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How to Get Lucky

by Clint Watson on 2/24/2015 7:09:46 AM

This article is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here or sign up for his newsletter here.




In Systematic Wandering, I wrote:


The danger with goals is that is becomes very easy to become focused on the goal, to the exclusion of better options.



Don't Miss Chance Opportunities


I recently came across the research of Richard Wiseman.  


Professor Wiseman devised a simple experiment to test the differences between self-described "lucky" vs. "unlucky" people when presented with chance opportunities.  From his paper:


Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities whereas unlucky people do not. I carried out a very 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. 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 over 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. Just for fun, I placed a second large message half way through the newspaper. This one announced: “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.



The unlucky people immediately set a goal to "count all the photos in the newspaper."  And, as I warned in, Systemic Wandering, became "focused on the goal to the exclusion of better options."


The lucky people, in contrast, were engaged in what was happening as they looked through the newspaper and immediately noticed better options, including an unexpected windfall of $250.



The 4 Characteristics of Lucky People


Wiseman discovered the lucky people have four characteristics that unlucky people don't:


1.  They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities

2.  They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition

3. They create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations

4.  They adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.



How to Get Lucky


It turns out, Professor Wiseman claims, that "unlucky" people can learn to be "lucky" by learning mindfulness in the four characteristics he discovered.  


I've seen this anecdotally in my own life, with my "luck" even varying by day.  On many days, when I give myself permission to "play" and "wander" and let goals slide, opportunities arise and/or the day's work is more productive than if I had adhered rigidly to the Tyranny of the Task List.   And often, on days where I strictly adhere to my task, dutifully advancing in baby steps toward my goals.....I tend to miss opportunities in the pursuit of checking off every item.  Obviously, I can't ignore my task list forever, so the "ideal" must be learning to be willing to set aside the task list when opportunity arises.  [1]


Professor Wiseman's book, The Luck Factor, goes into further detail on this subject.  He claims to be able to teach you how to become a luckier person. [2]  And I imagine the world would be a happier place if we all better knew how to "get lucky" ;-)


Now go change the world.




Clint Watson

FASO Founder, Software Craftsman, Art Fanatic


PS - I hope you found this article helpful.  I was gearing up to dutifully go through my task list this morning, when inspiration for this article struck.  If inspiration strikes you, dear artist, please put down your task list and pick up your paintbrush (or chisel, etc), don't deprive the world of beauty just to reach some arbitrary goal...






[1]  Setting aside your task list, is, of course, for most of us, easier said than done.  That's one reason I sometimes give myself "play days" where I intentionally allow myself to "wander" and be creative.  That may not be as optimal as learning to be "lucky" all the time though.


[2]  I have not read the book and have no affiliation with Professor Wiseman, I simply found his research interesting.


[3]  The image is the sign outside The Lady Luck pub in Canterbury, England.  If you ever find yourself there, it's a good place to stop for a pint (or two, or three...)




Editor's Note:  You can view Clint's original post here.


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Related Posts:

Systematic Wandering

Embrace Change in Order To Make A Difference

You're the Rock Star

Topics: advice for artists | Art Business | Clint Watson | FineArtViews | inspiration 

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Right Brain associative perspective = squinting at the whole picture = more chance opportunities for luck.
Left Brain linear perspective = seeing path to goals=fewer chance opportunities for luck.
Knowing when each side of our brain should be in charge=priceless wisdom. --or marry a right handed engineer if you are a left handed artist--

Walter Paul Bebirian
well Clint - this does sound interesting and I would certainly like to know on which side of the net my thinking and actions fall - but as life would have it - I am not sure exactly how to discover this information pertaining to my own life - I just continue on in the direction that I am going - but I cannot say if I do have a goal or not -

perhaps your next article will share with us - how to tell whether you are focused on a goal or not -

As far as I can see - I was and am still focused on creating images - but I am not sure if that focus and how I approach doing that constitutes have a goal - I am not necessarily thinking about creating a certain number of images - I am simply looking forward to seeing how my work develops as I go on to the next images in any one of the series that I have been working on -

Walter Paul Bebirian
also - applied to my just signed up for Faso account - I don't have any goal to have it set up totally or have a certain number of images and blog posts and such by any date or even at all - I am simply working on it and the elements there to work on as I get a chance and as the spirit moves - but I can see - for me at least that there is a lot of technical goings on there that are pretty much what I would call very time consuming -

I would prefer to find someone else to do these types of tasks as well as perhaps someone else to deal with a dealer - if I ever get close to such a situation - or if that ever happens - have someone else to purchase a share or part of my entire collection -

Susan Vaughn
Excellent Article! Thank you Clint!!

