The Science of Success

“The Most Innovative Experimental Psychologist In The World Today” on Luck, Deception, and Success - Dr. Richard Wiseman

January 25, 2018
In this episode we explore luck. Does luck exist? Is there a science of luck? What does the research reveal about lucky people and unlucky people? Is it possible to manufacture your own luck? We speak with research psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman and learn the truth about luck and how you just might able to create a bit more in your own life.
Dr. Richard Wiseman has been described by The Scientific American as “The most interesting and innovative experimental psychologist in the world today” and his books have sold over 3 million copies worldwide. Richard started his career as a working magician and now holds Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology. His work has been featured across the globe and he has delivered keynotes to The Royal Society, The Swiss Economic Forum, Google, and more.
  • How Richard went from being a performance magician to being deeply interested in human psychology
  • How studying "the psychology of deception” taught Dr. Wiseman to subtly influence human perception and behavior
  • Most people think they are good lie detectors, but they are in fact not - they are no better than chance
  • When you focus on reading only a transcript - average people go up to 60-70% effectiveness in detecting lies
  • People prefer to lie with the spoken word rather than with written word
  • Ask people “can you email that to me” to catch them in a lie
  • Does luck exist?
  • What research reveals the difference between lucky and unlucky people
  • For the most part, people are CREATING THEIR OWN LUCK by the way they are thinking and acting
  • The research supports, with enormous consistency, that you can create luck
  • The differences between lucky and unlucky people
  • The “newspaper experiment” and how it demonstrates the difference between being lucky and unlucky 
  • How your “attentional spotlight” filters your perception and reality - causing you to miss basic opportunities - this is what the “unlucky” often do to themselves
  • Then, Dr. Wiseman taught subjects in experiments to “think like a lucky person” and these simple exercises caused the “unlucky” to be more lucky
  • Keep a “luck diary” - the most positive thing / positive thought that happens in a day - will rapidly reorient you towards being more “lucky”
  • The lucky tended to be more intuitive, risk seeking, and resilient
  • Generating “negative counterfactuals” and “finding the silver lining” can help you generate more luck
  • You are creating your own good and bad luck by what you are thinking and feeling
  • What happens if you don’t think you can train your mind to be more positive?
  • Try these “luck producing strategies” for 1 month and you will be luckier in your life
  • How people get stuck in an identity of being “unlucky” can sometimes trap you in a certain behavior pattern
  • Creating and cultivating flexibility in your life - taking a different route to work, changing your conversational style - enables you to capture luck in your life
  • Lucky people are “team players” and constantly look for win-wins - trying to help other people become successful and engaging and talking with other people constantly 
  • Buying lottery tickets all day by exploring opportunities and relationships in an open way is how you can “create luck” in your life
  • The biggest myths of self help - and what evidence actually says about them
  • The danger of visualization - and why it doesn’t actually work - in fact “visualization is a terrible idea”
  • Visualizing endpoint threatens your motivation and ability to actually achieve those results, visualizing process is much more effective 
  • Brainstorming reduces creativity by 20% in a group setting for 2 reasons
    • Social Loafing
    • Group gets dominated by people who may or may not be the most creative 
  • The far more effective brainstorming strategy is to brainstorm on your own - then everyone shows up to a meeting with their own perspective
  • The Harvard Motivational Study is a “complete work of fiction” - it’s never been conducted
  • Asking for evidence is essential - don’t believe something because it sounds plausible and it’s easy
  • The power of writing your own eulogy and how it can shed light on your true goals
  • The one technique you can use to shed light on your true intentions and goals for life 
  • Terror management theory - how we respond to the things that scare us
  • Life is short - live the best life possible right now
  • The “As If” Principle
  • You have NO IDEA how you feel until you observe yourself
  • How the “As If” principle can help imapct phobias, anxiety, and depression
  • Ask yourself “how do I behave when I’m happy” - DO ALL THOSE THINGS and you will feel happier
  • The effects happen within 30-40 seconds
  • How do you generate the will power and motivation to act “as if”
  • I’m not nervous “I’m acting as-if I’m excited” - you can use labeling as a tool to act “as-if”
  • The power of the pre-mortem and finding out the risks, downsides, and problems of any project before you get started