131115 LUCKArticle Summary:

About twenty years ago, researcher Richard Wiseman decided that he wanted to figure out what makes someone particularly lucky or unlucky, but what he found is that he could help anyone become luckier.

Over the course of the two decades, Wiseman worked with 400 different participants who either identified themselves as lucky or unlucky. He then had everyone look through a newspaper and count how many pictures were in it. On average, unlucky people took 2 minutes to complete the task, while lucky people took less than 5 seconds. The catch is that Wiseman put a large picture on the second page of the newspaper that said “Stop Counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” He even added a picture halfway through that said “Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250,” but still almost no unlucky seemed to notice.

Wiseman found four basic principles to lucky people: noticing and making more opportunities, listening to intuition, using positive expectations, and simply ignoring misfortune.  Taking these principles, Wiseman worked with a small group of unlucky people to try and help them create better luck. After one month, 80% of the group was happier, more satisfied with their lives, and luckier.


  1. What is good and bad luck?
  2. Can someone be lucky or unlucky?
  3. Was Wiseman able to change the unlucky people? Why or why not?



Comments (7)

  1. Nick Galles


    I think a lot of the comments above make great points as well. Clearly “lucky’ people do not exist, but rather people who are better able to perceive information and act accordingly. People may label themselves as unlucky, but it is all about how you prepare and react to different situations. Sure some people may be exposed to unlucky events, but this does not make a person unlucky overall.

  2. Shivaan Kulanathan


    This article shows how one has control over their lives. Those who identified themselves as unlucky have already labeled themselves to fail. They have essentially given up their positive outlook on themselves. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve given up on life or anything that serious but the fact that they identify themselves as unlucky is just an excuse they are using to stop themselves from progressing. If an opportunity presents itself, they will simply let it pass by because they have proclaimed themselves to be unlucky. Someone who considers themselves lucky however is constantly on the lookout for change, they are willing to accept new things because they believe that things will go well for them. Simply having the mindset that life can get better can help one’s life truly become better.

  3. Max


    Good and bad luck is a matter of perception. When something “unfortunate” happens, an unlucky person will blame the event on luck and chance, whereas a lucky person will seek to understand the cause of such an event. In this way, the concept of luck scapegoats potential solutions and a deeper outlook. In this study, unlucky people were responsible for refusing to see the signs. There was no luck, they were simply blind.

  4. Amy Blatt


    This article can also be related to success. In life, there are always people who seem to be “lucky” and others who seem to be “unlucky.” This can be true with finding a mate, making money, or finding a job. However the “lucky ones” are actually not lucky, instead, they use observation in their everyday life, look at a variety of perspectives, and find new opportunities. Unlucky people are more in a silo, not noticing what’s around them and even being naive. I would say that “lucky” people or ones who find an opportunity in everything and are open to their surroundings tend to be more successful, happier with their lives, and make more money. Unlucky people are more blind and are probably dissatisfied with their lives and make less money.

  5. Teja Reddy


    This article clearly states that unlucky persons are those who are not aware of their surroundings and who lack observation, where as lucky persons were those with good observation skills. This can be clearly linked to IMT, lucky people were those who identified the conditions and surrounding which they were in, so they had been more quick, because answers were just there and they observed it, in contrast unlucky people took 2 minutes because they missed them.

  6. Allison Baker


    I think “luck” is more about your own perspective on things, not some outside factor. I think that the lucky people had more information and the unlucky ones don’t exactly pay attention to information, even when it is literally directly in front of them (as is the case with the pictures in the newspaper).

  7. John


    The article shows how “lucky” people actually are more aware of their surroundings compared to “unlucky”. IMT shows there is no such thing as luck or randomness. By being more aware of your opportunities and expectations, you will succeed more which is why these people are “lucky”. In reality, these people are just more aware and smarter which makes it seem like luck to uninformed people.

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