The luck factor with Toni Noble - Happy + Well : Happy + Well

The luck factor with Toni Noble

Written by on October 27, 2015 in Happiness, Learning with 0 Comments


“Can you change your luck, and what are the factors that contribute to you being lucky or unlucky?” Toni Noble asks.

Toni tells us about several unlucky experiences.

The first was when she was in a plane crash in Botswana.

The second was when she was caught in a rip in dangerous surf on an unpatrolled beach.

Thirdly, she has had chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer.

But, she considers herself very lucky!

In the Botswana plane crash, she was lucky because there were no trees on the part of the runway where they crashed, there were no lions around, and there was a man to help fix the tyre. In the rip, there was a person with a boogie board to help pull her out. And when Toni was diagnosed with cancer, she felt lucky to be living in Australia with a wonderful health care system – the ‘Lucky Country.’

Toni draws on the work of Richard Wiseman, who came up with four essential principles for good luck:

  1. Positive tracking: turning bad luck into good fortune. This involves bouncing back from adversity, being resilient. When Toni was stuck in a monster rip, she reminded herself to stay calm as this would improve her chances of survival while she waited for help.
  2. Maximise chance opportunities: for example, striking up conversations with strangers. People who see themselves as lucky tend to maximise chance opportunities and are more open-minded, relaxed, enjoy a wide range of experiences.
  3. Listen to your lucky hunches: People who saw themselves as lucky were more intuitive, and people who saw themselves as consistently lucky engaged in some sort of meditation or mindfulness practice.
  4. Expect good fortune: Lucky people persevere in the face of failure. They may seek support to persist, and they may fail, but at the end of the day they will still say, ‘At least I gave it my best shot.’ Unlucky people don’t expect good luck to last.

Richard Wiseman wanted to change the ‘bad luck’ of those who considered themselves unlucky by putting them through ‘Luck School.’ And he was successful!

One way he encouraged unlucky people to improve their luck was by building networks: to ‘play the contact game.’ Toni tells us that she put this into practice by calling an old girlfriend that she hadn’t spoken to in a long time.

Be open to new experiences: write down six things that are new for you. Toni goes for a different walk each day. You can try new restaurants, new food. Make a point of talking to people you don’t know too well at a party. You can think of a structure for this, for example, talk to everyone wearing red at this party.

One way you can improve your lucky hunches is to do mindful meditations – Toni recommends Barbara Fredrickson’s website as a source of meditations that can help you feel more in touch with that inner voice.

Toni makes a conscious effort to go down to the beach every day and think, ‘How lucky am I?’ She notices the details of the landscape and makes sure that she feels fully present.

“Good luck!” she says.


Professor Toni Noble is a leading teacher, educator and psychologist, Adjunct Professor, Institute of Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *