Have you ever felt that some people are always lucky in your office and some tend to always be unlucky. Did you ever think why it is so? There is no such thing—in a scientific sense, at least—as luck. Here are three most important factors that differentiate ‘lucky’ people from ‘unlucky’ people.
The role happiness plays should be obvious—the more you pick up on the positive around you, the better you’ll feel—and we’ve already seen the advantages to performance that brings.
The second mechanism at work here is gratitude, because the more opportunities for positivity we see, the more grateful we become. Psychologist Robert Emmons, who has spent nearly his entire career studying gratitude, has found that few things in life are as integral to our well-being as practising gratitude. Countless other studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely. And it’s not that people are only grateful because they are happier either; gratitude has proven to be a significant cause of positive outcomes. When researchers pick random volunteers and train them to be more grateful over a period of a few weeks, they become happier and more optimistic, feel more socially connected, enjoy better quality sleep, and even experience fewer headaches than control groups.
The third driver is optimism. And optimism, it turns out, is a tremendously powerful predictor of work performance. Studies have shown that optimists set more goals (and more difficult goals) than pessimists, and put more effort into attaining those goals, stay more engaged in the face of difficulty, and rise above obstacles more easily. Optimists also cope better in high stress situations and are better able to maintain high levels of well-being during times of hardship—all skills that are crucial to high performance in a demanding work environment.
The people who claim to be unlucky in life look right past opportunities. Stuck in a Negative mindset, they are incapable of seeing what’s so clear to others, and their performance suffers because of it. Think of the consequences this has on your career’s success, which is almost entirely predicated on your ability to spot and then capitalize on opportunities. In fact, 69 percent of high school and college students report that their career decisions depended on chance encounters. The difference between people who capitalise on these chances and those who watch them pass by (or miss them entirely) is all a matter of focus. When someone is stuck in a Negative mindset, his brain is quite literally incapable of seeing these opportunities. But armed with positivity, the brain stays open to possibilities.