What is luck?

Luck is being presented with the right opportunity at the right time, usually by what seems like pure chance. Richard Wiseman, a psychologist and author, spent his career studying luck and the actual beliefs and experiences of lucky and unlucky people. He discovered that, to a significant extent, people create their own good and bad fortune.

Wiseman’s research study investigated the lives of 400 men and women who considered themselves to be either lucky or unlucky. For a decade, he interviewed the volunteers, asked them to complete questionnaires, intelligence tests, and participate in experiments.  He discovered that our thoughts and behaviors are responsible for much of our fortune.

He noticed that lucky people consistently encountered chance opportunities. He decided to conduct an experiment to see if this was due to the fact that they had more of a natural ability than unlucky people or if they were simply better at noticing these opportunities.

To conduct the experiment, he gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and count how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photos, whereas the lucky people took mere seconds.


On the second page of the newspaper he had written a large message in bold, “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” Halfway through the newspaper he placed another message that stated, “Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” The lucky people immediately noticed the messages, whereas the unlucky people missed seeing either message. From this, he was able to make the conclusion that people who view themselves as unlucky simply miss opportunities that come their way.

In his research he discovered that lucky people achieve good fortune by adhering to four basic principles:

  1. They have a keen ability to create and notice chance opportunities.
  2. They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition.
  3. They expect to be lucky.
  4. They are resilient to bad luck.

He also discovered that unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they don’t introduce variety and change into their lives. He used the example of a person picking apples out of the same section of an apple orchard every day. At first there would be many apples to choose from, but eventually it will become increasingly difficult to find apples in the same part of the orchard that you visited before. However, if you decide to start going to new places in the orchard your chances of finding apples will dramatically increase.

Perhaps this is you? Has your company felt stuck in looking for talent in all the same places? Are you looking to try something new?

Starting today, you can improve your luck by reaching out to us at Insight! We are here for you and would love the opportunity to connect you with your next top performing employee. Contact Sandra Smith at (262) 782-7255 or for assistance in taking your team to the next level.


About Insight Talent Solutions

Insight Talent Solutions is a full-service recruitment firm that has successfully been serving the greater Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago areas for the past ten years.

We offer a comprehensive portfolio of services to fill roles ranging from the board of director to executive and professional level searches. We use a creative, respectful, and engaging approach to enable us to find the best candidates for our clients. We have a genuine passion for people and take time to understand your unique story so that we can help lead you to even greater success.

About Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith is the Founder & President of Insight Talent Solutions. With over 25 years of recruiting experience she is a Practice Leader of Executive & Professional Search in the following areas: Information Technology (IT), eCommerce, Digital Marketing, Marketing & Sales, Supply Chain, Logistics, Strategic Sourcing, ERP, and Human Resources & Recruiting. She is a certified Mcquaig Systems Evaluator and a member of SHRM and NAPS. Her specialties include RPO, Custom Recruiting programs, and Pre-Employement/Talent Development Assessments. Connect with Sandra on LinkedIn!

About the Author

Amy Roesch is the Copywriter at Insight Talent Solutions. She uses her creativity and passion for writing to help develop Insight’s blogs, job descriptions, eBooks, white papers, and more. She enjoys researching current job-related trends to give professionals the tools they need to manage and improve their careers. Connect with Amy on LinkedIn!


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