Talking to an old mate over the weekend caused me to once again consider the role that luck plays in many aspects of our lives.
He told me the unbelievable story of one of his colleagues who he claimed was possibly the unluckiest person he had ever known. It was so bizarre that it had to be true. You certainly could not make it up.
He told us that on one journey of less than 50 miles, she had experienced no fewer than 8 accidents. That on the way to her wedding she heard fire engines going to the church that was burning down taking with it all of her flowers and orders of service. That her father flooded her house when trying to mend a ball cock in her loft water tank and her mother had set fire to the kitchen when cooking.
I subsequently Googled “Unluckiest Person in the World” and realised that whilst she was certainly not blessed with good fortune there are a lot who have experienced far worse. Take a look if you don’t believe me.
In his book “Quirkology” Richard Wiseman an eminent Professor in Psychology talks about an experiment he ran with groups of people, some of whom self-described themselves as lucky and others unlucky.
In the experiment, the two groups were given a newspaper and asked to go through it page by page and count how many colour photos had been used in the articles.
Both groups completed the task and had accurately measured the photos.
If you are ever asked to participate in a psychology experiment by the way never assume the task they give you to superficially respond to is the real purpose. What had also happened is that hidden in plain sight in the paper was an ad that read, “Tell the Psychologist running the experiment you have seen this ad and you will receive £100”.
The group that had claimed they were lucky had a significantly higher rate of seeing this ad and claiming their £100 reward. Seems that luck is in the way that you see the world to a greater degree than how much luck is actually available. Or as Shakespeare would say, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.
The optimistic negotiator in me sees this as one of life’s great lessons. Entering into any of life’s conflicts with a hopeful and open mind will significantly expose my own eyes to the areas of possibility to create outcomes I can live with, and will also help me recognise when outcomes that are not possible are best left to explore other avenues that may be more fruitful.
The closed and myopic world is a dark and dismal place.
Practice being lucky people.
I’m off to buy a lottery ticket.