No matter how sophisticated our society becomes, superstitions persist in having an impact on success or failure. There seems to be part of the human mind that thrives on creating little anchors of “magic” that lift us up or bring us down independent of rationality. Though the clearly logical part of our thinking can easily dismiss the practice or belief in superstitious activity as silly quirks, our less rational creative mind goes to work incorporating whatever we feed it to gain or lose an edge in using faculties consistently engaged in solving problems.
Uncontrolled belief in superstitions can have a negative impact on how people conduct their lives. When applied in extremes, such thoughts can become destructive to the point of debilitation. Superstition can be passed down through generations or created on a purely individual level. Some of the older forms of superstition like walking under a ladder, stepping on cracks in pavement, spilling salt, breaking mirrors or other “bad omens” are examples of misguided beliefs that have long been a part of lore. There are also a host of traditional counter measures and lucky charms reported to counteract bad luck and turn it into good.
Some people prefer to practice more subtle forms of superstitious behaviors. Many professional athletes use a particular article of clothing to set their minds on creating a winning edge in competition. Similarly, average people use articles of clothing like a “lucky tie” or “lucky shirt” they wear whenever going out for a job interview or participating in some other event like gambling. Other people rely on astrology or other forms of irrational mental exercises to test for the right time to make a particular decision or perform certain actions.
Superstitious beliefs are tied to the supernatural or unpredictable side of events that are in the scope of things otherwise beyond our control. The difference between rational observation and superstitious practices is substantial. With rational observation, we can assess behaviors and methods that either work consistently or not. When the results are inconsistent, we can eliminate those influences that had no impact on outcome. On the other hand, superstition works completely on irrational belief systems where one successful mental correlation counteracts many unsuccessful results. If our mental “magic” seems to work once, we focus on attempting to recreate the success by trying to reproduce the same magic repeatedly.
There are few people in the world who approach life in a completely rational fashion. Each person carries around their own little bag of tricks that seems to serve them well over time. In general, everyone should use whatever positive edge they can find to enable their success, even if the methods are seemingly little more than smoke and mirrors. However, when these little bits of magic fail to help us achieve what we set out to do, it is essential for us to examine our approach as rationally as possible to change the things that may be contributing to our failures. One consistent fact about life is that things are constantly changing. If a current situation is unsatisfactory, this too will change when we take the right approach. Sometimes positive change is difficult to achieve, but it is certain that success will not be due to anything other than performing the right actions at the right time. Whatever we do in preparation for that appropriate timing should be practiced with a clear eye for cause and effect. Though our spiritual practices can provide us with comfort during difficult times and provide inspiration, it is how we interact with others and apply our inspirations which will carry us forward to beneficial results.