Tuesday, 17 March 2009

How lucky are you?

Ever since I was very young, I have had an interest in psychology. For a long time, I thought that was what I wanted to read at University as at that time I understood it to be the study of people. When I looked into it more, it seemed much too scientific for a girl who had no science beyond O level. I almost took Chemistry A level until the teachers baulked at my other two A level choices - History and French.

It was with great interest that I responded to a suggestion to attend the Psychology for All conference last Saturday. It was also a thrill to contemplate a whole day devoted to my own personal development without two young children in tow. I was not disappointed. It was such a smorgasbord of ideas, my mind is still reeling from the impact several days later. I would like to share highlights from the keynote speech.

Richard Wiseman who opened the conference was a delight. He has spent many years looking at luck to find out whether it is as some believe down to random chance or whether there is a more rational explanation to it. What is amazing is that a ten year study he conducted with 400 people chosen at random shows that we can all become “luckier” if we choose. The key seems to be the development of a positive mental attitude. Everyone experiences tough times and set backs but it is all about how we process these – those that consider themselves lucky are likely to look at any situation and see what is good in it and consider themselves lucky because it could have been worse. Another of Wiseman's principles is that lucky people tend to create opportunities and are open to seeing the opportunities in whatever situation they find themselves in. They tend to court change and variety in their lives as a way of breaking daily routines. They also have flexibility of thought which is valuable when in a tough place. In short the good news is that we can all bring more luck into our lives through the way we behave and think. Wiseman took his experiment further by creating “Luck School” to see if people could be taught how to become luckier and the good news is that with a few simple exercises, we can all become luckier. One of these is to keep a luck diary and to notice at least three lucky things each day. Participants of Wiseman's study claimed to feel luckier as a result of going through luck school so why don't you try keeping a luck diary and observe what happens.