Viewing entries tagged
St. Patrick's Day

Comment

St. Patty’s Day Merrymakers: Talking about luck with Karla Starr

Karla Starr

Karla Starr

Karla Starr is a writer living in New York City. She writes about social science, and is currently writing a book about how and why people get chosen for opportunities. Recently I had the chance to talk with Karla about whether luck is real, how to create more of it, and how to avoid the bad kind.

 Feeling lucky? Read on!

Everybody’s Invited!: What is luck?

Karla Starr: It’s one of those words that can have a slippery definition. It can mean a million different things, and some people don’t believe it exists. The definition I like best is “probability interpreted personally,” because you can’t argue that probability doesn’t exist.

EI!: Are some people really luckier than others? Because sometimes it seems that way.

KS: It depends on how you interpret it. Looking at the bell curve of probability distribution, if events really are random, then some people will be the recipient of more unlikely occurrences than others, by definition.

One of the main things that explains why some people might have more good things happen to them is rooted in personality. If you’re an extroverted optimist, you’ll have a larger social network which leads to knowing about more opportunities, such as cool parties or jobs.

EI!: What else contributes to feeling lucky?

KS: Whether you have an Approach/Promotion mindset or an Avoid/Prevention mindset. People with the former are more focused on the possibility of rewards. They’re focused on new friendships and experiences. Those with the Avoid/Prevention mindset are more concerned with preventing pain or bad things from happening. They’re more likely to focus on not being rejected, and not losing what they already have.

The Approach/Promotion mindset leads to the exploratory behavior that is associated with better luck.

EI!: I’m listening to you describe these two types of people and I’m thinking that one is clearly better. Is that just me being biased?

KS: It’s not that we all have one mindset or the other all the time. We can change from one to the other, depending on the situation or the domain. You might be risk-averse when it comes to money, but have a high risk tolerance in social situations. It’s also easy to prime people to behave in one way or the other.

EI!: Phew! Good to know. The Avoid/Prevention mindset sounds like it’s related to scarcity.

KS: It is! Or, rather, it’s related to perceived scarcity. People who perceive something to be scarce end up being overly focused on whatever goal they’re trying to reach. Here’s an example from earlier today when I took a walk outside. I wasn’t walking with a specific goal in mind, like, say, to the train, hurriedly. I was just wandering around my neighborhood. Because I wasn’t overly focused on getting from point A to point B, I was paying attention to the different things in my neighborhood. And I found five dollars.

EI!: Lucky!

KS: Yeah. So then I went and bought kale, and an onion, and a mango, because that’s how I roll.  You see that all the time here in New York. People are in such a rush that they only see the step in front of them. They wouldn’t notice if Benedict Cumberbatch walked right by them.

EI!: Um…I would definitely notice. Hey, if this is just about probability, then wouldn’t paying more attention open you up to more bad luck, too? If you’re looking around more, aren’t you more likely to notice your ex on the subway platform and start crying uncontrollably?

KS: That leads us back to another part of the equation which is optimism and, specifically, resilience. If you’re resilient you can recover from seeing your ex on the subway, and you might not consider yourself any less lucky for having seen him. What looks like an average amount of good luck might actually just be an abnormally high amount of resilience.

EI!: Word.

TO CREATE MORE LUCK IN YOUR LIFE, CHECK OUT KARLA’S PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR BRINGING ON MORE UNEXPECTED REWARDS:

  • Always leave a lot of time to get from one place to another, and look around you. That’s when you notice the really cool stuff that can change your life.

  • Maintain a wide, diverse social circle. Increasing your network increases the number of opportunities you’re aware of. It’s just a numbers game.

  • Say yes to new things. Optimistic people imagine the world is full of potential rewards, and therefore they’re open to new experiences.

  • Don’t take rejection personally. While there are certain things you can do to set yourself up for success, there are so many factors that go into decision-making, many of which are out of your control. Resilient people can bounce back because they don’t personalize failures.

Be sure to visit Karla’s website for more.

Comment

Comment

Theme Party Inspiration: Pot of Gold

Top of the muffin (err, I mean mornin’) to you! In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I created a Pinterest board full of ideas for throwing a “Pot of Gold” theme party.

(Oh, and don’t worry. I’ve got plenty of gold-related idioms to throw at you. Aren’t you lucky as a four leaf clover!)

Party Inspiration:

I love gooooooold! For this party, you will need gold (and lots of it!). Add pops of emerald green and white, stripes, polka dots, and shamrock motifs throughout the decor.

Invitations: 

We love these simple and modern invitations from Etsy.

Decorations:

Set the table with this gorgeous stripey tray.

2.jpeg

And serve Irish coffees in these adorable polka dot mugs.

4.jpeg

Menu:

You may not find actual gold at this party, but shamrock macaroonspot ‘o gold popcorn, and pot ‘o gold cakepops are almost as good in my book.

5.jpeg
6.jpeg

Your guests will feel good as gold after sipping a few of these sparkling “Pot of Gold” cocktails.

8.jpeg

Party Favors:

Guests will think you have a heart of gold when you send them home with these homemade lucky clover bags filled with chocolate gold coins.

9.jpeg

Activities:

One lucky leprechaun could find a pot of gold at the end of a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt.

Although a little cliché, photobooths are always fun!

Attire:

Feel lucky (and pretty!) with this four-leaf gold clover around your neck.

12.jpeg

We totally struck gold when we came across these shoes; they’re perfect! Not only are they gold, they’re also really leprechaun-y.

13.jpeg

Head on over to our Pinterest page to find a gold mine of ideas for throwing a “Pot of Gold” St. Patrick’s day theme party!

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Comment