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You’ve heard about being mindfully happy. But what about being mindfully lucky?
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by consciously paying attention to the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. In short, it means to experience things as they are, without judgement or bias.
And to be mindfully lucky simply means: being aware and open to the opportunities around us. There are an infinite number of possibilities present at every given moment; yet, we often fail to see them. Why? Because many of us are victims of our own minds – we see only what we expect to see. Our expectations influence how we experience life. Expect to be lucky and you’ll notice positive, lucky things all day long. And the reverse is definitely true too!
Unfortunately, for most of us, our brains are hardwired to see the negatives instead of the positives – a leftover evolutionary trait that aided our survival back when danger was always around the corner. This isn’t so useful now for most of us here in the developed world; not many tigers running wild in the cities. In fact, this negativity bias is holding us back. It’s costing us countless opportunities because we are so busy looking at the downsides of everything instead of the upsides. Even psychologists agree that this is something we should constantly work at and overcome.
Many people believe that luck is something we have no control over, you either have it or you don't. But that is not true. Research has found that we actually do have some control over our fortunes and the key to changing them is just a thought away.
According to Professor Wiseman, a psychologist who conducted a ten year study on luck, there are 4 key differences between 'lucky' people and the rest. He calls it the 4 principles of luck.
- Maximize Chance opportunities – Be mindful of opportunities around you
'Lucky' people are extremely good at noticing, creating and acting on the opportunities around them. They usually have a relaxed attitude to life - easier to notice opportunities when your mind isn't clouded with negativity and doubt. They tend to like making friends and networking - this opens many doors, after all success is not just about what you know, but also who you know. And they are very open to trying new things - allows them to act quickly on opportunities.
- Turn bad luck into good – Be mindful of what you think
Wiseman's study also found that 'lucky' people are very good at seeing the positives, even in seemingly unlucky situations. They do not indulge in negative self-talk, or allow their judgement to get clouded by negative emotions. Instead, they start thinking of ways to turn not-so-lucky situations into better ones. Lemons to lemonade!
- Listen to lucky hunches – Be mindful of what you feel
'Lucky' people tend to trust their instincts, and that usually works out in their favor. Our subconscious minds notice more from our surroundings than our conscious minds do. That gut feeling is its way of telling you that something is up. You may not be good at deciphering what your intuition is telling you now, but you will definitely get better with practice!
- Expect good fortune - Be mindful of what you expect
Last, but definitely not the least. 'Lucky' people honestly believe, and expect that their futures are blessed with luck and fortune. And guess what? They believe that they will be lucky, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that comes true!
Amazing isn't it?
A self-fulfilling prophecy is defined as a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. This happens because our beliefs influence our actions.
I feel that this is the most important factor in becoming lucky, and also the hardest one to achieve. Luck is believing, but you can’t just snap your fingers and instantly believe you’re lucky. There’s no forcing it. So how do you start expecting good luck? Well, we can simply follow what lucky people do!
According to a survey carried out in the UK, lucky people tend to carry out superstitious behaviors that are believed to bring good luck - such as touching wood and crossing fingers and carrying good luck charms. These are what we call positive superstitions. And apparently they help to reinforce positive thoughts, beliefs, and expectations - which leads to the creation of positive self-fulfilling prophecies! A study done by the University of Koln has found that lucky charms actually do work - they are able to influence our minds in a positive way that allows us to be at our best
Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that 'unlucky' people tend to believe in negative superstitions that bring bad luck – such as breaking a mirror, walking under a ladder or unlucky number 13.
Moral of the story (research?)? Do whatever makes you feel lucky. There is no harm indulging in positive superstitions, and lucky charms that have always worked for you. But, avoid obsessing over negative superstitions, it’s not going to make you any luckier.
It all begins and ends with your mind. We all want to live blessed lives and cultivate good fortune for ourselves and our loved ones. Are you prepared to be lucky?
Mindful awareness takes practice and time. Personally, I find that having a physical reminder (aka a lucky charm) really helps to bring my awareness back to the present. Just seeing it reminds me to stop ruminating needlessly, prompts me to spot lucky opportunities, and helps me to expect the best no matter what I'm facing.
Every good luck charm is different, each one is imbued with meaning, and have unique stories of their own. Millions of people believe in them; maybe even you do too.
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