There’s no such thing as “dumb luck,” says psychologist Richard Wiseman, professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England. According to his research, people who say they’re consistently lucky actually make good things happen to them because of the way they approach life.

In The Luck Factor: The Four Essential Principles (Miramax Books, 2004), Wiseman writes that anyone can create happier outcomes by adopting these four habits:

  1. Capitalize on chance opportunities. Get out of your psychological rut and be alert to new experiences that may benefit you.
  2. Respect your intuition. Don’t overanalyze decisions or let them bog down in mental clutter.
  3. Expect good things to happen. A positive outlook encourages others to help you and keeps you from giving up in the face of adversity.
  4. Find the silver lining in “bad luck.” Had a fender-bender? Consider the upside: you weren’t hurt because you had your seatbelt on. This approach can help you feel more in control of your life.

To train yourself in this way of thinking, Wiseman suggests an idea I really like: keeping a “luck diary.” At the end of each day, write down the good things that happened to you that day. After several weeks of this, you’re bound to realize just how “lucky” you are.