The Luck Factor

By Daniel de la Cruz
Chief Learner @ Polymensa

The whole Steven Bartlett / Social Chain story really got me thinking about "luck" this week. And my thoughts didn't lead me down whether some people are more lucky than others. But more down that thing we often call a "self-fulfilling prophecy" - I know, here we go again, but this time some research that proves there's something to this (because like you I was sceptical and wanted proof)...

In my exploration I found this guy called Dr. Richard Wiseman, who ran a study to see what makes some people "feel" lucky and others not so much. 

Richard surveyed more than 400 people, who were classified as either "lucky" or "unlucky". Not really sure how he did that classification exactly?

Each person was instructed to read a newspaper. On one page, there was an advertisement written in bold letters that read "Notify the experimenter of this advertisement to win £250." The results showed that those who considered themselves lucky were more likely to spot the ad, while those who perceived themselves as unlucky displayed a higher degree of anxiety which negatively impacted their ability to spot the ad.

I definitely think that my overconfidence has got me in a pickle many times. Recently I was surfing and thought I'd manage those 3 metre waves, surf them like a pro - fuck I did! But I can't help but wanting to believe in this experiment, more than reject it.
It seems more optimistic. More hopeful. And allows me to be more grateful of the good things that do happen in my life. Most importantly open my senses to my whole surrounding (not just what's immediately in front of me) - allow serendipity.

I recently had a client who I sent a calendar invite to catch up on a specific date with the description text:

"And putting this in here for the universe :))) 
When we next catch up, ACME will have signed agreements with you to start work." + 3 other points.

We were catching up at 4pm that day and at 8am the same day ACME approved the Statement Of Work. 2 out of the 3 other points came a reality too.

Would this have happened if I wouldn't have felt lucky? Is survivorship bias blinding me? Who knows? But when I feel lucky I definitely am more observant of the environment I'm in...

Just like I found this pretty unique stool TODAY, made of Alentejo Cork. It was right next to the toilet of the Airbnb I am staying in - I only just discovered it even though I've already lived here for 2 weeks! Clearly had crap luck 🥁

Cork Stool

Oh and if you fancy reading Richard Wiseman's full analysis of luck, you can do that here.


The Rabbit Hole: VSauce

If you're into the big questions like:

What if everyone jumped at once?
Is your red the same as my red?
Which way is down?

Then you'll love VSauce, be warned, it's very addictive!

Peak down the rabbit hole