Build Self Confidence by Being Lucky?

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:-

  1. Believe that you are lucky. Lucky people have a relaxed attitude to life. They create, notice and act upon chance opportunities.
  2. Lucky people make success happen by using their intuition and gut feelings.  Listen to your hunches.
  3. Expect good fortune, persevere in attempting to achieve your goals. Believe you will succeed.
  4. 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



Find yourself with a smile... August 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Good post!

I think that there are factors that would be described as “luck” that aren’t being covered in simple causal psychology experiments. For example, someone saying they’re lucky, doesn’t necessarily make it so.

And expectation clearly changes the way we see things… whether it changes things in the ‘external world’ or not.

I think there is great value in visualization, and other tools offered by the typical “Law of Attraction” books and courses… but it seems like a very partial map to success… (it has been rather lacking in my experience)

I’ve heard a saying attributed to the Puritans that I like a lot:

“Pray like it all depends on God… Then work like it all depends on you!”

This has worked pretty well for me.

I guess I’m ‘lucky’ to have this attitude… 🙂

keep smiling,

.-= Find yourself with a smile…´s last blog ..Thoughts For Donnie: Cultivating Acceptance =-.

Bruce August 30, 2009 at 10:27 pm

It has been said that success is a habit and this post reinforces that notion. I completely agree.
David, you have got to get these thoughts into a book. You are too good at expressing them and are so thorough. I want a signed copy. If its an E-book I am going to a copy center to have it produced and bound and send it to you to sign! I want a first edition
.-= Bruce´s last blog ..Debra Mazda Video Sign up contest for September 2009 =-.

David August 31, 2009 at 10:33 am

Thanks for your comments
Ben – The experiments used people who believed themselves lucky or unlucky. My post doesn’t really do them justice.
I agree visualisation is a powerful tool and I for one need to explore this further. My starting point is going to be how it is used in the field of sports success, rather than Law of Attraction.
Bruce – Thanks for your kind words. I hope to have my first ebook available as a free gift on this blog by the end of the week. Who knows, now I’ve finished one…

susan September 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Karim September 2, 2009 at 8:40 am

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.


June September 7, 2009 at 12:59 am

Great Blog. The best information I’ve found. Keep going, Good Material. You obviously know what you’re talking about!

how to build confidence September 9, 2009 at 7:24 am

Wow, very nice post. The element of luck excites me. I want to feel lucky and once I did, it sure will overwhelm my entirety.
.-= how to build confidence´s last blog ..Public Speaking: Practical Tips to Get Started and Develop Self Confidence =-.

Maddie September 14, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Thanks you so much for making those points. I know most of us have heard, at one point or another, the great adage “you make your own luck” from our parents and grandparents, but I, at least, never know whether to really believe them. Is it really luck that everything fell into place in your life? Or is it something you did to make it happen? I love the creativity in Wiseman’s experiment with the lottery tickets because it really does prove that feeling lucky has nothing to do with success. I hope to read his book for my own purposes, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. In any case, I am so glad that you illustrated the difference between luck and accomplishing the goals you set. You just took your advice a step further than most by discussing exactly how we can make that “luck” happen. It seems that it is not necessarily luck at all, but rather a consistent effort and a lot of self-confidence. I agree with you in that confidence is not something people just “have” magically, like what most people believe luck to be. It’s a process of perseverance, strength, and determination. Like you said, luck people “act” in a specific way to make things go their way, and this “acting” stems from a confidence in their lucky nature – which in turn is a confidence in themselves. I am writing about confidence in a class for my university, and your post gave me some great inspiration toward my own blog

clive October 7, 2009 at 3:45 am

There are lots of things that you can do if you have self confidence. But once you gain self confidence, the humility should always be there. If you take the lowly there is no other way but to go up.

Shabbar Suterwala October 17, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Everything happens twice .. first it happens in out mind and second it happens in reality..

shabbarsuterwala October 31, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Insipirational article.. good tips for self esteem and building confidence.

shabbarsuterwala November 1, 2009 at 4:32 am

Insipirational article.. good tips for self esteem and building confidence.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: