|Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire has spent eight years looking into what makes some people consistently lucky and others repeatedly unlucky. |
He has concluded that it is a person's approach to life that matters more than intelligence or psychic ability.
Dr Wiseman devised four principles of luck, which he taught to a group of unlucky people at his 'Luck School' for the last year. He estimates he has reversed the fortunes of around 55 of his previously jinxed 70 pupils.
It appears that people who tell you to 'look on the bright side' are right – Dr Wiseman says that is the first way to improve your luck because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
He also advises that you maximise your chances of something good happening by creating, noticing and acting on opportunities.
By listening to 'gut feelings' and act on 'hunches' about people or situations,
And finally to turn bad luck around by imaging how things could have been worse, or looking at what could be done about the problem.
Dr Wiseman, who has written a book outlining his principles, told BBC News Online: 'Not everything is under control. But a lot more is about your way of thinking and behaving.'
He added: 'I don't think there are any quick fixes. You can't just say 'cheer up'. The whole thing is about looking at living in different ways.'
And he said: 'If people do want to change their luck, now's a good time of year to do it.'
Tracey Hart says she has had her luck changed by the luck school.
Before she took part, she had to cope with five deaths of friends, relatives and pets in close succession.
She was prone to accidents and unhappy in her personal life.
But since the luck school, she says she has started winning regularly at bingo and on the National Lottery, and been able to have a more positive outlook on life.
She told the BBC: 'Before, bad luck never came in threes, it came in nines, 12s or 15s.
'Now, if something bad happens, I think of it as good luck, as it could have been worse.
'It's being positive about everything you do, rather than looking for bad luck to come your way.'