People who win Powerball, the Lottery, or a ginormous slot machine jackpot are definitely lucky. How about winners of the Super Bowl, the NBA Championship, the Stanley Cup, or the World Series? Are they lucky?  Am I lucky when I make every green light along Eastern Avenue when I drive the four miles from home to work?  

If there’s such a thing as good luck, what about bad luck? I have a friend who got a flat tire in the middle of the airport tunnel during rush hour.  And I’m sure we all know people who’ve had their houses burglarized, or their cars stolen.  Bad luck? Coincidence? Karma?

Psychologists are of the general opinion that there are three definitions of luck: (1) it’s a synonym for chance; (2) it’s created by a supernatural force coming from the universe; and (3) it’s something you’re born with.  I’d like to add one more definition, it’s how you see yourself. 

So, let’s break this down, starting with the concept that luck is chance.  When you win a jackpot, a door prize, or the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes, it is definitely a chance occurrence.  Luck can also be a message from the universe, either as a reward for being an overall nice person, or as a punishment for being a jerk.  As to luck by birth, consider social status, wealth, intelligence, and even propensity toward addiction as a form of inherent luck (good or bad).  Seeing yourself as lucky or unlucky is significant because it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.   We all know people who start a sentence, “with my luck . . .” and then the rest of their sentence actually happens.  With my luck, the store will give away the last free backpack to the person in front of me in line.  With my luck, TSA will call me out for a random scan, and I’ll miss my flight.  You get the idea.

So, how can you improve your luck?

First, and this seems so obvious to me, maximize your chance opportunities.  Buy a lottery ticket or enter a contest.

Second, and this is something I learned from my dad, expect good things to happen.  When prize tickets are being drawn out of a fishbowl, I just know that my number is eventually going to be called.

Third, take a look at the bigger picture.  Sometimes what seems like a deterrent at first, can turn into an opportunity.  Have patience.

Fourth, change an old habit to see a new opportunity.  Take the surface streets to work instead of the freeway.  Maybe you’ll happen upon a new vegetarian restaurant, or a gorgeous cactus garden.

As for me, I can admit to my own share of good luck.  I’ve won many radio contests and door prizes.  I once won a year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni.  And I’ve even been an undefeated champion on “The $100,000 Pyramid.”  I will continue to buy raffle tickets and enter sweepstakes because I know for sure that something good is about to happen.

Are you lucky?