Luck  n : is defined by Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary as: 

"That which happens to a person; an event, good or ill, affecting one's interests or happiness, and which is deemed causal; a course or series of such events regarded as occurring by chance; chance; hap; fate; fortune; often, one's habitual or characteristic fortune; as good, bad, ill or hard luck.  Luck is often used for good luck; as, luck is better than skill."

It is believed by some, that the observance of certain superstitions will bring good luck.  Some believe that by touching wood, searching for a four leaved clover or carrying a rabbits claw will in some way court 'Lady Luck'.

However a study by Dr. Richard Wiseman, who is known as one of Britain's leading paranormal investigators has conducted some research to test for the existence of this elusive phenomena.  The whole question of luck has been investigated for years and it would appear that the most rigorous scientific study has concluded that there is no such thing.  The conclusion of the report was indeed that people generally create their own good fortune or luck.

To help prove or disprove the existence of luck, Dr. Wiseman recruited 400 individuals who considered themselves to be either lucky or unlucky.  These same individuals agreed to have their lives scrutinized for several years.  Dr Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire, is quoted as saying: 

"I decided to investigate the actual beliefs and experiences of lucky and unlucky people.  The results were astounding, with our respondents consistently asserting that good and bad luck had exerted a huge influence over their lives."

"Interviewees reported being in the right place at the right time for a job opportunity, or bumping into a stranger at a party they hadn't planned to attend, only to fall in love."

"And by contrast there were those who reported having missed one train, only to end up in a huge accident on the next."

"Lucky or unlucky, they all subscribed to the idea that chance ruled their lives."

The research by Dr Wiseman, however revealed that those leading the charmed lives, use basic principals to create good fortune without actually realizing it.  For example, within minutes of meeting strangers they were able to determine whether or not these strangers were actually trustworthy or not.  This was tested by the use of videotape.  Each volunteer was sent a videotape containing footage of individuals that were either telling the truth or lying.  The volunteers were subsequently asked to pick out the liars.  Dr Wiseman noted:

"The lucky subjects were far more accurate."  

It was also shown that those who professed to be lucky also reported winning a variety of different amounts of prizes in lotteries etc.  However under closer investigation it was revealed that they simply tended to buy more lottery tickets and enter more raffles and more contests.

"Those who thought themselves lucky thus increased their chances of winning," said Dr. Wiseman.

"The truth is that blind chance favours nobody, lucky or unlucky."

It was also shown through psychological tests that the lucky volunteers tended to be optimists.

"their high expectations about future wealth, health and happiness often became self fulfilling prophecies," said Dr. Wiseman.

As well as that the lucky group tended to be more exploitative of chances that came their way and their intuition also proved more accurate.

"They consistently display enough courage to make important life decisions on the basis of gut instinct," said Dr. Wiseman.

"Lucky people also persevere, do not use bad luck as an excuse for their own mistakes and always look on the bright side of life."

The study has also enabled Dr. Wiseman to compile series of exercises that may enable people to improve their luck by changing their outlook.

Dr Wiseman said: "Once one understands the secrets of luck, it is possible to create a luckier life,".  He went on to add "It is possible to create a luckier life."

The findings of Dr. Wiseman's research can be found in his book: The Luck Factor - published by Century Books.

Source: Information and extracts for this article taken from The Daily Mail - Friday, January 2003


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