What do lucky people do differently?

Level: B2/C1/ C2

Type of English: general

Lesson activities: listening comprehension, vocabulary building, speaking practice. 

Grammar focus: expressions

Tags: luck, superstitions, 

Why is it that some people seem to have all the luck? And can we improve our fortunes? The BBC’s Tui McLean explores the ins and outs of being lucky.

During the 1-hour class your teacher will take notes of your mistakes and make corrections.

These will be emailed to you after the lesson.

It is a good idea to revise the same vocabulary at the start of the next lesson.

Opening Questions:

Do you consider yourself lucky?

Describe the last time you got lucky?

Name a few different ways you can get lucky?

Can you improve your luck?

What does “make your own luck” mean? 

Do you have any superstitions? 

Do you have lucky / unlucky numbers?

In your culture, can you think of things that are considered as lucky?

Are you generally optimistic?

Have you ever trusted your intuition and got lucky?

New Vocabulary Questions:

What is the difference between wondering and thinking about?

Do you have any lucky charms, amulets, or talismans? 

What does a horseshoe look like?

Can you name something that iron is used to make?

If I am trying to ward off something, what am I doing?

Do you know the context for the expression “to knock on wood”? 

Do you have any rituals? (maybe with a sports activity) 

Name something that can be overturned.

Describe something that you are striving for.

If I agree to undertake a 1-year project, what did I do?

What does it mean to spot something? (To spot someone in a crowd of people) 

What does it mean to make the most of something (to make the most of a bad situation) 

Have you ever experienced a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Is there a difference between intuition and a hunch?

When is it important to be resilient?

What does it mean to swot for an exam?

In a conversation, if someone says “here’s the kicker”, what will they say?

When talking about someone’s life, what is “along the line”?

How much is a bunch?

If a newspaper article rails against the president, is it positive or negative?

Can you give me an example of “trying circumstances”? 

If a debate, what is a rebuff?

Do you have a strong will?

Do you think you have a Herculean will in some circumstances?

What’s another word for a setback?

Can you describe your temperament?

Are you someone who “sits back to wait and see what happens” or someone who is “the captain of your own fate

If progress is “up to you”, what does it mean? (it’s up to you to make it happen)

How important is your mindset?

Watch the Video:

Task: What are the 4 main psychological principles that separate lucky people from unlucky ones? 

Listening Comprehension Questions:

Why are horseshoes considered lucky?

What does superstition represent? (answer below)

What did the newspaper experiment show? (answer below)

What factors make people lucky and unlucky? (answer below)

What did Obama mean when he said “if you’re successful, you didn’t get that on your own”? 


Where do your talents come from?

Where does your propensity to work hard come from?

Do you think you can bring more good fortune into your life with a positive mindset?

Do you agree that talent and drive only get you so far?

New Vocabulary Practice:

Name something that you have wondered about recently.

Describe a typical lucky charms

What does a horseshoe do?

Can you name 3 other metals? (other than iron)

What do we use to ward off Dracula?

Can you think of a context for the expression “to knock on wood”? 

Describe your morning ritual

Have you overturned any of your own decisions recently?

Is striving always difficult?

Name 1 new commitment that you want to undertake 

Can you spot a liar?

Describe an event that you made the most of 

Can you think of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Tell me about a hunch you had recently.

How can we teach kids to be resilient?

Will you swot for the TOEIC?

Use a bunch to describe something.

Do you have any rebuffs about today’s topic?

Give me an example from your life of “trying circumstances” and how you got through it. 

What is the difference between having a strong will and creating a will?

Does it take a Herculean will to give up smoking?

Describe a recent setback.

Can pets have a temperament?

Can you think of an example for “up to you”?

Describe your current mindset.


Start a conversation and use the expression “here’s the kicker”.

Your teacher will help you set it up. 

Solution & Definitions:

Q: What does superstition represent?

A: Superstition represents people’s attempts to control and improve their luck 


Q: What did the newspaper experiment show? (answer below)

A: Lucky people are more open to possibilities other than the ones they were searching for


Q: What factors make people lucky and unlucky?

A: Where you are born, society, accidents, illness 


4 main psychological principles of lucky people 

1. Lucky people are more open to opportunities 

2. They tend to be optimists. Expecting the best = a self-fulfilling prophecy 

3. Trust their intuition, and have lucky hunches. 

4. Lucky people are more resilient. Can turn bad luck into good fortune. 


wondering = to be curious 

lucky charms, amulets, or talismans = objects believed to be lucky 

a horseshoe = a shoe/protection for a horse 

iron = a heavy metal 

to ward off = to scare away / to keep away 

to knock on wood = a superstition that words off bad luck 

A ritual = a performed habit 

overturned = to cancel or to change your mind 

striving = working hard to achieve something 

 to undertake = to commit to / to accept 

 to spot = to identify 

to make the most of something = to optimise an event / experience 

a self-fulfilling prophecy = a prediction about yourself that becomes reality 

a hunch = an intuition / a feeling 

To be resilient = the ability to keep trying / to keep going 

to swot = to study hard for an exam 

here’s the kicker = expression used to introduce an surprise/ something unknown 

a bunch = a group / a few 

rails against = negative opinion 

A trying circumstance =  a challenging situation 

a rebuff = a negative reply/ answer 

Your will = your mental strength to achieve something 

Herculean will = a very very strong will 

a setback = a disappointment / something negative happens 

temperament = general character/ personality of a person 

sits back to wait and see what happens = passive 

the captain of your own fate = active 

up to you = it is your responsibility to do something 

mindset = your mental process/ way of thinking about something 


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