In one experiment, Wiseman asked people to self identify themselves as lucky or unlucky. Then he gave his test subjects a newspaper. “Count the number of photographs inside”, he told them.
There were 43 photographs.
On average, the unlucky people took 2 minutes to count them all. The lucky people? Seconds.
The lucky people noticed the giant message that took up half the second page of the newspaper. It said, “Stop counting – There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”
The unlucky people missed it. They also missed the equally giant message half way through the newspaper, “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.”
The “lucky” people weren’t lucky. They were just more observant.