What is Luck Scientifically? Look Closely at These Four Principles

Do you ever wonder why some people seem to be so lucky? While others never seem to hit the mark? What exactly is luck, scientifically?

I’ve done some research, and what I’ve found might surprise you. Luck isn’t something elusive that only certain people can access. Luck occurs where “preparation meets opportunity,” according to Oprah. Yes, divine interventions can appear on our behalf, but the preparation leading up to those moments opens the door to the opportunity awaiting us on the other side.

Richard Wiseman, the author of The Luck Factor, is an expert on this topic. He has identified many qualities that “lucky people” embody. His theory is that “Lucky people generate their good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophecies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

I want to take a closer look at all four of these principles. Let’s get started:

large dinner party - expand luck opportunity

1. Maximize chance opportunities to increase your luck factor scientifically.

Wiseman states that we can increase our probability of having chance encounters when we widen our networks. Opening our bandwidth to others seems to make perfect sense. Luck can’t strike when we shield ourselves and hide from the world.

A general sense of openness seems to be required. Another interesting theory suggests that it’s not merely about nurturing and supporting your current friend group but about expanding your network to include others with whom you may have “weak ties” – people you connect with infrequently.

Co-authors Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh state, “Interestingly, it’s the weak ties that usually matter, whether you’re looking to land a potential mate or a new job in digital media. You and your best friends already know most of the same people—you have “overlapping social circles,” as the sociologists like to say.”

Being more open to “weak ties” is a way to tap into other resources that may be only one or two degrees away from you. So, we need to stay open!

The description of nurturing acquaintances reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘connector.’ You never know when you might meet that one person who can open the perfect door for you. Mindfully staying open to meeting new people and tending to “weak ties” in your network can increase your lucky odds exponentially.

2. Tune in and listen to your intuition to scientifically boost your lucky vibes.

Okay, this sounds great, but how do we go about doing this? Dr. Christina Bjorndal has some advice. She advises us to slow down and become still, learn to reconnect to our body, and listen to messages from our hearts.

Tuning in is going to take some practice. So many of us, including myself, are continually at the mercy of our monkey minds. We’re under the siege of continual meaningless chatter about this and that. Becoming still can be a challenge.

The voice of intuition is soft and quiet – and can be overwhelmed by our louder mental noise.

Now and then, I enroll in a Kundalini yoga program. Every time, I’m amazed to learn from my teachers that the center of will and decision-making is in my gut. It’s mindblowing to think that we (as a society) don’t generally acknowledge this as being valid. We create all kinds of lists of pros and cons when the answer often quietly resides in our gut the whole time.

One other thing, intuition may present as the slightest inclination, like “Maybe I really should go to that party tonight.” Or, “Even though everyone is telling me to go to this event, I’m feeling drawn to go to this other one.” Our bodies know more than we think, and with practice, we can tune in and tap into our intuition. Luck and intuition are scientifically connected.

3. Expect positive outcomes, and watch your lucky stars shine!

There is so much research clearly showing the benefits of a positive mindset. New age experts often share stories on how our energy is the best predictor of our outcomes.

Tony Robbins says, “Prime yourself for success by first taking a few minutes to visualize your success. Then make it compelling by writing down the reasons you MUST make it that way. Imagine the way you will feel if that is your future. Finally, anchor this in your body by standing up and celebrating!”

When we visualize the highest outcomes and emotionally embrace and experience the result before it happens, we are way ahead of the curve. Our energy is in alignment with the highest outcome, drawing it closer to us.

According to Wiseman, “On average, lucky people thought that there was about a 90 percent chance of having a great time on their next holiday, (and) an 84 percent chance of achieving at least one of their lifetime ambitions.”

Wiseman’s research assures us that lucky people expect better outcomes and are far more likely to achieve them. Expecting and imagining positive results scientifically increases our odds of attracting luck.

Resilience - lone vine in morning light

4. Turn bad luck into good by seeking more resilience within.

Not everything goes as we want all the time, but lucky people seem to move forward swiftly and with more ease.

Wiseman states that lucky people have more mental and emotional faculties at their fingertips and can work through setbacks more easily.

Positive psychology writer Jessica Glazer says, “Lucky people often look for silver linings when things go wrong. Rather than ruminating on what didn’t work out, they are more likely to rely on an internal locus of control and take steps to eliminate future disappointment. “

Building strategies to override negative spiraling when things go wrong is vital. Wasting time overthinking what went wrong doesn’t bring you closer to your dream “lucky” opportunity. Adjusting course, finding a new plan, and moving forward all move you closer to the lucky zone.

In Summary:

Research shows that luck isn’t a woo-woo term only afforded to certain people. Instead, we co-create our lives minute to minute with the choices we make every single day. A commitment to sticking to these principles can put us in the target range of luck striking us at any moment.

Excellent news for those of us who don’t consider ourselves “born lucky.” No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we can align with a more luck-oriented way of being. Luck is scientifically linked to choices we make day to day. Incorporate these strategies, and let me know what happens!

Keep me posted! I’d love to hear any thoughts or tips you might have!

Also, please share this story with someone who needs a dose of luck today.


Ps: Although I feel lucky that I met my husband when I did, it wasn’t all luck looking more closely. It was preparation meeting opportunity. Are you open to attracting love?  Read and discover how you can increase your chances of meeting a person who is perfect for you.

(This post was originally published on April 14, 2021, and has been updated for thoroughness.)

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  1. […] a recent story, I wrote about the science of luck, and I was surprised to learn about the many advantages of having acquaintances in our lives. By […]

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