Ah, those New Year’s resolutions. I have a love/hate relationship with them – I don’t think they are helpful but can’t seem to help setting them year after year. I find great joy in the planning and little to like in the execution. This year I believe I’ve had a minor epiphany. What do we call those who never need to diet? Who seem to be able to eat whatever they want and stay slim? How about those who are financially blessed, whether through birth or work or lottery? How about those blessed with robust health? We call these folks lucky.
What if you could set a New Year’s resolution to be lucky? With little stretch of the imagination, it seems to cover all the typical resolutions with none of the pesky follow-through. Seems to be a silly resolution though; you can’t just decide to change your luck. Or can you?
Turns out there is a ton of research about luck. What the researchers have found is, basically, that people who are considered (or who consider themselves) lucky help increase their chances of achieving good luck.
Consider the story of Frane Selak from Croatia. In 1962 he was on a train that derailed and plunged into an icy river. Seventeen people drowned but he survived. Three years later he was ejected from a plane shortly before it crashed. He landed safely in a haystack. In 1968 a bus he was on fell into a river. In 1970 his car caught fire and exploded seconds after he escaped. Amazingly enough, three years later the same thing happened again. He was hit by a bus in 1995. He survived another car wreck in 1996. So was he lucky to survive all these experiences or unlucky to have had them in the first place? Before you decide you need to know that he won a lottery of over $1,000,000 in 2003. He says, “You could look at it two ways. I was either the unluckiest man in the world or the luckiest. I preferred to believe the latter.”
So how can we improve our luck? Science-backed research suggests that people who are considered lucky actually help increase their chances of achieving good luck. How? They put themselves in situations where they can be lucky. Science tells us that pessimistic people tend to avoid uncertain situations and optimistic people do not. We know we can’t win the lottery unless we play, but we should also go on that blind date, attend that event where we don’t know anyone, sign up for that class.
Optimism and a willingness to put themselves out there seem to be the defining characteristics of “lucky” people. A few others are a willingness to trust their instincts and intuition, a way of looking at situations that turns what some would see as a disadvantage into an advantage, a tendency to be open to opportunities, and an affinity for “lucky charms.” Remember that Michael Jordan wore his 1982 UNC college shorts under his NBA shorts in every NBA game he played in and believed they brought him good luck.
My New Year’s resolution for 2022 is to be lucky. Who knows if I will improve my luck, but I like my chances, which seems to be the key to good luck! Happy New Year!
Christina Pierce is the publisher at Hattiesburg Publishing, which produces The Pine Belt News and Signature Magazine.