How Lucky Can a Doctor Really Get?

Physician's Money Digest, May 2007, Volume 14, Issue 5

When I was a kid, the idletimeactivity of choice wasreading comic books. Inone of my favorites, "Walt DisneyComics and Stories," there was a characternamed Gladstone Gander, billedas "the luckiest duck in the world." Forexample, when being evicted from hishouse, he bent over and found a diamondring. He promptly turned it in,used the resulting reward to pay hisdebts, and walked back inside his house.

Luck and personal finance shouldhave little to do with each other, buthow many times have you heard a doctorin the hospital cafeteria say "I hadgood/bad luck with that investment"?Financial success should come fromprudent planning, not the unexpectedoccurrence that is one loose definitionof luck. The good news is that researchhas shown that there is less "dumbluck" than you might think.

Is Your Glass Half Full?

Being lucky or unlucky is all in yourattitude. Do you expect good things tohappen? Certainly a positive attitudeencourages others to help you and inspiresyou to keep going in the face ofadversity, both tending to yield goodthings for you. Also, if you look for thesilver lining, you'll feel more in controlof your life—an important part ofavoiding what appears to be bad luck.This is not a "Pollyanna philosophy,"this is making a silk purse out of a sow'sear—the results of which a casualobserver might interpret as good luck.

If you are optimistic, you will trymore things. And more attempts tend toyield more positive results. Researcherssay that people who perceive themselvesas lucky actually make more good thingshappen; they don't just passively waitfor positive chance, such as the fictitiouslucky Gladstone Gander does. Even towin the lottery, you do have to buy aticket, and, theoretically, more triesimproves your opportunity of winning.

Creating Your Own Bad Luck

And, if you have a negative attitude,good things that happen tend to be dismissedor forgotten while adverseevents are ruminated upon. If you'dlike to have some fun and test this theoryin your financial life, your practice,or any other endeavor, keep a "luckdiary." At the end of each day, writedown the good things that happened toyou. After a few weeks, when youreview all those positive occurrencesthat you forgot about or dismissed, youmight start feeling a bit more likeGladstone than you realized. To paraphraseCarlos Santana, to be happyyou have to be grateful and to be gratefulyou have to be aware of what youhave actually done. Good luck!