Rabbit’s feet, four leaf clovers, and rain during sunshine are all signs of fortune and good luck. The good luck ritual of “knocking on wood” comes from pre-christian rituals in which it was considered important to invoke the powerful and benign influence of the tree gods.
Cats throughout history have been both powerful and good (ancient Egypt), and powerful and bad (medieval England). In the 1560’s in Lincolnshire England, the story goes that a father and son chased a black cat into an alley, and then threw stones at it before it escaped to the home of a nearby woman suspected of being a witch. The next day they returned to discover the woman limping with bruised legs, presumably from the stones the night prior. Thereafter it was believed witches could transform into black cats.
When a ladder is propped up against a wall a natural triangle is formed, symbolic of the holy Trinity. To walk under the ladder would break the Trinity, and therefore bring ill fortune. Yet numerous experiments demonstrate such superstitions have no real worldly effect. (Unless of course some higher power is influencing you – just watch BF Skinner get a pigeon to turn in circles in less than 60 seconds.)
In his book The Luck Factor, Richard Wiseman describes luck in terms of choice. In his research working with more than 400 individuals, he found several key attributes of those who describe themselves as “lucky”:
You too can create your own luck. People who consider themselves lucky put themselves in the position of having chance encounters that lead to interesting new possibilities and opportunities, see the upside of the experience, and harness the power of curiosity to be creative. Good luck!