Why is misfortune sometimes necessary?

Superstition: How it affects behavior

Superstition For most of them this means black cats and other bad omen that herald a disaster. Skeptics even consider it complete nonsense, regardless of whether it is negative superstition or a lucky charm that is supposed to help with upcoming tasks. Nevertheless, it can be observed again and again how superstition influences people's behavior - after all, many people are superstitious. We show which superstitions are particularly widespread, why people rely on lucky charms in the first place and how superstition can have an effect ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Superstition: Everyone has their own personal lucky charm

Lucky charms come in a wide variety of forms: For some, it's a chain, a ring, a small photo in your pocket, a bracelet with a pendant or even a small cuddly toy from which you hope for the necessary support. But what actually turns an item into a personal lucky charm?

On the one hand, the associated emotion plays a major role. So it can be something that has been in our possession for a very long time and to which we therefore have a strong bond. Or it is a gift from someone you are close to, whereby a simple object can have a special individual meaning.

Also be lucky charms gladly selected according to their special appearance, something that not everyone has, is preferred by many people as a talisman. On the other hand, however, it also shows that lucky charms first of all prove their effectiveness must before you really start using them on a regular basis.

You can often see this with fans of a sports club, for example. If your own team won when you wore a certain scarf or only sat in front of the television twice in a row in the same seat, this is simply declared a lucky spot, which almost guarantees another victory.

Doesn't do anything anyway some will think now, but one should not condemn superstition quite so hastily. For example, a Cologne study showed that lucky charms and superstition actually improve performance can. The trials - in the study the participants were supposed to play golf - clearly showed that the test subjects who were allowed to take their lucky charm with them achieved significantly better results than those who had to put their talisman aside beforehand.

Most of all, the researchers note that the lucky charms become one greater stamina and the participants did not give up so quickly like the control group.

When do we rely on superstition, lucky charms & Co.?

Superstitions and good luck charms are rarely discussed openly, but many people have their own personal rituals and the superstition that they bring good luck or provide a small advantage. As a rule, however, these do not occur in everyday life, but only used in special situations.

In addition to the widespread superstitions such as a black cat, the four-leaf clover or a chimney sweep, most people turn to their lucky charms, especially in situations of great uncertainty, and turn to superstition.

That could be an important exam at school or university, an interview for the job we want so badly, the lottery drawing, or an outstanding diagnosis from the doctor.

In addition to the lack of control, the second crucial factor is the importance of the matter. The more insecure we are and the more important something is to us, the more likely it is that we will rely on superstition and lucky charms.

One hopes for that way To regain control to a certain extent and still be able to influence things - which can definitely work, as the example of the job search shows, which also works in exams, where a lucky charm can lead to better results, because the excitement decreases, you work more concentrated and you are not so easily disturbed even when there are difficulties.

Common superstitions: what brings good luck or bad luck?

There are all sorts of superstitions that can differ from region to region and country to country. In East Asia, especially China and Japan, the superstition that the number 4 brings bad luck is widespread. This goes so far that there is no fourth floor in houses, elevators also do without it, so the third floor is followed by the fifth floor and no 4 is used for room numbers.

This superstition is rarely found in Europe, but there are many other superstitions that are supposed to bring either luck or bad luck. We have the most common and best known summarized for you:

These superstitions are said to bring bad luck

  • Break a mirror

    The consequences of a broken mirror are not to be underestimated - at least if you take superstition seriously. If you break a mirror, you have to reckon with seven years of bad luck. With your own broken mirror image, the soul should also break and take care of the upcoming misfortune.

  • Friday the 13th.

    It's the worst day for superstitious people: on a Friday the 13th, everything goes wrong that can somehow go wrong. Some try to avoid this by taking as little action as possible, staying at home and by no means putting important things on this date.

  • Congratulate early

    Is a friend's birthday coming up? You should think about this, but do not congratulate yourself until the day starts. This is supposed to bring bad luck to superstition, which is why many birthday children do not want to hear congratulations until the clock announces the first minute of the birthday.

  • Go under ladders

    The ladder of a construction site is leaning against the wall. Quickly scurrying through is not an option for superstitious people, they prefer to take a little detour to go around the outside of the ladder. Anyone who goes under a ladder is said to be a magical attraction to evil.

  • Do not look in the eyes when bumping into it

    A particularly bitter superstition for lovers: If you don't look your counterpart in the eye when toasting, you should have bad sex for seven years. Hardly anyone wants to take the risk, so it's better to keep eye contact.

These superstitions are said to bring good luck

  • shards

    If it is not a question of the broken pieces of a mirror, broken pieces are said to bring good luck. Especially when it comes to porcelain, you don't have to be angry, but rather, according to superstition, you can look forward to future happiness. On the bachelorette party before weddings, a lot of porcelain is broken for the bride and groom in order to wish a long and happy marriage.

