What things bring good luck? What are good luck charms? Do lucky charms actually work? What are the best good luck charms? What is a good luck gift?
So what exactly IS good luck and how do we attract it?
For Centuries, people have looked for better fortune and for how to get good luck with money and wealth in their lives and in their businesses. Not only that, but we are always looking for ways to avoid BAD luck with superstitious gestures like crossing our fingers, throwing salt over our shoulders, and so on. But what are the signs of good luck (and what are the signs of bad luck), and how can we attract good luck into our lives (and ward off, or avoid bad luck)?
See some Good Luck charms in our Good Luck Gift Shop store
Is luck a self-fulfilling prophecy?
People have been interested in the concept of luck for many years: The English poet, John Milton (1608-1674) described luck as “the residue of design”; and Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman, Seneca (4 BC – AD 65) wrote: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” More recently, the former American football player, coach, and analyst, Lou Holtz (a man who puts a lot of store in the effect of ‘attitude’) said: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”
According to Wikipedia: Luck (in its basic form) is the concept that defines the experience of notably positive, negative, or improbable events.
Andrew Heikkila writing on LifeHack talks about what Psychologists call “locus of control”: An external locus of control means that you believe the world around you controls you more than you control yourself. A person with an internal locus of control believes that he or she can influence events and their outcomes, whereas, someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything. So Heikkila says: While those who may consider themselves “unlucky” generally have an external locus of control, those who consider themselves “lucky” have an internal locus of control. The perception of chance between these two generally reflects their view of luck. In other words: It’s all down to the old saying: “You make your own luck!”
What is luck scientifically?
There is much evidence to support the idea that it’s actually all down to belief. Belief in luck acts like a placebo, producing positive thinking and improving a person’s response to events. In personality Psychology, people are said to differ from each other depending on four key aspects: Belief in luck; Rejection of luck; Being lucky; and Being unlucky. People who believe in good luck are said to be more optimistic, more satisfied with their lives, and have better moods. People who believe they are personally unlucky, experience more anxiety, and are less likely to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. One 2010 study found that golfers who were told they were using a “lucky ball” performed better than those who were not.
So, there is no exact definition of luck or good luck. But many people think that luck is best explained as the faith that people have in expecting good things to happen.
Good luck charms that work
Studies by two British Universities (Edinburgh and the University of Hertfordshire) confirm this. The studies show that many people who, for example, carry good luck charms not only feel that their luck is better because of it – but also that, in reality, they have a luckier life . . with their good fortune improving on a daily basis and with every particular task and event. For people with a religious background, this belief can be due to their belief in an element of providence – a manifestation of their God’s care and guardianship, or of a deity’s divine intervention. For others, it can simply be a question of inspiration and motivation – the power of faith.
Luck is not just chance
The author of this report, Professor Wiseman, is someone who knows a thing or two about luck. Richard (Professor at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK) is described by a Scientific American columnist as ‘…one of the most innovative experimental psychologists in the world today’. Professor Wiseman is the author of the research paper “Why lucky charms matter” and has been researching luck for 20 years or more. Over this period, he’s collected significant evidence which shows that lucky people really do meet their perfect partners, achieve their lifelong ambitions, find fulfilling careers and live happy and meaningful lives. Their success is not due to them working especially hard, being amazingly talented or exceptionally intelligent. Instead, they simply appear to have an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. Professor Wiseman’s research reveals that people are not born lucky. Instead, lucky people seem to be guided by their belief in themselves as lucky, and to think and behave in ways that create good fortune in their lives. Often, they’ve been told that they’re lucky from an early age; Or they’ve experienced several positive events over a short period of time that have left them feeling lucky or blessed. Whatever the cause, their belief in their own luck encourages them to be open to new experiences, to seek opportunities and to rise to challenges.
These so-called “lucky people” trust their intuition and gut feelings. They also look forward to the future because they assume it will be filled with good fortune. Consequently, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But there’s more to it than that. Since lucky people are optimistic about how things will turn out, they tend to be positive in their interactions with others or and therefore foster the very conditions that make a positive outcome more likely. The people who believe they are lucky have greater success because the lucky filter in their minds alerts them to seize the opportunity in front of them. And when they hit a bad patch? Well, because they always expect things to turn out well in the end, they’re able to ride out the bad times until the tide turns in their favour. Which, of course, makes them remarkably resilient.
In one particularly interesting experiment, Richard asked volunteers to flip through a newspaper and count the number of photographs inside it. He didn’t tell them that, after about three pages, there was a half-page advert that said: “Stop counting” or “There are 43 photographs in this newspaper”. In case they missed it, a few pages further on, there was another advert that said: “Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you’ve seen this and win £150!” For the most part, people who’d identified themselves as unlucky missed both of these adverts. The lucky people laughed and said: “There are 43 photos. That’s what it says. Do you want me to bother counting?” When told to carry on, they’d flip through some more pages and say: “Do I get my £150?”
