Do you want to be lucky? Not just win the lottery lucky, but lucky in everything important to you: your relationships, career and finances, and mental and physical health. Now you can be as lucky as you want to be based on recent findings in the psychology of luck.

In his ten-year scientific study on luck, psychologist Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, examined the characteristics of exceptionally lucky and exceptionally unlucky people. In his research, Weisman found that unlucky people like Patricia, a twenty-year-old airline worker, always seem to attract accidents, bad relationships, and unfortunate circumstances. On the other hand, lucky people like Jessica, a forty-two-year-old forensic scientist, always seem to meet the right people--at chance meetings--and end up achieving their lifelong dreams, with seemingly little effort or strain.

How can you become an extraordinary lucky person? Wiseman points to four personality characteristics or habits you can develop to increase your good luck considerably:

*Create and Notice Chance Opportunities

Lucky people are always open to meeting new people and encountering new opportunities for learning and growth. For example, they are more likely to go to social events where they don’t know people (even if they are the more reclusive Introvert type) because they’re aware they could meet someone helpful or learn something valuable
at the next party they attend.

Wiseman did a clever study to test the Opportunities Recognition trait. He asked lucky and unlucky people to read a newspaper and tell him how many photographs were inside. On average, the people classified as unlucky in the study took two minutes to count the photographs, while those rated as high in luck took just a few seconds. Why? The second page of the newspaper had the message in large bold print, “Stop counting--there are 43 photographs in the newspaper.” The lucky people immediately spotted the message and stopped counting, while the unlucky people were so concerned with looking for the photographs that they missed the obvious message.

*Be Relaxed and Flexible; Use Your Intuition

Unlucky people are often more tense and anxious than lucky people. Unlucky people try to analyze everything and worry about missing something and making a mistake. Lucky people are more relaxed, confident, and listen to their intuition--their holistic sense of what is right and wrong for them. Unlucky people miss the right opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. An unlucky single person, for example, may go to parties obsessed with finding Mr. or Ms. Right, while the lucky person goes to make friends and have a good time. Often, the lucky person ends up meeting a soul mate--someone’s daughter, mother, sister, brother, co-worker, or friend--through the new acquaintances made at the party.

*Change Things Up:/Do Things Differently

Many of us are creatures of habit. We take the same route to work every day; talk to the same people about the same things. Lucky people, on the other hand, believe that changing their daily routine--even a little bit--can help trigger positive and creative changes in other parts of their lives. In Wiseman’s study, for example, one high luck person would change his route to work before he made an important decision. This small deviation got him out of his thinking rut and opened up some creative alternatives. Another lucky person wanted to change the type of people she met at social events, so she played a game with herself. She would think of a common color before he arrived at the party, and then would only talk to people who had that same color clothing: people in black, or those wearing red, for example. In this way, she opened himself up to meeting entirely different people, and she ended up meeting her current business partner.

Develop “It Could Have Been Worse” Thinking For Bad Circumstances

According to Wiseman, lucky people tend to use “counterfactual thinking” to soften the blow of bad circumstances which sometimes occur in their lives. Counterfactual thinking refers to thinking about what could have happened (for example, the worst possible outcome) instead of what actually did happen. In one interesting study, Wiseman asked lucky and unlucky people to imagine that they were in a bank when an armed robber entered and fired a shot that injured them in the arm. Weisman asked the participants if this event was lucky or unlucky. People in the study who were classified as unlucky said it was enormously unlucky that they just happened to be in the bank during the robbery. People classified as lucky viewed the situation as being far luckier: “At least I wasn’t shot in the head and killed.” Lucky people in the study also had a more optimistic take on the situation than unlucky people: “Maybe I can sell the story to the newspaper.” Thus, the lucky people had a more positive, optimistic, and even grateful perception of what happened to them than the unlucky people who were often more negative, pessimistic, and regretful.

As you can see from the research findings, luck can be made or created. You don’t have to be born lucky, or rely on some unknown force to be luckier. You can enhance your luck quotient just by making a few small changes in your everyday habits and approach to life. With greater luck, you will choose the right mate, friends, acquaintances, and business partners. You will make the right investments, and spend time on the best activities, goals, plans, and strategies for you. You will be happier, healthier, richer, and wiser if you just change a few elements of your personality. Before long you will create a closer and more intimate relationship with that charming and alluring companion who can grant the dreams of your heart: Happy-go Lucky Luck.