Book Review: The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman

Book Review: The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman. Intelligenthq

I wonder if you are curious about luck like me. If so, I bet you’ve asked to yourself many times if luck was a genetic trait, or just a random good chance.  Everybody knows what It “luck” means. Luck signifies to either have success or failure, which apparently is brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

But is it true that luck is such a random phenomenon ? And if not,  could we train ourselves to become more lucky ? And if so, how could we do it ?

The book  “The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind”, that was written  by Richard Wiseman,  tries to answer these and other questions about luck from a scientific point of view as the book is the result of various years of scholarly research on luck.

Richard Wiseman is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, who has done considerable research for various years on why some people are more lucky then others. Wiseman was a magician before graduating in Psychology from University College London (UCL). He has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh.

According to Wiseman’s book, even though luck seems to be the product of a genetic trait what plays its most critical role isn´t genetic. This is good news, as it means that  we can actually increase our good fortune in life!

What exactly this means, is that one should be prepare to recognise what type of events life puts in front of ourselves,  and act accordingly to take as much advantage  as possible of such events. To have luck (or bad luck) in our lives, depends for a large extent on ourselves. Whether we become luckier or not depends on our state of mind, the way we think and most importantly, the way we act.

I can tell you that that I  have tried this shift of perception in my life, after having read this book sometime ago and I have confirmed personally, what Wiseman’s book points out based on various scientific studies.

Mind Map of The Luck Factor. Image source: IQMatrix

As an example, in his book, Dr Richard Wiseman describes his experiment with a mixed group of people who considered themselves lucky or unlucky. Part of the experiment was that all the participants were supposed to meet  Wiseman at a pub, where a £5 note would be left outside, by the entrance of the Pub,  always in the same place. The striking result was that the participants who claimed to be lucky, picked up the note from the ground, whereas the ones who thought themselves to be unlucky didn’t even notice the note.

This experiment and many others, lead Wiseman to confirm that the way we look at reality influences what we can obtain from it. In other words, if we believe that we are going to meet interesting people, we actually have more chances to end up finding them. The same goes when we think the world is full of dishonest people or lacking fine opportunities.

Our mind works in a funny way: it is always looking for reassurances for what we already think by paying more attention towards what is already part of our vision of the world. For example, if we think someone is behaving badly, we will start to notice all the elements that reinforce our view. The opposite is also true; if we believe in someone’s good heart, we will tend to see what can support our feeling. The world offers you largely what goes on in your mind, not because the world is just that (the world is complex and varied) but because your “personal antennae” are tuned in to get what your mind is busy thinking about.

In the case of Dr Wiseman’s experiment, it was easier for the people who thought themselves lucky to see the money outside the pub. What’s more, those people picked up the note; which only confirms their optimistic view of the world. On the other hand, noticing the bill outside the pub was something that would have challenged the delusion of those considering themselves unlucky: the fact that they totally ignored it could only reinforce their belief.

Even though we don’t condition the world around us, the way we look at it matters tremendously. If we don’t believe that there are good opportunities for us out there, we won’t ever notice them when we will finally find them right in front of our faces. On the other hand, if we believe that the world is filled with great possibilities for us, we will probably end up finding them.

The crucial question is: can we learn to be more lucky? According to Wiseman, the answer to this question is yes, as he believes that luck is based largely on four psychological principles that can be learned and improved.

Four Principles To Maximise The Luck Factor. Intelligenthq

One of them is that people with luck pay attention of the luck opportunities, create them and act according to them. For instance, they cultivate a social network with interesting people and are receptive to different experiences.

The second principle is that a person with luck takes  good decisions based on intuition and hunches – they listen to their intuition and take measures to improve it.

The third principle: expectations regarding the future of lucky people help them to achieve their dreams and ambitions – as an examples, they think that their luck will be maintained in the future and persist in their goals even if they fail.

The final principle is that lucky people transform bad luck into opportunities – this principle is manifested, in particular, by emphasising the positive aspects of their hazards and taking steps to prevent such situations to happen in the future.

Personally, I believe this book a valuable manual  as it might help you to create more fortunate opportunities in your life. The four psychological principles defend by Dr. Wiseman can be applied in our daily live to improve our luck. The book sometimes uses scientific jargon too much (don´t forget that the author is university professor) but it is definetly worth the effort of reading it.