Are You Born a Winner? Learning How to Improve Your Luck
Luck and success is something we envy deeply in others, and they often seem interconnected. We tend to believe that successful people had a stroke of luck – a gentle push from fate down the road – but that is not necessarily true. Even in games of luck, a lot of times success is owed to strategy, perseverance, and a good grasp of gameplay – or, other times, some credit is due to our very own prediction centre, which has helped produce fantastic 100% lucky wins. Research suggests that there are some traits that are common among regular winners. And some of them are, luckily, things that you could change about your life, too.
What Sets Winners Apart?
Some of the individuals that we consider luckiest in life are celebrities, especially pop idols or renowned actors who have won Oscar Awards and starred in blockbusters. However, there are many stars out there who have never won an Academy Award despite obviously deserving one: Peter O’Toole has been nominated 8 times, Richard Burton 7 times and Glenn Close 6 times with no luck so far, while even stars like Johnny Depp, Edward Norton and Sigourney Weaver have been nominated 3 times without receiving the honour yet. Have these stars simply been unlucky? Betway Casino has compiled an infographic of winning personalities across contests like the Oscars, the BAFTAs, the Olympics, the Nobel Peace Prize and the Man Booker Prize, the prestigious literary award launched in 1969, which reveals interesting trivia about “winners” and the traits they have in common. According to the infographic, the average age for the first win is 32 years old, with 1981 being the most common year of birth and Cancer being the most common star sign among winners. Interestingly, they have usually worked in their profession for 13 years before a win and they usually have a degree and are married with one child. Ages vary across industries, though: winners in the Film & TV category have the oldest average winning age at 38, musicians usually score big at 26 and athletes are already winners by 23.
What does all this tell us? We could light-heartedly claim that it is all random luck, or we could draw conclusions about people usually working hard in their twenties, investing at least a decade perfecting their craft before recognition, and a stable personal life and a good education greatly influencing our chances at success. Want more trivia? 50% of the income difference between people can be explained by their country of residence and its wealth, people with last names that start with the first letters of the alphabet are more likely to achieve tenure in top departments, and according to the 80/20 rule (the Pareto principle), few people will gather the most success among a population. Seemingly random things can influence your luck either way, but ultimately success comes down to what you do with the lot you are given. In betting for example, it is one thing to randomly choose games or always place a wager on the team you support, and it is another to put in some hard work and read betting previews to ensure that you maximize the odds. Sometimes the key to success is making smart choices and trust your intuition as much as you rely on sure win guides and strategies.
Is Luck Based on Psychology?
Psychology accounts for a big part of the outcome, too. Richard Wiseman is a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and has been researching the role of psychology in luck and how luck affects the way we conduct our lives – and vice versa. Tellingly, Wiseman started out in life as a professional magician, and later turned to examining the psychological aspects of luck more closely. In the course of his research, he found that lucky people usually demonstrate extroversion and sociability. They are eager to make eye contact and smile twice as much as unlucky people. Wiseman has concluded that this could mean meeting more people and making better connections, which increases the chances of opportunities coming up that could turn your luck around. By contrast, unlucky people scored much higher on neurotic traits and anxiousness, which prevents people from identifying lucky chances.
In one of his experiments, Wiseman asked participants to count all the photographs in a newspaper. Unlucky people needed a couple of minutes to count them all correctly – but lucky people only took seconds, as they noticed a message placed on the second page that revealed that there were 43 photographs in the newspaper. Sometimes luck, it seems, is simply a matter of being more able to observe and pay attention to detail. In another experiment, he asked participants to enrol in a “luck” school; there he taught them basic skills like decision-making, how to maintain a positive attitude, and how to identify opportunities. 80% of the “students” reported that their luck increased as a result of the school. An earlier 2012 experiment from the University of Cologne also revealed that the placebo effect affects our chances. In their case, they gave a set of golfers a ball described as “lucky” and another set a “regular” one: those with the “lucky” ball scored 35% better on average.
Thinking positively, having an extrovert outlook on life, demonstrating resilience and learning from mistakes instead of being overwhelmed, as well as working hard and planning ahead, are all qualities that are shared among lucky people. So, if you start working on those, who knows, maybe Lady Luck will all of a sudden start smiling more often!