. It is a general attitude of attentiveness and constant wakefulness that allows us to catch interesting information, instantly see the prospects of a new acquaintance, and direct our energy in a certain direction.
In this way we increase our chances many times over, whether or not we think we have anything to do with the emergence of these opportunities
By pausing from time to time to switch off, we allow our intuition to work and free ourselves from the power of the enemies of luck – routine and automatic thinking.
3. Utilise failures
“The most fortunate are not spared from blows of fate or unexpected troubles, but they know how to process their failures effectively and with lasting results,” continues the psychologist. – Without surrendering to anger, sadness or vindictiveness, they look within themselves for the causes of failure, find the right assessment given the circumstances, and finally, they recycle their failure.”
To begin with, they separate the accidental or inevitable from what they themselves are (albeit partially) responsible for. They may also paradoxically discover the germs of good fortune at the heart of their failure, for things could almost always have been worse.
Finally, they ask the only meaningful questions in such a situation.
- What can I learn from this unpleasantness? Or, to put it another way, how and under what conditions can I transform it into something positive?
- What should I do now to turn it to my advantage? What has this event taught me?
- How can I use the situation to meet the right people, get new information, discover other worlds?
The last stage of the recycling process is the restarting of the chance generator, so that new doors can be opened, new paths can be found. To do something unfamiliar, to renew relationships with old acquaintances, to accept and send invitations, to gather information on a topic that excites us… It is up to each of us to find a way to let a fresh breeze into our world and to add new ingredients to our luck, whatever they are called – a timely meeting, key information, a new world, an unexpected request….
4. Become a talisman for others
“Luck is about others,” asserts Philippe Gabillier. The wider our network of personal contacts, the more people we know, the more likely it is that a lucky break will happen to us. Richard Wiseman elaborates: fortunate people “tend to expect their relationships with others to be fruitful”.
Provided, of course, that when we enter into a relationship, we show generosity, attention to the other and render services gratuitously, otherwise dating is reduced to a self-serving and selfish addition to the list of contacts. That is why we need the energy of self-giving in addition to connections as such, otherwise we cannot lay the foundation for long-lasting luck.
This means that we ourselves must become talismans for others, bringing them luck
“Love, knowledge and luck have something in common: they are created to continuously circulate in society, to connect people and create universal values,” the psychologist states. – To bring good luck to others, it is enough to give them attention and time, to be ready to listen to them. To give them important information, to open up a new field of possibilities, but also to be there for them when they fail, to help them turn it into a chance to make a difference.
By showing empathy and solidarity, we not only provide ourselves with a reserve of future good fortune, but also give meaning and depth to life, refuting the infamous maxim “Man is a wolf to man”.