Can Being Superstitious Help Your Career?
From Michael Jordan always wearing shorts from his alma mater (North Carolina) underneath his Bulls uniform to Tiger Woods donning a red shirt on Sundays during tournaments, athletes are known for their share of quirky rituals designed to bring good luck or ward off bad luck. But they aren’t the only ones. According to a Gallup poll, about half of us are superstitious. We may knock on wood, fret over a black cat crossing the path, or avoid the number 13. Likewise, we may carry a good luck penny or have a pair of lucky socks reserved for important occasions.
Silly? Perhaps. Attributing success or failure to an external object may defy basic logic. After all, Jordan probably would have been one of basketball’s all-time greats even without his Tar Heels apparel, and hours upon hours spent perfecting his moves certainly had more to do with his success than what he wore.
But as this article notes, superstitions may give people an edge -- not because they have magical powers but because they generate an increase in performance. Believing that the rabbit’s foot in your pocket will make your presentation go better may give that added boost needed to make you shine. “In other words, when it comes to tasks whose outcome depends on our performance, believing that some other power is helping us actually does help us — not because such external powers exist, but because our belief in them enhances our confidence, which translates into real-world differences in persistence.”
So go ahead and sport your lucky necklace the next time you go to a job interview. Cross your fingers at the doorway before heading into a performance review. The comfort and psychological advantage may be just what you need to achieve what you want.