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In a general sense, there is no more ambiguous and fickle concept in everyday human language than a concept of luck. Since the prehistoric times, people have continuously been challenged by the obscurity and abruptness of the surrounding world. Basically, even the spectacular development of science seems to have not been able to clarify the intrinsic logic of the world once and for all. Thereby, the concept of luck is still being widely used in order to make sense of the events that people encounter during their lives. However, Richard Wiseman claims that the phenomenon of luck has much more subjective nature than it is commonly believed, and he appears to have a great empirical background to support his opinion (27-30).

As a matter of fact, people usually tend to refer to the concept of luck in a way that presupposes its unequivocally objective foundations. In this respect, luck is believed to be a sort of phenomenon that functions as a direct derivative of the objective world in its fully inconceivable inner logic. Elaboration of such approach actually enables people to speculatively endow the chaotic flow of everyday events with elusive order which somehow explains at least the extremums of that flow. Besides, such manner of interpretation of current events allows people to disclaim their own responsibility for the course of their lives; seemingly, if there is a bad luck, how can one be able to prevent it from happening or put it under one’s control? By referring to the elusive phenomenon of luck, people constantly tend to legitimate the whole of their activity (and inactivity) that have actually preceded a factual event which is then said to be either “a good luck” or “a bad luck”.

Once the concept of luck emerged and entrenched in the human mentality, the piteous recognition of the inability to supervise the unpredictable itinerary of the luck rapidly developed and stimulated the search of ways to make the luck factor controlled. The moment of such recognition is precisely the moment when various superstitions started to appear and proliferate exponentially. Avoiding black cats, crossing fingers, knocking on wood, bewaring of number thirteen – all these peculiar practices arose so as to defend the people from a bad luck and make a good luck come. However, the studies of Wiseman and other scholars appear to indicate that there is no connection between any of those practices and the luck factor. Moreover, some experiments revealed that even inverse relationship might be detected; that is, the more a person starts to depend on lucky charms and superstitions, the less good luck seems to be actually attracted in his or her everyday life.

So, if the luck is not dependent on any of common superstitions, can it be said to be totally beyond human control then? And even more fundamentally, does the luck appear to be a kind of sublime force that the humankind cannot ever get access to? Such rationally oriented scholars as Wiseman would definitely disagree with assumptions of such kind. Indeed, Wiseman emphasizes that the luck is not a magical ability or the result of random chance, but rather a direct outcome of people’s own thoughts and behavior (28).

According to the results of Wiseman’s research, there are certain principles by following which lucky people appear to be able to generate relatively bigger amount of luck in their everyday lives. More specifically, Wiseman highlights that lucky people “are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good” (28). Basically, lucky people can be said to have a completely different contours of everyday reality in comparison with those that are typical for unlucky people. In this respect, while unlucky people tend to interpret their experiences through a lens of the idea that more positive outcomes were possible but eventually not reached, lucky people continuously focus their attention not on shortcomings but on benefits which can be derived from any experience that they encounter during their lives. Such sharp contrast between those two interpretative frameworks actually forms two completely different visions of reality. One vision is structured around positive expectations about future events and contented attitude towards the past happenings. The other one is seemingly based on regretful assessment of the past and the future, which predetermines the constant lack of satisfaction with the present. And as far as the luck is concerned, those two visions of reality presuppose an entirely different assessment of the luck factor’s presence. Fortunately, as Wiseman’s research reveals, those visions and respective assessments are readjustable, and virtually any willing person is capable of making his or her life more joyful and, certainly, lucky.

Proper estimation of the value of Wiseman’s research requires a reference to Alfred Korzybski, who once developed an idea which proposed that “the map is not the territory” (58). This statement actually describes the discrepancy between the factual state of affairs and its subjective interpretation, which appears to be prevalent in people’s assessment of their lives. The territory of the real can be conceived and traced by people only if they are able to compose a certain map of that territory. Basically, that map is a certain coherent notion of the world, oneself, and the others, and the exact appearance of that map varies from person to person, yet retains some commonalities dictated by an actual sociocultural context a particular person is grounded in. However, various maps that people develop and use so as to navigate throughout their casual territories never resemble the real world in a complete way. In this respect, people tend to interpret the facts which they encounter during their lives in a way that objective characteristics of any particular event become perverted to a certain extent. Indeed, the facts that people rely on in order to make sense of their everyday lives generally appear to be the creations or fabrications of people themselves, but not the precise reflections of the actual state of affairs (Latour and Woolgar).

Generally, what Wiseman actually tries to clarify is that the luck is a merely subjective construct which can be easily reconstructed by the force of the subjective will. The concept of luck functions as a specific element of the map of any person, and this element obtains different form and subjective assessment in each particular case. Nevertheless, it is just an element of the map, not a feature of the territory. Thereby, both “a good luck” and “a bad luck” are just the ordinary concepts which are present on people’s maps in different proportions. More importantly, Wiseman reveals that those proportions can be modified (30). There is nothing special about the chaotic flow of everyday events that people encounter in their lives; only personal interpretations of that flow are indeed special. And it is the factual possibility of any person to reconsider one’s own attitude towards the luck and establish more positive vision of one’s life so as to make it really positive and prosperous.

Code: Sample20

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