In other words, the people who believed they were lucky had greater success because the ‘lucky’ filter in their minds alerted them to seize the opportunity in front of them.
Way back in 2004, Professor Wiseman asked: “Is there a distinction between chance and luck?” “Yes,” he said, “there’s a big distinction. Chance events are like winning the lottery. They are events over which we have no control, other than buying a ticket.” See the report on the BBC.
Luck, on the other hand, tends to come about by believing. In other words, luck is having faith. Tennessee Williams wrote: “Luck is believing you are lucky” And many people think that there is power in a thought made concrete by a lucky charm – being a constant reminder of purpose and desire – and an inspiration to succeed.
So, expect good fortune and you just might get it. Which is why, gifting a ‘good luck’ gift is giving a present that has real meaning and, in all likelihood, real effect.
As Wiseman points out, the one thing that Good Luck is NOT, is fate – which is purely a chance happening of a fortunate event. Indeed, pure chance (not good luck per se), is an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes something to happen one way rather than another . . like serendipity – the ability of making fortunate discoveries by accident. Nor can Good Luck be defined as destiny – which is the so-called inevitable fate to which a particular person is destined.
This concept has been proved by research at Cologne University, in Germany, which more or less demonstrates that good luck comes from a belief (or faith) in a good outcome of an event being so strong that it leads to a subsequent improvement in performance. (Hence the close link between good luck and religious faith / providence – and so-called Gifts of Faith.)
So, in many ways, it is possible to sum up the concept of “good luck” as the beneficial result of a personal belief (whether that belief is spiritual, religious, superstitious or secular). And if this is true, then it should be possible to gift good luck by giving a friend or loved-one something which REMINDS them of this belief.
It is well known that many so-called ‘lucky’ people carry lucky charms or a talisman like a lucky horseshoe, clover, ladybird or Indalo. Millions of people (possibly billions) believe in luck. The British Museum has a complete collection of lucky charms dating back centuries. Some of the most powerful people in the world believe in good luck charms: President Roosevelt carried a rabbit’s foot in his jacket. Napoleon carried a lucky coin; and during his election campaign, Barack Obama carried an array of good luck charms in his pocket.
British behavioural scientist, broadcaster and author Paul McKenna believes that it really is possible to learn how to get luckier too, and how to optimise your sense of self, how to get more in touch with your deepest values or and how to visualise your perfect day again and again in your mind until it becomes a reality. His own special formula for this is called “Living in the Moment”. He says that living more in the moment doesn’t take away your past or your ability to create a positive future, it just means that you will get more out of yourself and your life on a daily basis.
In 2014, Paul’s theories were published in the English edition of the Daily Mail newspaper.
So, despite the fact that many people imagine that good luck (and bad luck too) is the mere chance of good or bad fortune . . fortuity and fate, in reality, good luck is not merely a bit of success than can come from a lucky break, or the good fortune of a ‘godsend’, or the blessing of good karma that the randomness of fate can bring. On the contrary, it has been shown that good luck is opportunity and a positive attitude . . all rooted in belief. It is probably best defined as the result of the inspiration to take advantage of a fortuitous situation.
How can I attract good luck?
As scientific studies have actually shown, if you are expecting good luck (because, for example, someone has wished you good luck by giving you something which reminds you of your aims, goals or desires), then you are probably more likely to get it. This is because you are more likely to notice an opportunity when it arises and so take advantage of the situation. Sadly, the reverse can also be true: As Henry Ford famously said: “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right!”
What things bring good luck?
Of course religious and spiritual belief plays a huge part in this concept too, and that is why we feature so many of such items in our Good Luck Gift Shop store:
For example: See our lucky charms (especially on jewellery) like: The cross of Saint James, Guardian Angels, Indalos, St Christopher charms, Conha de Vieira Scallop Shells, Yin-Yang symbols, Zodiac or Astrological star-signs, crosses of Tau and Caravaca, and so on, as well as more secular gifts like lucky Horseshoes, Clovers, Shamballa bracelets, lucky Ladybirds and other creatures like Elephants, Geckos and Butterflies, etc.
Lots of people carry some sort of lucky charm (or an object of religious faith or inspiration) to help their life go a little bit better. Once someone recognises or acknowledges the positive energy of a lucky object, they allow that object to realise it’s potential to do good . . it INSPIRES them. So, to attract Good Luck, people equip themselves with these so-called Lucky Charms. Indeed, at some point in their lives, most people have possessed a good luck charm, amulet or talisman. This is particularly true amongst sports people, politicians and actors: Michael Jordan, the famous Chicago Bulls basketball star, spent his entire NBA career wearing his old University of North Carolina shorts under his team shorts – for good luck.
Lots of people genuinely believe that if they carry a good luck charm, it will bring them good fortune and prosperity, and that it will make their day go just that little bit better than normal. A study by the University of Cologne (see Daily Mail article), confirms this: It is the BELIEF (in good luck charm – or a symbol of faith like a Christian cross) that makes people have more luck.
