Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Do you believe in luck?

I have just started the 'Go Luck Yourself' course at Buck's New University (online) and session 1 has got me thinking about luck.  I am a big believer in luck and completely believe if you think you are lucky then you are.  Just by thinking you are lucky you attract and notice things that you may have ignored before.  It's like the change in your mindset has attracted more luck in your life not from some strange external force but instead because you are opened to the opportunities placed in front of you and more willing to grab them with both hands.  I have read numerous self help books from Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich to Normal Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking and all these great thinkers say the same thing, providing us with the same message.  You have to believe you are lucky to actually be lucky.  Likewise, if you consider yourself unlucky you will be because your thinking makes it so.  

A large part of positive psychology is gratitude and I have learned more and more the deep connection between gratitude and luck.  People who are grateful consider themselves and experiences to be lucky - why? Simple, they are grateful even when things don't go their way.  For example, when my mum rang from Scotland to tell me my aunt was in hospital I went to bed that night and thought how grateful I was that she was safe and in the best possible place with doctors and nurses to look after her and make sure she got better.  I remember thinking how lucky we are to live in a country with a national health service yet other people may have considered this news as bad news or bad luck.  For me this is an exciting concept that simply by changing the way we think about things allows us to feel better not only about the situation but also about ourselves.  

I read a wonderful book a number of years ago by Bill Cullen called, 'Golden Apples'.  In it he wrote a lot about luck and told his readers that he was born in a caul.  This is when a baby is born inside the amniotic sack which remains intact after birth.  Children born in a 'caul' are considered worldwide to be lucky since this occurrence happens less than one in every one thousand births therefore these children are considered rare, special and forever protected.  Tails of children being born in a caul have appeared in literature throughout the years dating right back to the bible.  David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens, has his caul auctioned off as a talisman to protect against drowning.  Bill Cullen's caul was sold to fisherman who believed if they carried the caul in their boat they would never drown.  However, another thing Bill Cullen said was that from the minute he was born he was told constantly by his parents and relatives that he was lucky.  It didn't take long for him to believe it and today he continues to consider himself lucky because of this.  Nevertheless we must consider is he really lucky because he was born in a caul or is Bill lucky because he was told he was lucky.  Is it a self fulfilling prophecy.

Therefore,  the moral of the story is it seems we have two choices, either we consider ourselves to be lucky or unlucky.  I know which one I choose and as a parent I tell my children every day they are lucky so that they too will develop the luck mindset and be open to the opportunities placed in front of them every day.  Derran Brown aired a programme a few years ago about luck and he conducted an experiment in a little village.  He placed a statue of a dog in the local park and made up a story informing locals that if you pat the dog it will bring you luck. Surprisingly, after patting the dog nearly everyone in the village reported something they would consider to be lucky happening to them as a result. Derron Brown also focused on a butcher in the village who had always considered himself to be unlucky.  He placed a £50 on the floor outside his shop one morning which the butcher completely missed. He had a survey take place outside his shop where all you had to do was answer one question and you would win £50 if you answered it correctly - he choose not to participate, what was the question?  Name three cuts of beef, a guaranteed £50 for the butcher but he didn't take the opportunity.  

Grasp the opportunities you have before you and always consider yourself to be lucky.  The positive effect this will have on your life will be amazing and before long you will feel luckier and good things will come your way.

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