Jonathan Fields Says You Are Exactly As Lucky As You Believe You Are

Jonathan Fields is a speaker, entrepreneur, and author of the book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance. Jonathan joined Never Eat Alone co-author Tahl Raz on the Social Capitalist to talk about his work around the idea of certainty anchors as a tool to support innovation. Here, Jonathan talks about luck, and how it is frequently in the eye of the beholder:

Richard Weismann was doing experiments. He wanted to try and figure out whether there is some commonality among the lucky. Is there something that some people do that makes them luckier or less lucky than others?

So what he did is he got two groups of people together. One group self-identified as being very unlucky. The other group self-identified as being very lucky. He sat them all down and he said, “Okay, here’s a newspaper. I’m going to time you. I want you to go through the newspaper as quickly as possible and count every picture that you see in the newspaper.” The people who identified themselves as being unlucky took about two minutes on average, and they returned and said, “Okay, there are 43 pictures in the newspaper.”

The people, on average, who identified themselves as lucky took a few seconds and came back with the exact same number.

So you ask, “Well, how is this possible?” and here’s the reason why. On the inside front cover of that newspaper, half a page above the margin, in two inch block letters was a sentence that said, “There are 43 photos in this newspaper. Stop reading now.”

What he discovered was that the people who considered themselves lucky were far more open to not just keeping very constrained to the instructions and only the instructions, but seeing things beyond the very narrow blinders of what they were being told to do. Whereas, the people who considered themselves unlucky said, “Okay, I’m going to keep very linear” and they were sort of locked into this certain path, “this is what I’ve been tasked to do.”

The people who considered themselves lucky said, “Okay, I’m open to possibilities beyond the immediate instructions.” So what he found was that luck has a whole lot to do with remaining open to things that you didn’t expect to happen.

Do you believe in luck? Find out more about behaviors and beliefs that support success and read the entire transcript of Jonathan’s Social Capitalist interview here: The Social Capitalist – Jonathan Fields.

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