A close-up shot of a shattered mirror reflecting a single raindrop, symbolizing the viewer's perception of their own misfortune and questioning their luck in life.

Why Do I Feel Like I’M So Unlucky?

Do you ever feel like life just keeps throwing obstacles in your path? Do you look around and see other people effortlessly achieving their goals while you struggle against a current of bad luck? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Many people feel plagued by constant bad luck and can’t seem to figure out why.

If you’re looking for a quick answer: feeling chronically unlucky is often due to cognitive biases that distort our thinking. Reframing your perspective and taking action to create more opportunities can help you feel luckier. Read on to learn more.

Examining Thought Patterns Behind Perceived Bad Luck

Negativity and Confirmation Bias

People who feel unlucky tend to focus more on the negative things that happen rather than the positive (known as the negativity bias). They also look for evidence that confirms their belief that they are unlucky, ignoring instances that contradict this notion (called confirmation bias).

For example, if they miss a flight, they think “I knew something bad would happen,” but don’t count the dozens of times they caught flights without incident.

Learned Helplessness

When people feel they have no control over situations, they develop learned helplessness – a sense that their actions don’t matter. This makes them passive in the face of difficulty and less likely to notice opportunities. People who feel unlucky often have a habit of learned helplessness.

Rather than trying to improve their luck, they assume nothing will change.

External Locus of Control

People with an external locus of control believe that events are driven by external factors like fate or chance. They don’t think they can influence outcomes through their efforts. This outlook makes them feel unlucky because they don’t feel empowered to create positive change.

An internal locus of control – believing you are the master of your fate – is linked to greater success and happiness.

Tips for Feeling Luckier

Reframe Your Perspective

Sometimes we feel unlucky because we’re focusing too much on the negative. Try reframing your perspective to see the positives around you. Notice the small moments of joy, signs of progress, acts of kindness from others. There is luck to be found if you change your lens.

As the saying goes, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Keep an open mind and know that your luck can change at any moment.

Take Action to Create Opportunities

Luck often favors the proactive. Instead of waiting for good fortune to strike, take steps to create opportunities and maximize the chances of a lucky break. For example, if you want to meet new people, sign up for a class or join a club.

If you need a new job, update your resume and reach out to your network. Taking initiative increases the odds of stumbling upon those lucky coincidences. As inventor Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Roll up your sleeves and make some luck!

Practice Gratitude

It’s easy to overlook how much luck you already have when focused on what’s lacking. Make a habit of actively appreciating the good in your life. Keep a gratitude journal where you log a few things each day that you’re thankful for – your health, loved ones, freedoms, nature’s beauty.

Express thanks to others who have touched your life. Research shows that grateful people experience more positive emotions, feel luckier, and see more blessings. Regular gratitude shifts your mindset to realize how much luck you have right now.

Visualize Success

Your mindset can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you’re unlucky, you may unconsciously sabotage opportunities. Shift your thinking by vividly visualizing success. Imagine the details of your dream job, perfect relationship, or lottery winnings.

Visualization helps reprogram your mind for positivity and luck. Famous golf player Arnold Palmer said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” So keep picturing your version of success – your mind is a magnet drawing good fortune your way!

When to Seek Help for Pervasive Bad Luck Beliefs

Feeling unlucky or cursed can be distressing and disrupt normal functioning. While brief episodes are common, persistently believing you’re doomed by misfortune warrants professional help. Here’s guidance on when to seek support.

If Beliefs Are Intrusive and Disruptive

Occasional superstitions don’t necessarily signal deeper issues. But if thoughts like “I’m jinxed” or “the universe is against me” constantly plague your mind and hinder daily activities, that suggests problematic beliefs.

For instance, you might excessively avoid certain places, numbers, people or situations out of fear they’ll bring bad luck. Or you might compulsively perform rituals hoping to reverse perceived curses. Such excessive, distressing beliefs may benefit from counseling.

If Beliefs Cause Significant Distress

Feeling cursed or ill-fated can understandably cause sadness, anxiety, anger or hopelessness. But if these emotions are overwhelming and persistent, reaching out is wise. A counselor can help identify thought patterns fueling distress and equip you with healthier coping strategies.

They can also assess if co-occurring issues like depression or anxiety disorders are at play.

If Beliefs Impact Relationships

Perceiving oneself as unlucky can strain interpersonal bonds. You may isolate yourself to avoid “spreading” bad luck. Or you might frequently vent negativity, frustrating loved ones. A therapist can aid communication of your experience in a constructive manner.

Counseling also helps address relationship anxiety stemming from beliefs one is cursed. Overall, support is recommended if beliefs adversely affect relationships.

If Beliefs Impede Treatment of Other Conditions

Feeling cursed could potentially deter people from seeking treatment for physical or mental health conditions. A counselor can help separate realistic health concerns from misfortunate thinking. They can also equip you to follow treatment plans despite lingering unlucky feelings.

Similarly, if superstitions keep you from taking prescribed medications, a therapist can help you manage fears.

If Beliefs Are Potentially Delusional

While bad luck beliefs are usually within the realm of normal experience, in some cases they may reflect delusional thinking. For example, a person might become convinced a specific person or entity has supernaturally cursed them, despite lack of proof.

If beliefs reach delusional intensity yet the person refuses to accept more realistic explanations, psychiatric treatment may be required.


Feeling unlucky can be extremely frustrating. But with some effort to adjust your mindset and take proactive steps, you can absolutely turn your luck around. Focus on the positives, create opportunities, and don’t give up.

If bad luck beliefs continue to significantly impact your life, consider speaking to a mental health professional. With consistent effort, you can rewrite your self-narrative and realize that you have the power to make your own luck.

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