A post about the Law of Attraction and Luck? Are they prerequisites for self confidence? No, but they both centre on beliefs and how we see the world, which have a huge bearing on self confidence.
Law of Attraction – Total Twaddle?
Any follower of this blog would soon notice that one of my pet dislikes is the Law of Attraction. Not so much for what it is, but the way it is promoted as if there really is a "Law". In "Do you believe in fairies?" I used the story of Arthur Conan Doyle, and his unshakable belief in the existence of fairies, as a comparison.
The biggest argument I have, is with those who believe that by thinking something, you can externally influence events and "make things happen". The most used example is being able to conjure up parking spaces by just imagining that empty space.
My response to such nonsense is to ask if this "magic" can also apply to say numbers or colours. If you "manifest" a particular number – say 7 – will it start appearing? Or can the Law of Attraction work its magic for you on the colour red?
If they say yes, my response is to suggest a visit to the local casino! I’m sure the managers of such establishments welcome any Law of Attraction practicioner trying to take a short cut to wealth. Its probably as good a way of losing your money as buying some of the Law of Attraction courses or books that litter the internet.
Whilst I still use Vision Board, I find the way the company promote it as a tool for the Law of Attraction laughable. I think its a great product and I stand by my review. If you use affirmations it creates a mobile, musical presentation on your computer. But to promote its use as a route to riches? Forget it.
The Luck Factor
This brings me to a review of something else – a book first published about six years ago. Since then there have been a couple of spin off books, but I strongly recommend the original The Luck Factor: change your luck – change your life by Dr Richard Wiseman.
What I like about the book is that it uses solid psychological research and makes it assessable – whilst tackling a subject you wouldn’t normally expect to be researched.
Wiseman challenges the belief that we can create good or bad luck psychically by asking 700 volunteers to buy lottery tickets. Unsurprisingly, those who considered themselves a "lucky" person were no better at picking winning numbers. But, the people who considered themselves lucky had expectations of winning double that of those who saw themselves as unlucky.
This is where Dr Wisemans research throws up some interesting facts about how our beliefs alter our behaviour. Whilst believing we are going to win won’t affect the outcome one jot, having high expectations does affect us:-
"They (expectations) make a difference to whether we try something, how hard we persist in the face of failure, how we interact with others and how others interact with us."
In other words "lucky" people think and behave in ways that increases their chances of creating, noticing and exploiting chance opportunities. Other experiments found they were more likely to persevere when encountering problems, and were also far more likely to reframe bad experiences by thinking how much worse they could have been.
Dr Wiseman central thesis is that luck can be predicted and therefore controlled. Luck is more the consequence of how you behave and how you view your daily life. He created exercises based around four principles that should help anyone lead "luckier" lives:-
- Believe that you are lucky. Lucky people have a relaxed attitude to life. They create, notice and act upon chance opportunities.
- Lucky people make success happen by using their intuition and gut feelings. Listen to your hunches.
- Expect good fortune, persevere in attempting to achieve your goals. Believe you will succeed.
- Lucky people have a knack for transforming back luck into good luck.
Principles of Self Confidence?
The interesting point is that these principles have similarities with the Law of Attraction, if you discard all the psychic mumbo jumbo and "wealth creation" baggage that it carries. If people use the Law of Attraction in this way to adopt a more positive, optimistic attitude and belief system, then shouldn’t it be encouraged?
Can this be used to help with self confidence? Is this the same thing? The research carried out by Dr Wiseman comes up with principles that significantly affect peoples expectations of a successful outcome. And having an "expectation of a successful outcome" is another way of defining confidence.
You will never dispel the notion that luck is something magical, something some people are blessed with. Its a hard concept to grasp that you can become luckier by working at it. But I think anyone looking to build self confidence can find much to help them in The Luck Factor.
Photos by conorwithonen and pink sherbert photography on flickr