Do you count yourself lucky?
“Do ya feel lucky, Punk?”
It’s one of the most popular movie lines of all time; whether you first heard it in Dirty Harry from Clint Eastwood himself or the myriad of other films that have paid homage to the line over the years, you’ve heard it somewhere. Now, you have to answer the question: well… do ya?
I was having a conversation with someone this week about luck, and she holds this strong belief that every family has one unlucky member in it. She went on to explain what this all means – essentially all the misfortune that incurs in any family falls on one person – designated to them as if it’s their sole burden to bear. Needless to say, we do not see eye to eye on this point.
I have talked about the concept of lucky vs. unlucky in some of my lectures over the years, and felt it was time to shed some light on the matter. There is no such thing as being unlucky. I wish to dispel this kind of thinking! Luck is a matter of attitude; it’s like something you wear. Lucky people are those who have their eyes open, allowing and enabling them to grab the opportunity when it comes along. There is a wonderful study that was conducted by Professor Richard Weisman at the University of Hertfordshire, which will help illustrate my point.
Professor Richard Weisman’s research involved working with hundreds of exceptionally lucky and unlucky people to scientifically discover why some people live fortunate lives, as well as developing techniques that will help people enhance their own good fortune. If you are interested in getting his book, I recommend it – The Luck Factor by Prof. Richard Weisman. But for the sake of time and getting straight to the point, I shall impart what I can.
Prof. Richard Weisman claims that he could tell if a person was lucky or unlucky by simply handing them a newspaper. Using a large number of people, both who considered themselves lucky and unlucky, he handed out a newspaper to each participant, and asked them to count how many pictures they could find in the newspaper. For some it took a few seconds to count all the pictures, and for others it took a few minutes. That’s a pretty staggering discrepancy; seconds over minutes. What’s the catch?
The second page of the newspaper contained the message: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than
two inches high.
It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people missed it while the lucky people spotted it. Why? Because they were open to the opportunity. The unlucky ones have tunnel vision. Essentially what I am saying is even if Ed McMahon himself came knocking on their front door, with a million dollar check (yes, I am aware we have to believe that people DO get these sometimes!) the “unlucky” person would not hear that knock at the door because they would be too busy quieting down the noise in their heads, thus distracted by their thoughts, and “woe is me” attitude.
In his book The Luck Factor, The Professor’s research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune through four basic principles:
1. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities.
2. They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition.
3. They create self-fulfilling prophesies through positive expectations.
4. They adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.
Essentially, it’s an attitude, a belief and openness to chance. Unlucky are those who deem themselves as unlucky or less than or lacking, so they walk around life with their eyes closed. Luck is something you create for yourself.
In fact, I have an actress-friend, and I was talking with her about this concept. As we talked she mentioned that she kept getting victim-type roles to play, and upon some careful introspection she realized that she was identifying herself as a victim, thereby drawing on that same energy. The way we identify ourselves in life is often what we draw into our lives. It’s important that we remain conscious of this, at all times.
I have shared in the past that my second son, Josh was born with Down Syndrome, which of course according to the person I mentioned at the beginning of this post would make me the unlucky one in my family. Well this is far from reality.
When Josh was 3 months old I became pregnant, and after my last experience with my last doctor—I won’t go into details—but suffice it to say I was in search for a new practitioner and new experience. A couple of my friends provided me with some referrals… and the one was worse than the next!
The first doctor I saw was so old, I was concerned he might retire before my giving birth. The second smelled like egg and onions – as if morning sickness wasn’t bad enough without the “encouraging” extra aroma – that was a hard no! And then, finally my third OBGYN, by far the most entertaining of the lot, albeit at my expense…
She had a strange preoccupation for glass, plastic and ceramic frog figurines.
Yes, you read that correctly – frog figurines.
Upon walking into her office there they were… hundreds of large and small frogs. Any space available – floor, walls, and ceiling housed these amphibian collectibles. I even recall her wearing a frog pendant.
I began to tell her about my history, how many kids I have; I told her about Josh, my deliveries, and then I told her I was 4 weeks pregnant. She looked me dead in the eyes, and said in a very heavy Asian accent “You, with your S*# T luck, why you have more baby? No. No more baby for you.”
My husband shot out of his chair in a fit of laughter, while I sat stunned, jaw slack, mouth open, fixed to my seat. I blinked. Clearly she had misunderstood me. Carefully articulating my words I said to her, “No, I don’t think you understand, I’m ALREADY 4 weeks pregnant.” Pointing at my belly to reiterate, “I am pregnant now.”
“No, no. No more baby for you.” She says more emphatically – her frog pendant dangling on her neck. The room filled with frogs. My husband in a fit of giggles outside—I could hardly blame him for leaping up in bursts of laughter—I almost joined him!
The “LUCK” she was referring to, without spelling it out, was something smelly we try to avoid and sometimes step in. I DON’T BELIEVE IN IT. If I even shared a small part of that limited way of thinking… I wouldn’t have had the privilege of birthing and parenting my beautiful daughter, Miriam.
Some people walk around with this notion as if struck by a scarlet letter for life. Luck is an attitude, a belief. Just like the clothes you choose to wear, luck is exactly the same. You decide on the outfit – you decide on the outlook. It’s up to you.
“Let go of the notion that luck is something that randomly happens to you. Embrace the powerful reality that comes from making your own luck.” ~ Ralph Marston
1. Do you notice chance opportunities?
2. Tap into your intuition, and learn to listen to it to help you make lucky decisions.
3. Ensure you adopt a resilient attitude. Transform perceived “bad” luck into good.