Why Superstition is Good for You

Believing in superstition can do us good.

What’s wrong with observing a little superstitious ritual if it makes us feel stronger and more determined, if we feel that luck is on our side?

It doesn’t cost anything to consult the horoscope, a formidable source of optimism, nor to keep our talisman in our pocket, if it helps us to challenge fortune.


A strategy to hook luck

When we always wear the same garment to face an exam (the same one we wore that time we did very well), we are using a tool to hook an aspect of luck, thinking we are bringing good luck on our side.

It’s a very common attitude, originating in very ancient rituals, that has nothing to do with people’s intelligence or rationality. In that moment we use selective attention: we remember only those times that it went well and we tend to discard those in which it did not work.


Luck by our side gives us more energy

Feeling luck at our side can help us to be more active, to have more energy to spend, so the effect is positive.

Even those who have a lot of faith are favored: feeling supported on the unconscious level gives more strength.

There can also be a negative side, be careful: to rely too much on luck, can decrease the sense of responsibility. In any case, we must carefully consider how much to contract out to fate.

Several studies tell us that people who consider themselves lucky invest a lot of energy in their activities, while those who consider themselves unlucky, thinking that everything will go wrong, invest rather in risk prevention.

So, feeling luck on our side gives us energy and galvanizes, bad luck on the other hand makes us take a fatalistic and depowering attitude.


An additional resource in times of uncertainty

A pinch of superstition is therefore an additional resource to draw upon, being careful not to be ruled by the ritual, not to be its slave (what if I don’t have it?), but to govern it. Just as sportsmen do when they touch the ball in a certain way, they respect a ritual that helps them to concentrate and summon good strength. In historical periods in which uncertainty prevails, such as this one we are living through, when confidence in the possibility of affecting reality wavers, we are tempted to refer to magical thinking. It’s a creative way to ally ourselves with unconscious forces that can support us.

As long as it doesn’t come at the expense of intention and determination.


Magical thinking helps activate unconscious resources

Let’s not be ashamed of magical thinking. If anything it’s illusory to think we can control everything always and only with reason.

It’s important to have an elastic psychic structure that allows us to cross the border into the irrational, into self suggestion and therefore into the activation of unconscious resources.

It is important to understand what magical thinking is and to avoid its trashy drifts: I am thinking of tarots, of certain forms of gambling.

Instead, a ritual of mine, that I have chosen myself, that has a meaning for me, this can be a harmless advantage, I don’t see any contraindications.


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