“Luck is when opportunity knocks and you answer.” Author Unknown
Franklin, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/01/2011 -- It is striking that most languages around the world have words or phrases meaning “Good Luck.” In Norwegian we would say “Lykke til,” in Russian, “Udachi” and in Chinese, “Fu.” “Good Luck” is a universal sentiment of wishing another good fortune or a successful outcome.
Some people claim they have mostly bad luck; saying things like, “with my luck the train will go off the track” and other predictions of a negative outcome. Some individuals consider themselves lucky, others not so lucky and some believe there is no such thing as luck.
Most cultures have traditions or superstitions of things which bring either bad or good luck. Walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, a black cat crossing your path, four leaf clovers are Western symbols of future fortune. Cultures differ on what is and isn’t lucky. Chirping crickets are good luck in many cultures and some think it bad luck to kill them. This may stem from earlier times when families depended on crickets to warn them of danger. At night, if crickets suddenly stopped chirping, something was amiss.
Some seem blessed with good luck and fortune. Others don’t understand why so many unlucky things happen to them. To some there is no such thing as good luck but most of us would accept it if it came. Gordon admits he equates cardinals with good fortune. Marcia prefers the small blue birds. Until recently only limited research had been done on ‘luck.’ What brings us good fortune?
We were at a market in Florida when we noticed a book on “The Luck Factor” by Richard Wiseman. “You can have that for a few dollars,” the vender said. Wiseman, author of “The Luck Factor,” is a psychologist and professor at the University of Hertfordshire in Britain, where he holds the chair in Public Understanding in Psychology. He did extensive studies on those who define themselves as lucky or unlucky. According to him, “Lucky people meet their perfect partners, achieve their lifelong ambitions, find fulfilling careers, and have happy and meaningful lives.”
Wiseman found major differences between the way lucky and unlucky people approach life. People who defined themselves as lucky expected good things to happen. Optimism, he found, creates its own reality. Unlucky people did not expect things to turn out well and tended to create the reality of things not going well. Do we all have an inner thermostat which regulates how much good fortune we expect and can accept?
According to Wiseman’s research lucky people have larger networks of friends and are more inclined to talk with strangers. If you are in a waiting room do you talk with others? When we are open to new experiences and people we get new ideas, new job opportunities and more inspiration for creativity. Lucky people are more likely to act on new opportunities and are more likely to follow their gut feelings about a situation, according to Wiseman’s research.
The most compelling finding was how lucky and unlucky people dealt with misfortune. Lucky people viewed difficulties as short term and moved ahead, believing they could overcome any adversity. Their glass was half full instead of half empty.
Marcia’s grandmother, Ola Cheek, had a favorite saying; “I tried to look for the good.” She believed in looking for the good in everyone and everything. The irony of looking for good is that even though there is bad stuff, we also find the good stuff. In life it is what we dwell on that matters.
While a young child, Marcia remembers her grandmother teaching her to look for four leaf clovers. It seemed impossible at first as the yard was a carpet of three leaf clover. Her grandmother had a quiet certainty that four leaf clovers were there. Marcia remembers….they always found them.
What we focus on in life expands.....especially good fortune!
Gordon Mercer is international president of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and a professor at Western Carolina University. Marcia Mercer is a writer and columnist. Her new children’s book, “When I Woke up the World Was Yellow” will be out in 2011. Go to http://9955.hostednr.com to get to our Global Digital Post Press Room. The Global Digital Post is a global column. Views expressed in this column are the views of the authors and do not reflect the views of other organizations.