Luck in the Eye of the Beholder

Rebecca–Rabbits-Card for Annie’s Bday

Sometimes when “good” things happen to us we feel like we had have stroke of good luck–we find a hundred dollar bill, we’re running late for an interview but we hit a string of green lights and find a parking spot right in front of the job site, we are in “the right place at the right time”.  And then we may feel unlucky when we hit roadblocks–our flight gets cancelled on our way to visit family, we don’t get the job that we had been hoping for, we lose something important to us.

Research into “luck” suggests that luck has less to do with encountering “good fortune” than how we interpret and respond to whatever it is that we encounter.  Lucky people are inherently optimistic-they own the good and don’t own the bad.  They expect and are attuned to positivity and they mine for positive meaning within their difficulties. 

Psychologists who have studied lucky people determined that although lucky people also experience misfortune, they respond differently to hardship. They persist in the face of setbacks and, although they may struggle, they turn “bad” fortune into “good” fortune by finding positive meaning in the difficulties they have experienced.    

Lucky people imagine how things could have been worse, and they consider themselves fortunate for the “blessings” that they still possess. They develop gratitude for the good things, big and small, that they are blessed with.

So, if you are not born lucky, how do you get lucky?

Two ways that have worked for us:

1) Make a list of 3 ways that you were “unlucky” today and find a positive benefit that came out of this misfortune.

2) Think of 3 blessings in your life.  Write or make art work about why these things were good.  For a useful handout on using visual gratitude journaling to change our perspective, download this Gratitude Handout.

In good and bad fortune, Rebecca and Gioia