Lucky or Unlucky? Spread Betting

By Professor Richard Wiseman
University of Hertfordshire

Why do some people get all the luck while others never get the breaks they deserve? A psychologist says he has discovered the answer.

Ten years ago, I set out to examine luck.

I wanted to know why some people are always in the right place at the right time, while others consistently experience ill fortune.

I placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.

Hundreds of extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research and, over the years, I have interviewed them, monitored their lives and had them take part in experiments.

The results reveal that although these people have almost no insight into the causes of their luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their good and bad fortune.

Oh, and we won a tenner on your numbers this week.

Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.

Those who have succeeded at anything and don't mention luck are kidding themselves Larry King

I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.

I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside.

I had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying: "Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250."

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 tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.

As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else.

They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends.

They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and miss other types of jobs.

Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for.

My research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four principles.

They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

Towards the end of the work, I wondered whether these principles could be used to create good luck.

I asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person.

Dramatic Results

These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck.

One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80% of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.

The lucky people had become even luckier and the unlucky had become lucky. Finally, I had found the elusive "luck factor".

Here are Professor Wiseman's four top tips for becoming lucky:

Listen to your gut instincts - they are normally right
Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine
Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well
Visualise yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call.
Luck is very often a self-fulfilling prophecy

Personally, I do not believe in luck. I believe in energy. The words luck and unlucky are but labels used for experiences that are otherwise unexplained rationally. I'd bet if Mr. Spock were sitting here, he'd agree with me saying that luck is illogical.

I find this study very interesting and commend Professor Richard Wiseman for his diligence researching such a slippery tomato seed. I can see his study explained clearly by metaphysics. Metaphysics is about energy and the belief that everything expresses energy. Like energy attracts like energy. If one is positive, with for example, a winner's belief, this individual is a candidate for Professor Wiseman's lucky people. Metaphysical philosophy purports that we create our reality. Everything is, after all, but a thought form. In my seminars, I teach applied metaphysics using casino games, a microcosm that exemplify the lessons from another dimension. Professor Wiseman's study may warrant more research, from my experience with luck or lack of luck, I would have to say that he is on to something.

I will address Professor Wiseman's four top tips for becoming lucky from a metaphysical point of view.

1.) "Listen to your gut instincts they are normally right."

The nerve to the heart also serves the stomach. There are researchers studying the heart brain connection ( that believe there are more "brain cells" in the heart than in the brain. That "gut feeling" is more than just a saying. The solar plexus is your power center and perhaps the strongest sensory relay of perceptive, etheric, (metaphysical) information. I believe that "gut intuition" is a perception of energy before it manifests in reality. I believe that energy is always true, not just "normally right". Perception of energy without judgement provides a powerful edge in the casino. It goes a long way in the guidance of right time and right place. If you are in the right place at the right time, is that luck or is it intuitive awareness and acting on the metaphysical information?

2.) "Be open to new experiences and breaking our normal routine."

The first thing that this suggests to me is a willingness to have experiences out of the comfort zone. I am not speaking of risks for the sake of gambling on an outcome. I do suggest the risk of choosing to go beyond one's self-limiting fears. Being out of the comfort zone helps to heighten one's energy by increasing their experiences. It helps break out of mediocrity in order to expanded the true authentic self. The authentic self is something new to me and yet familiar. In the last year, a friend in Las Vegas reminded me of whom I am, my spiritual essence. I am "a limitless spiritual being that has been beat down by the constraints of society, religion, government, school and negative emotion". My destiny is to be free. Hard to be free when one is scared to death to leave the comfort zone. Just outside the comfort zone is the "learning zone". If we are not learning we are not expanding and growing. Positive experiences seem to be drawn toward expansion rather than rigid contraction (like fearing to step outside of the comfort zone). My friend said, "Do what you fear the most. That is where your lessons hide"

3.) "Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well."

When I work with students, I show them things about affirmations, intentions, and how their word is their law. It is not about accidents or coincidence. Metaphysics is about the manifestation of intention. It is affirming a belief in self, of what is said, done and thought. A person can influence their destiny. What they think, say and do is directly proportional to what they experience in life, be it positive or negative. You could call it lucky or unlucky. It is imperative, that when intentions, or affirmations manifests, one is not surprised, but acknowledges the event as an _expression of their intention and their affirmed belief in themselves. Confirm the event. Own the experience. You build on the energy of self-empowerment through fulfillment and acknowledgment. Acknowledge all of the things that went well, according to your plan. Part of acknowledging events is giving gratitude. Although our action is necessary, it is also important to give credit to the higher energy force whatever you believe that to be.

There are no accidents or coincidence. If you believe in accidents, it probably explains your kind of "luck". Recognize and be willing to take responsibility for the events occurring in your life. Saying that an event is either positive-lucky or negative-unlucky, is only an opinion. Either one, in fact, is just an expression of your energy and focus at the time.

4.) "Visualise yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call. Luck is very often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Matthew Manning, a healer in the United Kingdom, has long used visualization with terminally ill cancer patients with amazing positive results. Research of Matthew's techniques, carried out in a cancer study at the Mind Science Foundation in San Antonio, Texas and the University of California, proved effective in the killing of cancer cells. Of course, pharmaceutical companies are unable to bottle mind exercises like pills, and Matthew went back to England.

The East German Olympic teams incorporated visualization along with their training. Seeing one's performance in the mind's eye seems to account for their overwhelming gold medal success.

In my seminars, I teach students to work with metaphysical energy by projecting their feelings ahead, into the future. I encourage students to see themselves receiving what they want delivered. The process of visualizing yourself being "lucky" is really a process of seeing yourself already succeeding, be it an important meeting, a telephone call or a gymnastic routine. Pushing ahead with your feelings, visualizing an event the way you want it to go, is a rehearsal. When you instill confidence, you increase your energy. You create a bigger energy with positive self-esteem. As you build your energy with intention and affirmed success, you catalyze or increase the propensity of having your desire manifest. If you say that it is a cloudy depressing day, you increase your probability of having a lousy and depressed day. When you say that life is great, and it is a wonderful day, you increase your probability of experiencing a glorious day.

Nowhere in the controls of our education, religion, government or culture, are we encouraged to discover that we do have a freedom of choice in our life. We have a responsibility to empower ourselves first. In doing so, we can then go forward and empower others. However, an empowered person is not what the "powers-that-be" want. After all, it is easier to manipulate individuals that are fearful, blaming, complaining, and irresponsible. Having a population with a mind-set of being lucky or unlucky is preferred so that the people do not expand with thoughts of empowerment and spiritual freedom.

The concept of luck encourages a passive attitude toward life sort of creating a victim's mode where things "just happen". It belittles active involvement in your experience and the feeling that you can meet life. You can have charge of your life's destiny. Just by your ability to lean one way or the other, your life is changed and your destiny influenced. Are we are twigs, drifting in the river of life, with only a glimmer of hope for the luck of not being caught up in a snag. Not me, I choose not to be a victim. I believe in taking up an active role with a paddle. Push to shove, I'll be splashing with both hands to keep myself moving free in the current of my destiny.

So, to paraphrase "Dirty Harry", "I know what you're thinking. Did I fire six rounds or did I fire five. In all the confusion of the excitement, I really don't know myself. So, you have to ask yourself, are you feeling lucky?"

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