Thursday, 12 December 2013

Friday 13th: Lucky for Some?

Are you dreading Friday 13th, fearing that this unluckiest of days will bring you nothing but trouble? Fear not, as someone who has looked into this thing we call 'luck', I hereby present my Top Five Tips to attract good luck on Friday 13th (or indeed any day!)...


Embrace 'luck'
So many things in life are uncertain, unexpected and unplanned. Most days (including Friday 13th!) will involve events like this, big or small. The challenge (indeed, the fun!) is to embrace these events and acknowledge that much of what happens to us is down to luck, good and bad.

Expect good luck
If you tend to expect good luck rather than bad, you may find that you're actually likely to have more positive experiences. This is due to what psychologists call a 'self-fulfilling prophecy' in that your belief that things will work out in your favour influences how you interact with the world, which in turn affects the things that happen to you. This might at first seem at odds with Tip 1, but there are many things we might put down to luck, which we can influence! Combining tips 1 and 2 in the right way can be quite powerful, especially on a day like Friday 13th, when others are expecting the worst.

Be open to opportunity
There are opportunities around us all the time, we just don't pay attention to them! A relaxed and open attitude to what's around you can be enough to spot these opportunities and recognise them as such. It's within these opportunities that many 'good luck' experiences can lie.  And don't forget your own role in creating opportunities... Striking up conversations and taking yourself out of your comfort zone are simple but important ways of making opportunities, and making your own luck.

Go with the flow
The idea of 'going with the flow' often gets a bad press, but knowing which way the wind is blowing and letting yourself to be carried along with the breeze is actually a great way to let luck into your life. It requires an element of trust that you get what you need and that unplanned events, if you let them, they can be the source of the exciting surprises!

Dealing with bad luck
OK, let's be honest... This is what you're worried about when it comes to Friday 13th isn't it? In some ways it brings us back to Tip 1, because even though you may now be better equipped to attract and create more good luck into your life each day, there's no getting away from the fact that bad things do happen. They are a part of life. But you can still use simple psychology to deal with these effectively. For example, one way is to remember that no matter what happens, it could be worse, so keep things in perspective. Psychologists refer to this idea of comparing what has happened to what might have happened as 'counterfactual thinking', and it can be a powerful tool in spotting the good luck in the bad.

So there you go... 5 Top Tips for attracting good luck on Friday 13th, Saturday 14th, and beyond! Try them out and let me know how you get on... (It's better than hiding under the sheets all day!)

For those of you in and around London who would like to come out and play on Friday 13th, check out the Luck Supper at Urban Woot where we will be enjoying amazing food and wine, busting a few superstitions, and exploring the science of luck. More details here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A new arrival!

It only took the creation of a new life to draw me back to the blog... 

I am very happy to announce a new addition to the Smith family! I became a dad again last Friday to a beautiful baby girl weighing 6lb 4 oz! We've decided to call her Connie Hannah Smith (she's kind of stuck with the Smith bit).

It all happened very quickly... Rachel phoned me around 3:15 on Friday. By the time I got home around 4:30 (having stopped off to pick up a cake for Freya's 6th birthday party we were due to have on Sat!), Rachel was clearly having contractions. We eventually left for the hospital around 6:30, getting there about 6:45. Baby was born a little over half an hour later!

So Freya and Connie share the same birthday! And Freya's party still went ahead... with yours truly in a rather manic frame of mind trying to organise 17 5-7 year old boys and girls having had about an hour's sleep. Luckily I had lots of help. 

So I'm now officially on paternity leave for the next 2 weeks... But don't expect any more blog posts any time soon (as if you were). Do wave if you see me out and about in the car with baby Connie in the back. You'll recognise the car... It's the one with the Baby on Board sign in the window.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

What's luck got to do with it?

Last month I was asked to take part in an event looking at the role of luck in business hosted by Hiscox and the Royal Institution. Other panelists included author Douglas Miller, serendipity researcher Dr Stephann Makri, and entrepreneur Sarah Curran. Here's a short film of the event produced by Fresh Business Thinking:

Hiscox from Fresh Business Thinking on Vimeo.

I don't know about you, but at around the 3 minute mark I find myself thinking of Martin 'money saving expert' Lewis. Am I the only one?

Friday, 5 April 2013

Baby on Board!

I've never really figured why these pieces of plastic exist. They can be seen proudly (or rather unashamedly?) displayed in the rear windows of cars driven by new parents. But why?

I assume they are intended as a request to other drivers to take extra care around the car displaying the announcement. In practice, I can only imagine they serve to agitate said other drivers, thereby increasing the likelihood of being rammed from behind (as it were).

If you're a new parent thinking of buying a 'baby on board!' sign, save your money. As that little one gets older, you're going to need every penny you can save.