I’ve had many people say I’m lucky. I’ve never thought of myself as particularly lucky…fortunate maybe…grateful, for sure…but I’ve yet to win the big Lotto jackpot. I’m lucky because I have friends, a wonderful family, a good job with a good boss. And sometimes, no matter how bad the situation, good things seem to come from it. (See my story, Working Through My Stress)

But now there is a scientific study that did find a difference between the lucky and unlucky person. What makes a person lucky? Often it’s less about actual luck than it is about a person’s general outlook. Here’s why.

The fascinating study by psychologist Richard Wiseman found that:

“Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.”

People who we often consider lucky are more relaxed and open to what’s going on around them. They’re not focused on a single task, blocking out everything else so much that they miss something important and unexpected. What this experiment demonstrates is that luck may not so much be luck, but whether or not our mindset leaves us open to opportunities we would otherwise miss because we’re so absolutely sure of what we want.

So that explains my luckiness. I try to make lemonade out of lemons, to see the positive outcomes from the bad. Look for the best in my situation, and if my situation is bad, work towards a solution. And the study shows, we can all be so lucky.