Is Luck for Real? Or is it only ‘Hard Work’ that matters?

Ankesh Kothari of Zen Strategies has these two stories to add a lucky spin to your day.

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1. The Lucky Dog Statue

Derren Brown the famous illusionist conducted an experiment once. He partnered with Dawn Porter – a journalist to go to Todmorden in Yorkshire, UK – for this experiment.

There was a small nondescript dog statue in a park in Todmorden. Brown enlisted the help of Dawn Porter to spread rumours that the dog statue was lucky. Todmorden is a gossipy town with just about 15,000 residents. So when Porter started asking a lot of people if they’ve heard about the lucky dog, news started spreading a bit.

And then, the local radio station picked the story and soon everyone in the town had a story about how they had found luck after patting the lucky dog statue. Everything from people finding their dream jobs, to getting new business opportunities, to getting well from a disease.

After 3 months of this, Derren Brown held a town hall meeting in Todmorden and revealed how the story of the lucky dog had started.

Did an ordinary dog statue make people feel luckier just because they believed in it?

Derren Brown had followed a few people who had patted the dog statue. And so, on closer inspection, he finds something extraordinary.

People who had patted the lucky dog statue started taking more risks. Started pushing themselves. Started putting in more effort and sticking with tasks longer. They started paying more attention to random cues from the environment. And that’s how they became luckier.

(The dog statue has indeed been lucky for the town because now it’s become a tourist attraction and brings more tourists in every year!)

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2. A Simple Newspaper Experiment

Richard Wiseman is the head of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in UK. He once conducts an experiment. He runs an ad in newspapers looking out for people who feel they are exceptionally lucky or exceptionally unlucky. 400 people answer that ad.

To all these people, Wiseman gives a task: to count the number of photos there are in a particular newspaper.

But here is the twist: on the 3rd page of the newspaper, Wiseman had put up a huge text ad next to a photo. The ad said: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”

People who claimed they were lucky would usually spot this ad. Unlucky people would miss it.

Action Summary:

  • Lucky totems are important. Believing in luck is important. Because being open to luck changes your psyche. You become more open to the cues of the environment. You take more chances and risks.
  • The funny thing is luck works like ‘the placebo effect’. It works even when you know about it.
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  • One email per week.
  • With one or two stories.
  • And an action summary.
  • That will help you live a happy meaningful life.
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