I was part of a group conversation the other day where a couple of quite well known but still thought provoking stories were told.
The first was an experiment in which people were asked to rate themselves as “lucky” or “unlucky”. I instantly engaged with the story because I am known to my friends as being the luckiest lad about. Well there is one guy who trumps me but he wins raffles and lucky dips (he’s Irish), whereas I am always in the right place at the right time. What about yourself, are you lucky?
Anyways, in the experiment they asked each participant to enter a waiting room in a train station or somewhere like that and then they would pick them up in a car. When they had arrived at their destination they were asked if they had found any money. It turns out that a much higher proportion of people who considered themselves as “lucky” had found a £20 note the experimenters had placed in the waiting room.
I find this interesting because it seems to demonstrate some kind of difference in environmental awareness. I have many good friends who consider themselves as unlucky and I’ve always thought they were pessimistic. Now maybe it is because they lack awareness of environmental factors. Conversely, have lucky people got a better sense of opportunity or openness to environmental factors?
The other conversation was about the classic youtube clip which asks you to count the number of passes a basket ball team makes and while they are at it a person in a gorilla suit walks into the middle of the shot and moonwalks off. Your distracted mind does not see this gorilla.
Distraction is very powerful and I think it affects almost every long conversation we have. does it stand to reason that maybe unlucky people are distracted by something so that they don’t notice the money? How easy is it to be distracted away from seeing what is infront of your eyes!?
Try it. I did this. You know a coat stand that is a pole that has a number of hooks at the top.. They’re not big or wide and even with a few coats on they don’t cover you at all. Yet if you are standing behind one and someone walks past they won’t see you. Seriously, try it.
Ever been looking for something and because it is half covered it takes much longer to find it? Ever gone to put the bread in the fridge or the butter in the cupboard? The same thing. It seems to me that we are such simple, distracted creatures that I am able to make the claim that only with technology will we have buck the trend of destroying ourselves over and over again as history shows us. If a computer screen can enhance environmental analysis so that the £20 is always found, the gorilla is always seen, the creep behind the coat stand is always seen and the butter goes in the fridge, then maybe pessimistic people might become a bit more positive about gods rolling of the dice.