by Richard Webster
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
People have always been fascinated by luck, and throughout history, numerous methods have been devised to try to entice good luck. Luck explains how one person experiences a series of fortunate opportunities while someone else with equal abilities does not. Luck can be fickle, too. Someone can be lucky one day, and unlucky the next. Some people are lucky in certain areas of their lives, and unlucky in others. It’s a rare person who experiences a constant stream of good luck.
About thirty years ago, I met a man who told me was never lucky. Everything he attempted failed, and he thought it was a waste of effort to try anything as fate always conspired against him. I’ve thought about him often over the years. I found him fascinating, as I was convinced his own thoughts were creating his apparent bad luck. If I hadn’t met him, I may never have become interested in the subject of luck. Consequently, meeting him was probably a lucky day for me.
Like everyone else, I’ve had my share of ups and downs as I’ve progressed through life. However, I’ve always considered myself a lucky person, as I expect good luck to occur. Not long ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was about to start writing a book on a particular subject. He told me that he knew someone who had been involved in the subject of my book for many years, and would I like to meet him? That was a lucky moment for me, as my chance remark led to a meeting with a charming man who gave me several excellent ideas for my book. I’ve had many experiences of this sort over the years.
I don’t believe that luck is totally random, and therefore unpredictable. Our luck, good and bad, is determined by the way we lead our lives. I have a friend who is a striking example of this. He spent many years as an extremely successful car thief. While he was in prison, he thought about his life, and how he wanted it to be. When he was released, his old friends tried to get him back into a life of crime. He resisted that, and spent many years struggling to build up an honest business. Today he’s a successful businessman, and spends half his time speaking to young people who are at risk of entering into a life of dishonesty. He considers himself an extremely lucky man, as he’s in a position to help others because of his life experiences. He even considers his time in prison to be lucky, as it forced him to re-evaluate his life.
For thousands of years, people have tried to gain good luck, and to ward off bad luck, by carrying lucky charms and performing different rituals. I’ve found that all of these work, as long as you believe they will. I’m always luckier when I carry a lucky charm with me. However, I don’t believe that good luck is imbued in the charm. I’m luckier on those occasions, because the charm makes me think of luck, and how lucky I am. Because I feel lucky, I act accordingly, and matters tend to go my way. Many people throughout history have worn good luck charms. President Theodore Roosevelt carried a lucky rabbit’s foot, Emperor Napoleon had a lucky coin, and President Barack Obama has several good luck charms, including a bracelet that belonged to a soldier deployed in Iraq, a tiny Madonna and child, and a miniature monkey god.
There is even scientific evidence that lucky charms work. A 2003 university study conducted by Dr. Richard Wiseman in the United Kingdom demonstrated that people who carry lucky charms not only feel lucky, but also become luckier. In an experiment at the University of Cologne, twenty-eight students were told to bring their lucky charms to the university with them. They were all taken away to be photographed, but only half were returned. The students were told the photographer was having a problem and their charms would be returned later. The students then participated in a memory test that involved matching cards on a computer. The students who had their lucky charms with them did better in the test than the other students. This demonstrates that people believe in their lucky charms, and it is this belief that makes them work.
365 Ways to Attract Good Luck is divided into four parts. The first part discusses how you can attract good luck by changing your attitude and approach to life. I’d love the person who told me he was never lucky to read this section of the book. Part two looks at traditional ways to attract good luck, such as magical words, lucky charms, and gemstones. You’ll find these interesting to experiment with, and I’m sure you’ll find, as I do, that you’ll become luckier once you start using them. Part three covers ways to create luck in love, marriage, and the home. For many people, this will be the most important part of the book, as good luck in these areas creates a happy life. This section also covers timing, which has an important part to play in good luck. The fourth part looks at folk traditions concerning luck. It also discusses luck in Asia, a part of the world where people have been examining ways to attract good luck for thousands of years.
If you don’t feel lucky, act as if you are. This is an example of “fake it until you make it.” If you do this, you’ll develop a positive outlook on life, which will attract good luck. Your attitude has a vital role to play in receiving good luck. Almost thirty years ago, Dr. Martin Seligman conducted a series of experiments with the salespeople at Metropolitan Life Insurance. He believed that optimists would make better salespeople than pessimists. In their first year as salespeople the optimists outsold the pessimists by eight percent, and this increased to thirty percent in the second year. I’m sure the pessimists attributed the success of the optimists to nothing more than good luck. It’s a striking demonstration of how “lucky” a positive outlook on life can be. Good luck!
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2014. All rights reserved.