  • Knock on wood

    This superstition leads many people to knock on wood three times to bring happiness. In the Ruhr area, this superstition goes back to miners who knocked to check whether the wooden beams underground were still of good quality. Other traditions speak of seamen and sailors tapping the mast of a ship to see if the wood is still holding.

  • chimney sweeper

    Seeing a chimney sweep on the street is said to bring good luck. If you need even more luck, you should touch a chimney sweep. There is also a real background behind this superstition: in the past, the chimney sweep used his work to reduce the risk of fire in houses. When the chimney sweep came, disaster was actually averted.

  • Shamrocks

    There are many clover leaves, only the four-leaf variant should bring luck. The superstition stems from the fact that this type of clover leaf is particularly rare in nature - so it takes a lot of luck to find one.

  • Throw salt over your shoulder

    Spilling salt is said to bring bad luck and bad luck. If, on the other hand, it is thrown over the left shoulder, the effect should be reversed and bring luck.

How superstition affects our behavior

Are you being influenced by superstition? Some agree, but for most the instinctive answer is first I? No, definitely not ... After all, you are proud of your self-determination and your rationality, superstition does not fit into your self-image.

In fact, however very many people superstitious - only the intensity varies. For example, surveys and studies show that more than a third of people believe that finding a coin brings good luck - in the past people spoke of the lucky penny, today it is the lucky penny.

That alone leads to one Influencing behaviorif you - consciously or unconsciously - prefer to go around the outside of the ladder or knock on the table quickly when an illness is mentioned in order to prevent your own health from suffering. But it goes further, because superstition can grow both positive and negative affect your own actions.

On the one hand, it can make you more confident and successful. With superstition behind you, you are more optimistic, believe in being able to do anything and actually achieve more.

Unfortunately, there can also be downsides, when the superstition is exaggerated. This is always the case when you begin to harm yourself with your behavior. For example, people with gambling addiction and problems often show a connection to superstition.

Instead of quitting, you bet on your lucky charms and may lose more and more until it's too late. Also, worse or even dangerous decisions can be based on superstition, if you base your choice mainly on certain signals and ignore other facts.

Why do we believe superstition at all?

How superstition can work is shown particularly clearly by the example of the well-known Unfortunate day Friday the 13th. At least a week in advance, most people know that there will be another one, so you prepare yourself for it inwardly. But is there any reason for that? Statistically not, because if the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, it will happen no more and no fewer accidents than on other days. But how can it be that such superstitions persist and that almost everyone has a story ready that happened on that day of all times?

Guilt is the so-called Confirmation bias or in German, the confirmation error. This perception error means that we unconsciously look for information that confirms our assumptions and then remember them better. In concrete terms: We just forget the myriad of opportunities, where nothing happened, but still remember exactly how we stumbled on a Friday the 13th.

Added to this is the effect of self-fulfilling prophecy. If you are superstitious, you will probably find yourself in a situation that confirms your premonition. If you just wait for something negative to happen on Friday the 13th, you will surely find something or even subconsciously contribute to it yourself. What remains is the feeling of having always known - and the superstition continues to grow.

This is how superstition affects your job search

Does the job search really only depend on hard facts? Curriculum vitae, qualifications, recommendations, grades, motivation ... All of these things are certainly important in order to land the coveted job, but here too the Superstition plays an important role play.

Because: That own appearance and the way in which you present yourself to the HR manager has a great influence on the subsequent decision when awarding a job. Self-confidence is mentioned again and again as a particularly important characteristic. Not only do HR managers feel it immediately when a confident candidate is sitting across from you - applicants themselves also feel completely different when they believe in themselves.

The effect: With your own lucky charm in your pocket, you tend to believe that you really have a chance at the job. One exudes greater security, can present oneself better and thus actually increases the probability of a successful job search. So everyone can think what they want from superstition, but what is certain is that it has noticeable effects that should be used for yourself.

And what does that mean for you and your personal job search? Of course, you could look for a personal lucky charm, always have it with you when looking for a job and hide it in your pocket during the interview. But this is neither particularly practical nor necessary, because you can use the underlying effects and the associated positive benefits for yourself in other ways.

All you need is one small piece of paper and a pen. Write down what drives you, what your goal is and your motivation to achieve it. You can either hang this piece of paper in a place where you will see him regularly or you can just put it in your pocket and know that you will always have it with you.

Do you feel insecurity arise in you, just put your hand on the pocket, remember the little note and of course what it says and you will immediately feel stronger and master the interview better.

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