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Friday, May 27

It's Not Luck

Last night I was watching an old recording of Dave Gorman's Important Astrology Experiment, a deeply flawed scientific experiment on whether taking your horoscopes seriously can make you happier. Don't worry. I know Gorman was doing it for comedy and for TV, and the flaws in the experiment aren't really the point.

In the show, the outlandish and ridiculous behaviour of horoscope-following Dave is compared with the life of his twin brother, who is painted as a family man who stays at home mainly, and doesn't do much out of the ordinary. Dave's "happiness" measurement swings wildly from very miserable to very happy and has a lot of variation. Conversely, his brother has a much more stable and generally positive (but not too positive) life.

This reminds me a lot of The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman. Luck, it seems, is not a product of fate, privilege or some external magical influence. It's all a question of whether you bother to do things that are out of your comfort zone. Quite simply, if you take more chances and if you treat failure as less important, and if you're open minded to the possibilities that lie in front of you, then you will most likely experience something that you can describe as good fortune.

It's a bit like what happened when I asked for new car mats from the man at the car leasing company, when he said "anything else I can help you with?". The answer was no, which I didn't take to heart, but he said it with a smile in his voice and followed it with the blessing of "shy bairns get nowt", which is North East for "I like the cut of your gib, you daring buffoon".

Quixotic though it may seem at times, the same "just do it attitude" has seen us go from a standing start to a full blown national event with our female comedy competition - The Funny's Funny Female Comedian of the Year. We spotted an opportunity to do something we truly cared about. We decided that we would commit ourselves to it, regardless of any slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that may come our way, and we shared our enthusiasm with a bunch of people we saw as allies. The result is that we are now running one of the largest comedy events of the year. It's only 27th May, and this idea was only born on 19th April. In less than 40 days we've seen so many amazing things happen.

The point is this. Life doesn't happen to you. You make of it what you choose. Many things are outside of your control, and it's a convenient delusion to think we can exert too much control over our environment. However, if you so choose to, you can cause good stuff to happen. Good fortune causes other good fortune, and a bit of subjectivity on how you treat your own luck (i.e. pretend it's more positive than it is) can help you achieve even more.

So, read the book and come to our events and you too will feel lucky.

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