Sunday, December 12, 2010

OCD and Good Luck

Sometimes it seems as if the Universe is against me. This past month was one of those times. Besides the mad shopping rush and long retail hours in my store of 7am to 11pm, shopping for gifts and general holiday running around. I had a really bad cold which turned into a sinus infection. This caused a severe nosebleed which caused me to pass out. When I went to the doctor (besides a course of nauseating antibiotics) he sent me to a cardiologist. Diagnosis- stress, wow, what a surprise. Then, there was a blackout in my neighborhood which blew out all my phones and cable boxes. Coming to work the next day, I was greeted by a downed phone line in my store which disabled my charge machine on the three busiest days of the holiday shopping season. Heartburn soon followed- I became the proud owner of a bottle of Nexium and a box of Gelusil. One the one night that I had a chance to sit, just as I turned on "The Sound Of Music," my Christmas tree flared up very brightly and promptly all the lights blew out.

It felt like there were forces out there conspiring to get me. After all that, I began waiting for other things to go wrong, expecting more to come. I woke up saying, "what rotten luck- what else is going to happen"? As I focused on the next wrong thing, I found my mood changing for the worse.

Then I realized that perhaps it was the way I was viewing these circumstances. It hit me, these things were crazy and annoying, but many people have it much worse- they would trade places with me in an instant. These were not terrible things, just temporary glitches. It was a wild string of events, but not horrible, just irritating. Perhaps I didn't have the right attitude. In the big picture, I was really pretty lucky.

If you believe success and luck evade you, no matter what you do, maybe it is your attitude. Like I did, perhaps you expect things to go wrong. Maybe you are focused on negativity. This fascinating article from Richard Wiseman just might shed some light on luck...

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"I set out to examine luck, 10 years ago. Why are some people always in the right place at the right time, while others consistently experience ill fortune? I placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.

Hundreds of extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research and over the years, have been interviewed by me. I have monitored their lives and had them take part in experiments.

The results reveal that although these people have almost no insight into the causes of their luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their good and bad fortune."

Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.

I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities. I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. I had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying: ‘Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $50′.

This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than two inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.

As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and miss other types of jobs.

The 4 Principles of Generating Good Fortune

Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for. My research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

I wondered towards the end of the work, whether these principles could be used to create good luck. I asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. Dramatic results! These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck. One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80 per cent of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.

4 Tips for Becoming Lucky

The lucky people had become even luckier and the unlucky had become lucky. Finally, I had found the elusive ‘luck factor’. Here are four top tips for becoming lucky:

1) Listen to your gut instincts — they are normally right.

2) Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine.

3) Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well.

4) Visualise yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call.

Have a Lucky day and work for it.

The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems, but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect."

Besides this article, I have also realized that there will be times when things are out of our control. A sense of humor will help, as well as an attitude of rapidly adjusting to the changing circumstances without resistance- a rolling with the punches mindset.

Let's all make an effort to look for luck in 2011!!

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