A while back I read an interesting article about superstitions. If I recall, it was from the Wall Street Journal, or the Washington Post. Anyway, the ideas have come back to me. The article, defined superstitions as associations made with habits, or the acquisition of objects, for a desired outcome, or to prevent an undesirable outcome. When we hear of a habit, that could bring good luck, we might say, “Oh, I think I’ll start doing that.”
Why do people develop these habits and superstitions? Well, the article suggests that these ideas give us the illusion of having control over a situation, or give us meaning, and psychological comfort. Sometimes they can even boost our performance. The discussion eluded to the negative aspect of having superstitions, and that is, that people who acquire them, are perfectionists, have a sense of helplessness, and a high need to feel in control. For example, many of us have good luck charms, and are not willing to part with them, for fear we have bad luck. The article also suggested that emotionally secure people tend not to have superstitious beliefs, and are able to cope without creating a system of habits, that run contrary to reasonable thinking.
Now, I will be the first to admit, that I do have habits, things I do, the way I think, and even a few good luck charms, which I want to keep around. On the other hand, it would be liberating to shed these things from my life, to adapt a more carefree and secure sense of being. Becoming a minimalist seems like one way to approach this way of being. Another is to begin to look at good personal characteristics within myself, to lean on, instead of these mental crutches, whether it be a thought pattern, or an object to have in my possession.
But really, do we want to throw the rabbit foot out into the garbage, or take away the upside down horseshoe over the doorway? All these symbols of good luck are like religious icons donning the churches. Which brings us to another topic of ways we think to cope. Well, maybe we want to keep the horseshoe up there to rust away, but trimming down anything that gets into the way of sound thinking and stability in life, sounds like a good idea to me. “I think I’ll start doing that.”