Lucky charms are often thought to have some sort of magical powers: And there is nothing wrong with that. People have put their faith is inexplicable symbols, beliefs and religions since time immemorial. In Japan, especially during the spring exam time, people go to shrines and temples – but not to pray. They write their wishes on a wooden tablet called an ’ema’ that has a picture of a horse on the back, and then hang the tablet in the temple. Long ago, people believed that the Gods rode horses, and so an ema was a way of asking the Gods to come and help them. And, just like many other people throughout the world today, they really believe that it will work. Children in school put lucky charms on their desks, attach them to cell phones, and so on. The point is – they BELIEVE it will work.
So, is attracting good luck just a question of having belief and being positive?
In many ways you could say so, yes. But when we are a bit ‘down’ in the first place (and being positive is the last thing on our minds), how can someone telling us to “buck-up” and to “be positive”, turn things around for us and open the door to a plethora of great times and good fortune?
So no, it is not just a question of telling ourselves to “be positive” (although of course this helps enormously). Research has shown that if you actually possess something to REMIND you to be positive, it is far better. And a so-called ‘lucky’ item or charm can do just that. This item (or good luck charm – call it what you will) can constantly gnaw at our sub-conscious reminding us to be on the lookout for good opportunities. And what sort of item does this best? Well, it depends on your outlook on life, but for people who have some sort of religious belief, for example, all that is needed is a SYMBOL of that belief and ‘hey presto’ that item can remind them of their purpose and desires, and so, theoretically, bring them more good fortune.
Perhaps this is why, over the centuries, belief and faith have become entangled in so-called superstition – something to which many people feel inwardly obliged to adhere. This is typically manifested by, for example, the tradition of touching wood (or ‘knocking on wood’) which dates back thousands of years. Another example is of the crossing fingers. Even these days, there are few people who will openly tempt their superstitions. This is because it would go against their inwardly-held beliefs . . which is one sure way to attract BAD luck. In fact, so many people avoid the number 13 that it is often absent from the floor of a hotel or the seat number on a plane. Many superstitions are related to luck, though these are often specific to a given culture, and are sometimes contradictory. For example, lucky symbols include the number 7 in Christian-influenced cultures, but the number 8 in Chinese-influenced cultures. Unlucky acts include entering and leaving a house by different doors in Greek culture, walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors, throwing rocks into the wind in Navajo culture, and the sight of ravens in Western culture.
Lucky charms work
In 2010, a research paper by Damisch, Stoberock and Mussweiler, was published in Psychological Science, the journal of the Association for Psychological Science. “I watch a lot of sports . .” said Lysann Damisch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Cologne in Germany, “and I noticed that very often athletes hold superstitions.” For example, Tiger Woods used to wear a red shirt on tournament Sundays, usually the last and most important day of a tournament. Damisch wondered why sportsmen did such things. She thought that a belief in superstition might help people do better by improving their confidence. So, with her colleagues Barbara Stoberock and Thomas Mussweiler, she designed a set of experiments to see if activating people’s superstitious beliefs would actually improve their performance on a task.
In one of the experiments, volunteers were told to bring a lucky charm with them. Then the researchers took it away to take a picture. Half of the volunteers were given their charm back before the test started; the other half were told there was a problem with the camera and they would get it back later. Volunteers who had their lucky charm did better in a series of tests. They felt more confident and set higher goals for themselves.
Indeed, simply wishing someone good luck was shown to improve their success at a task. “This is especially true in situations where people feel a bit insecure and thus want to gain some confidence . . for example, before a tournament, an exam, a job interview, an audition. Our results suggest that it is helpful to have a little lucky charm close by,” said Damisch.
So, once again we have research showing that having some kind of lucky charm really can improve performance . . by increasing self-confidence and faith.
On the whole, we have stocked our Good Luck Gift Shop with gifts aimed at reinforcing such belief or inspiration. Just one example: We have a lot of gifts in our shop to wish good luck to travellers and pilgrims. By giving someone a gift to wish them good luck travelling, you can constantly REMIND them to be on the lookout for opportunities (as well as dangers). When friends or loved-ones are travelling, they are not at home, so they don’t have their usual things about their person. But what they will have, is your good luck gift – whatever that might be: A St Christopher bracelet, a Saint James necklace, Lucky Horseshoe earrings, a Scallop Shell charm from El Camino de Santiago, or even a simple Latin cross, acting as a constant reminder of their purpose and desires, destinations and goals. This good luck gift can also be a fallback if things go bad, especially when it is symbolic of an already-held faith or belief.
All the gifts in our shop have a particular resonance in this respect. They are gifts with real meaning . . gifts that inspire belief, gifts with with soul, gifts for good luck.
Research shows that having some kind of lucky charm really can improve performance and good luck . . by increasing self-confidence and faith.