Saturday, January 07, 2017

Book: The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman


I know, I know, I keep breaking my vow not to read 'improving', life-hacky books like these. My excuse this time around is that the book cost me a mere £1 from the charity shop. Also, Richard Wiseman is a pretty cool cat and he writes well. Check out his Youtube channel here. Despite the cheesy cover of this book, The Luck turned out to be very insightful.

Notes from the book

Throw a lucky man in the sea and he will come up with a fish in his mouth - Arab proverb

Some of the biggest fools I know are the wealthiest. As a matter of fact, I believe that success is 95 percent luck and 5 percent ability. Take my own case. I know that there are any number of men in my employ who could run my business just as well as I can. They didn’t get the breaks — that’s the only difference between them and me. - Julius Rosenwald, past president of Sears, Roebuck and Company

Luck exerts a dramatic influence over our lives. A few seconds of bad luck can unravel years of striving, whilst a moment of good luck can lead to success and happiness.

Luck example: Maureen Wilcox bought lottery for the Rhode Island and Massachusetts lotteries. She got the winning numbers for both tickets but on they were on the wrong tickets.

Luck example: Donald Smith won the Wisconsin State Lottery three times (the chances of winning even once is over one in a million)

Luck example: Fleming discovers penicillin by chance. A piece of mould fell into an uncovered petri dish, killing the bacteria he was studying. He went on to identify the substance and discovered antibiotics.

Luck example: Mel Gibson is attacked on the street the night before his audition for Mad Max. He turns up looking battered and tired and is immediately offered the part.

A thought while reading: Significant random events early in a person's life can be a big shaper of their outlook and of their future.

Each one of us could tell stories of how crucial, unplanned events have had a major career impact and how untold thousands of minor unplanned events have had at least a small impact. Influential unplanned events are not uncommon; they are everyday occurrences. ...Serendipity is ubiquitous. (me - it's always there, in the possibility spectrum, life is a series of lucky and unlucky breaks. The dice is always being rolled).

To many, this (the roll of luck in our lives) is terrifying. Most people like to think that they are in control of their future. ...this feeling of control is an illusion. Luck makes a mockery of even our best intentions. It has the power to change everything...Any time, any place and without warning.

Lucky people..happened to live lives that were peppered with chance encounters.

Being lucky and unlucky is not related to intelligence.

Do lucky and unlucky people approach life in the same way? Lucky people's expectation of winning the lottery was much higher than unlucky people, according to Wiseman's study. '"When it comes to random events like the lottery, such expectations count for little. Someone with a high expectation of winning will do as well as someone with a low expectation. However, life is not a lottery. Often, our expectations make a difference. They make a difference to whether we try something, how hard we persist in the face of failure, how we interact with others and how others interact with us."

PRINCIPLE ONE - Maximise your Opportunities - Lucky people create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their life.'If you don't enter (the competition), you've no chance of winning'.

1. Lucky people build and maintain a strong network: Robert really enjoys meeting people and spending time with them, and the more people he meets, the greater his chances of coming into contact with someone who can have a beneficial effect on his life. ... Perhaps not surprisingly, far more extraverts than introverts are 'social magnets'. ...They are easy to get to know and most people like them.  ...This creates a massive 'network of luck' and a huge potential for chance opportunities.

Same opportunities, different lives.

The lucky people smiled twice as much...and engaged in far more eye contact. ...Lucky people tend to engage in three times as much 'open' body language as unlucky people.

Luck is believing you're lucky - Tennessee Williams

Strategies - Initiate conversations with people who look friendly and approachable. Be authentic and natural. Asking for something (e.g. time, where they bought some clothing, etc? as ice breakers). Don't be afraid of rejection. There are lots of people out there. Play the contact game.


2. Lucky people have a relaxed attitude towards life. Quite often, we are simply unaware of the opportunities that surround us because we are too focused looking for something else.  Lucky people ...by not trying too hard, end up being able to see more.

Lucky people have lower neuroticism scores than unlucky people.

Strategies: meditation, try looking at the world through the eyes of a child - without expectations and prejudice. Have fun.

3. Lucky people are open to new experiences in their lives.
Strategies - shop in different places, choose a colour and speak to people wearing that colour (a game for yourself at social occasions), roll a dice to choose an option of a list.

Nobody gets justice. People get good or bad luck - Orson Welles


PRINCIPLE TWO - Listen to Your Lucky Hunches

We are conscious of only a tiny fragment of the factor that influence the way we think, decide and behave. Instead, we are often driven by our unconscious. (e.g. judging people).

Strategies: Boost intuition by: meditation, returning to the problem later, clearing the mind, finding a quiet place.

PRINCIPLE THREE - Expect Good Fortune

Lucky people expect the sun will always shine on them, while unlucky people expect storm clouds to gather in their personal and professional lives.

Lucky people see any bad luck in their lives as being very short lived. ..in doing so, they are able to maintain their expectations of a bright and happy future.

..the unlucky expectations held by unlucky people resulted in them being especially ineffectual at getting what they wanted from life. (e.g. I know I will never find a job and so never really try to get one anymore.) Expectations are transformed into realities.

Lucky people expect their interactions with others to be lucky and successful (me - the payoffs are not linear but chaotic - enjoy the process)

Lucky and unlucky people seem to be living in different worlds.

Strategies:
- Affirm your luck (e.g. say out loud 'I am a lucky person and today is going to be another lucky day')
- Think about all your goals in all aspects of your life: next month (short), 6 months (medium), and 1 year (long-term). Take it one step at a time. These are your expectations for the future. > Attempt to achieve your goals even if your chances of success seem slim and persevere in the face of failure.
- For motivation: do a cost (actions required, time) benefits analysis and keep adding to the list as you go. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
- Me: think of it as a game.
- Me: think of the CBA from the perspective of the process, not just the outcome.

PRINCIPLE FOUR- Turn Your Bad Luck into Good Luck

See the positive side of bad luck. Soften the blows by considering that it could have been worse, can learn from it, taking the long view, necessity is the mother of invention, etc.

Create a phoenix from the ashes (turned down for a job, well there may be a better one around the corner).

Approach the bad luck with a positive mindset - learn from it, take constructive steps to prevent more bad luck in the future. 

My acronym: ELBO

Expectations - expect good fortune
Listen - to hunches
Bad luck - turn to good
Opportunities - maxmise

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