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EDITIONS
 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 02:25 GMT
How to be lucky
Dice
Being positive can improve luck
It appears that people who tell you to "look on the bright side" are right - according to a psychologist who says it makes you luckier in life.

Richard Wiseman has spent eight years investigating why some people appear to be consistently lucky or unlucky.

He said it is not intelligence or psychic ability, but a person's approach to life that matters, and he has devised four principles of luck.

One is to expect good fortune, which he says is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The others are :-

  • Maximise your chances of something good happening by creating, noticing and acting on opportunities,
  • Listen to "gut feelings" and act on "hunches" about people or situations,
  • Cope with bad luck and turn it around by imaging how things could have been worse, or looking at what could be done about the problem.

Luck lessons

For the last year, Dr Wiseman, who runs a research unit at the University of Hertfordshire, has run a "Luck School" to see if he could teach unlucky people to be lucky using the four principles.

Tracey Hart
It's being positive about everything you do, rather than looking for bad luck to come your way

Tracey Hart
He estimates he has been successful in around 80% of cases. Around 70 people have been through the school so far.

The change in luck has continued after people finished the month-long course.

Dr Wiseman, who has written a book outlining his principles, told BBC News Online: "Not everything is under control. But a lot more is about your way of thinking and behaving."

He added: "I don't think there are any quick fixes. You can't just say 'cheer up'. The whole thing is about looking at living in different ways."

And he said: "If people do want to change their luck, now's a good time of year to do it."

'It could have been worse'

Tracey Hart says she has had her luck changed by the luck school.

Before she took part, she had to cope with five deaths of friends, relatives and pets in close succession.

She was prone to accidents and unhappy in her personal life.

But since the luck school, she says she has started winning regularly at bingo and on the National Lottery, and been able to have a more positive outlook on life.

She told the BBC: "Before, bad luck never came in threes, it came in nines, 12s or 15s.

"Now, if something bad happens, I think of it as good luck, as it could have been worse.

"It's being positive about everything you do, rather than looking for bad luck to come your way."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Christine McGourty
"Positive thinking won't help you win the lottery but it could transform your life"
  The BBC's Pallab Ghosh
"Lucky people make their own luck"
  Dr Richard Wiseman
"Lucky people have a completely different way of looking at the world"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Talking Point: LuckFeeling lucky?
Do we make our own luck or does it find us?
See also:

27 Sep 01 | Health
12 Dec 02 | Business
03 Oct 02 | Health
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