A Conditioned Superstitious Person
Posted: May 2, 2014
I have never considered myself as a superstitious person. But after some deep thought, I realized that I do wear certain clothes, perform a particular routine on the golf course or prepare for a major sales presentation in a way that indicates that I am, in fact, a bit superstitious.
I have not conducted a scientific poll, but I would imagine a number of men I know wear a particular tie or shirt when they want to feel like they are at their best for an important presentation. Likewise, even though I haven't golfed much the past two years, I always line up my putts the same way and make sure the logo on my golf ball is aimed directly at the hole. It hasn't helped me make many putts, but I feel better doing the routine.
I read somewhere that people who were given a golf ball they were told was lucky made 35 percent more of their putts than people with a "regular " ball.
I am what researchers call a "conditioned superstitious" person. This is when people, like me, believe there is something we can do to control a situation, despite there being no rational reason to think so. Conditioned superstition is so common that entire advertising campaigns have been built around the phenomena. I remember the Bud Light commercial where a sports fan was forcing down a terrible-tasting veggie burger because his team won the last time he did so.
I do not believe in Friday the 13th, crossing my fingers for good luck or black cats. But statistics indicate that airlines feel the pinch on Friday the 13th. Some 10,000 fewer people fly on Friday the 13th compared with a normal Friday. I happen to like the two black cats that live at my house, mostly because they spend most of their time outside.
I once had a pool cue that I thought brought me good luck. It was a Schmelke, made in Haugen,WI. I used it during the mid-1990s in a number of billiards tournaments and had great success with the stick.
One night, I allowed my left-handed playing partner to share the cue as we played two other guys. After a few hours of winning, I told my friend that he could buy the cue from me because he was also left-handed. And, since the pool cue was for lefties only, he would continue to have great success with the cue. It wasn't until the next day that he realized that pool cues aren't made for righties or lefties. At least he wasn't superstitious.
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