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Looking for Luck in All the Wrong Places

October 15, 2009

According to this interesting style of experimentation luck may be more than a matter of coincidence.

I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2in 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.

To boil it all down to a simple thesis: lucky people tend to look around enough to see opportunities staring them in the face.  It’s almost a platitude to say that one should always assess what avenues are available instead of just focusing on the miserable task you’ve got in front of you.


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