Luck Would Have It...

So I'm a total goon for off-beat research, and Dr. Richard Wiseman is manufacturing my drug of choice with his Luck Project. I'm reading his book entitled "The Luck Factor" which basically states that luck is derived from's not just random chance or fate. How can he say such a thing? Cuz he's studied it in many different ways!

The book is a bit homogenized for the mass audiences, true. And some of his data comes from small sample sizes and anecdotes, but think about it...luck is like creativity. You know it when you see it. You don't need to always quantify it or parse through it to it's smallest denominator.

I love this stuff. I'm reading this book today and, this is just like Albert Bandura's Reciprocal Determinism. Bandura is a living genius of psychology who theorizes that people's social behavior are comprised of our thoughts, behaviors, and the enviornment. All of these aspects influence one another. If I'm going to a party and think it will be awesome, those thoughts will likely cause me to be more social and seek fun. If I'm more fun and social, people will want to hang out with me. The enviornment then reinforces my thoughts of how great this party is which makes me party harder. All the aspects drive our personality. Wonderful stuff!

So how does this link up to the book of luck? To paraphrase, Wiseman states that people who tend to be lucky are more extroverted, open to new experiences, exude social magnetism, and maximize chance opportunities around them. There's so much more to this, but think about it. To an extent, we can train ourselves to be more lucky in life! It's all about our thoughts, our behaviors, and how we seek out cues from our environment.

In other words, attitude is key. Like many things, we have the power to control some of the luck that happens to us. I like that idea.

What implications do I foresee? Why, thanks for asking me, me. I could see how this impacts parenting and education. It would be refreshing to breathe change into the stale curriculum of our nation's schools. Just look at the statistics on time spent learning vocational skills, how many students report school as boring, and money spent on education. The data is telling. Recalling my education, we spent little, if any, time learning about learning styles and what fit each of us. The value of life skills is as critical as formal knowledge. I spend many years relearning the same information. Wouldn't it have been great to learn about my interests actively? Explore the world outside instead of from a classroom?

My suggestion is this -- it's important what we tell children and how we interact with them, be it in matters of luck, self-confidence, math equations, or literacy. I always say it's not what you do but how you do it. As parents and educators, I envision a world where we encourage children to be active agents and conscious explorers. It's not an easy shift, but the good ones rarely are.

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