How to Have Great Luck

Were you born under a lucky star? Or maybe you’re having a Friday the 13th kind of life. It turns out having good luck isn’t just a matter of, well, luck. This week, Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen examines the science of getting lucky (no, not that kind of getting lucky).

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD,
August 11, 2017
Episode #165

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Lucky Tip #2: Know that luck isn’t permanent.

Okay, so we’ve just established that believing you’re lucky is an essential first step to actually being lucky.

But can it go too far? Yes, indeed. One example is problem gambling. One study from Chung Ang University in South Korea, where the prevalence of gambling addiction is a whopping 7.2% (compared to about 1% in the U.S.), showed that individuals with a gambling problem have a greater tendency to believe being lucky is an internal, stable factor.

Also, another way they pushed their luck (ha-ha again) was in their tendency to engage in what’s called counterfactual thinking, which is when we imagine other outcomes for things that have already happened by chance. It’s a combination of hindsight and the illusion of control and is well-named in that it runs “counter to the facts.” For example, after a win, an individual with a gambling problem might say, “If only I had bet more, I would have won a lot more.” Then they might start betting more, thus increasing their risk without necessarily improving their odds.

Therefore, it’s important to hold the right mindset about luck. Think about it this way: Luck is different than destiny. It’s not fixed. It’s not now and forever. Saying “I’m unlucky in love” or “I’m a lucky guy when it comes to the blackjack table,” views luck as a permanent state, which can get you in trouble.

Think about it this way: Luck is different than destiny. It’s not fixed.

At the same time, as shown by the golfing study we talked about, psychologically, luck isn’t totally random. It’s not just chance.

Therefore, instead of thinking of luck as chance, think of luck as a chance. Luck sets you up, but you take it on home. Fate may seat you next to a handsome stranger in class, but you decide whether or not to say hi. Superstition may make you wary after a black cat crosses your path on the street, but you make the decision to avoid your shortcut through the dark alley this time around. Luck may cause the flat tire that strands you next to the house for sale, but you decide to knock on the door to inquire about buying it.

In short, you make your own luck by being open and willing to take a leap of faith. When it comes to improving your luck, I wish you...good luck! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.


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