What makes a person lucky? Often it’s less about actual luck than it is about a person’s general outlook. Here’s why.
Former Wall Street Journal and Fortune writer Erik Calonius points to a fascinating study by a 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:
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.