Superstition is the Way

I was watching Stevie Wonder on the Diamond Jubilee Concert at the weekend and busting some moves to Superstition, and that made me start thinking about it. Superstition that is, not dancing.

Superstition is something that we all now assume to be a little naive. It’s the sort of thing that old wives would tell each other. On this note, I’ve no idea why only old wives tell each other about superstitions, in my experience it is mostly men that fear walking under ladders, or looking at black cats. But still, you know the sort of thing that I mean, all of these old wives (not the Military Wives) sat round a table talking about broken mirrors, new shoes and umbrellas. And what about the other type of superstitions, the personal ones, the ones that have evolved from a person’s own experience. The lucky pants, socks, or any other type of underwear; the certain meal before a big game; a lucky coin; a repetition of an innocuous task.

They’re everywhere, so even though we still think they’re a little naive, most people still harbour some guilty obsession with at least one. Once upon a time, I was so obsessed with touching wood every time someone said ‘touch wood’ that I even carried a match with me in my wallet for moments when there wasn’t any wood nearby. Seriously, what was I thinking?

But the good news is that I’m here to tell you that all of these things work. They all have an epic amount of power that cannot possibly be conceived by our tiny minds. The universal strength, and the prophecies of the future, reside in a mirror being broken. The fate of humanity hinges on a rabbits foot. All you have to do is believe it.

Because actually scientific research has found that if a superstition, or some kind of special routine, is believed by the subject then they will experience improved performance and ‘good luck’. Equally, if a negative superstitious event occurs or you aren’t wearing your lucky pants, then a downturn in performance and ‘luck’ is noticed. So, basically, the superstition or object involved isn’t important at all until you put your belief into it. The belief itself is what drives the person’s psychology to feel more optimistic, more positive, and to make success happen.

You can choose whatever you want, to be ‘the thing’ that you believe in, and as long as you believe that it has some power in it then it will. Alternatively, you could work on taking control of feeling more confident as and when you need to, rather than making yourself dependent on an external event to control your state. The psychology of sport is fascinating and I’ve mentioned before about the successful outcomes that can be achieved by getting that part of your game right, but this stuff effects all areas of your life. If you need to be wearing a certain pair of pants to feel good then you probably need to change your beliefs, or get a new washing machine because you’re going to be using it a lot.

The responsibility for success is within yourself, and not only is it irresponsible to put that power into something else but it’s also not as good. Your performance, confidence and probability of success becomes inconsistent and diluted. Instead, bring the power back inside and take control of your own destiny.

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