Geri deGruy
Fascinating article! As with so many other things, it seems to come down to actually being in the moment and being conscious rather than living in my head. Thanks Clint.

Karen Burnette Garner
Interesting...I've always WANTED to be I know the basics. Being regimented and goal oriented CAN be an obstacle to tapping into creative energy. Thanks for the reminder.

Sandy Askey-Adams
Hello Clint..

This article is fascinating and interesting! Thank you for writing it.

I have met and known lucky people in my life and have wondered how they got to be so lucky. I have watched them go to the Casinos and always win a lot of money.
My Aunt was one who seemed to be always lucky as are some other family some friends.
In what ways do they think differently I often wonder. Certainly they are more positive thinking people seeing the glass half full rather than half empty.

To really test your luck (outside of the art world)......and have fun.
I kept a magazine article written some years ago titled "Smart Money Secrets" about the secrets of winning a huge lottery jackpot. It said mathematical strategies can make a huge difference in playing the lottery. Really?

Play the unpopular numbers....All numbers over 31 and that at least four of your siz choices on a ticket should be 32 or higher.
Numbers ending in 1,2,8,9 ..and 0 are better than numbers ending in 3 thru 7, or 10, 20, 30 and 40.
Multiples of 7.
Single-digit numbers (1 thru 9) Use no more than one of these among your six.
And, Numbers that form vertical, horizontal or diagonal patterns on your slip card are also quite popular so avoid.
The combination 1-2-3-4-5-6- which is the most popular of all. SO don't play that combination.
Bottom Line: Play the least popular numbers and you will increase your luck by 600 percent.

Have I tried this? No. If you do, let me know if any of you win. LOL

I know one thing...when and IF I win an art award or get accepted in an art competition, The first thing I think is, "Wow, I was lucky!"
and then I am thankful.

Brian Sherwin
Think of it as a fantasy novel... there is always a main goal -- marked by side quests. :)

Keeping an eye open for opportunities is important. The willingness to 'play' on a occasion can be helpful as well -- not just in art and art business... in life. Goals tend to evolve / take shape over a length of time. Each experience may play a role in guiding the goal.

Natasha Isenhour
First let me say to Walter, it's not nearly as technical as time consuming to have a site with FASO as you may think! Veeeery easy to use and navigate. The tech folks are superb at getting questions answered too.

Clint, I'm one of the luckiest people I know. I am continually serendipitously stepping into wonderful situations for myself and my art. I just remember that the first and most important goal is to achieve getting through this day in a productive way so that when I go to sleep, I am content with a job done to the best of my ability. The long term goals are left with lots of doors and windows open, knowing that the vision of the goal itself is amorphous. Everything about what happens today changes the complexion of the end product, which, frankly, has no end :)

Thanks for a great post!

good article, i always wanted to be more lucky

i tried everything i possible could , but for some reason i can't get the right people to visit my website, most are not interested in art and i don t know anyone in art field either...

carol a. grigus
wonderful article.....
I would add a 5th note...
"Luck is where talent meets opportunity..".!!
think it was the famous tennis player, Martina Navratalova, who said this!!!
p.s...My husband was a mathematician for the gaming such thing as good luck there...casinos take 99 percent of your money!!..that's how they stay in business!!

Donald Fox
Some would argue that our perceptions are governed by our thoughts. If we have continually negative self-talk, our overall perception becomes negative, and we thus self-fulfill negative expectations with negative results. Others might call that bad luck. Wiseman's four characteristics are logically based rather than based on superstition. Luck and chance may only be fictions for things we do not yet fully understand.

Bob Ragland
I have been able to make my luck. I carry my business cards and my postcards with examples of my work on on them. I send snail mail career updates to my art people. I try be ready to carpe diem. I like being lucky and good.
I work on being good at business tactics and luck seems to show up.

Jana Botkin
Any one else find it amusing that a professor is named "wise man"?? I wonder if that steered him into professor-ing. . .

Thanks, Clint. Good article, and now I have another book on my to-read list.

Brian Sherwin
Ana -- You said, "I tried everything I possible could, but for some reason I can't get the right people to visit my website, most are not interested in art and I don't know anyone in art field either..."

Can you list a few of the things you've tried? It can be tough to establish a following if you are just starting out.

Research may come into play. Do you know of any other artists working in a similar style? If so, how do they promote their work -- where do they 'hang out' online? You might want to observe what others are doing in order to improve upon your marketing efforts.

Brian Sherwin
Donald -- You said, "Some would argue that our perceptions are governed by our thoughts. If we have continually negative self-talk, our overall perception becomes negative, and we thus self-fulfill negative expectations with negative results."

Exactly. We all see that in some form -- especially within the art world... the artist who feels as though he or she 'can't paint' will likely stop painting at some point. In many ways we create our own prisons.


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