Wishes, Lucky Charms and Magical Thinking

Wishes, Lucky Charms and Magical Thinking

Riding along in the morning, I watched the lumps and bumps of the clouds’ gray edges. Though it looked like there ought to be, I knew there wouldn’t be any rain. After all, I had said out loud to no one in particular – stay away, rain. So, of course, it would.

The idea that the rain would stay away was bolstered by my having looked at the weather the night before – but beyond that, there is a part of me that sometimes subscribes to magical thinking.

Sitting here at my computer, I can logically dismantle magical thinking as ridiculous. But, unguarded and unchecked, when my mind is wandering, I still fall into the habit of thinking well, if I just … maybe, … will happen. As if my actions have any influence on the workings of the universe at large.

Wishing is probably the most ubiquitous kind of magical spell around, the unreasonable expectation that your thoughts have force and energy to act on the world.
– Psychology Today

I do this type of thinking when I’m planning a road trip. My default is to think everything will be perfect – everything from the weather, my feelings, to my interactions with people. Everything’s gonna be alright. And, for the most part – that’s how it usually goes.

Do I wish the outcome of a trip into being? Or am I really just adaptable or a glass half full kinda girl? Though I invariably meet challenges, each trip is dusted with a sparkle of perfection. When times get tough or things don’t happen as expected, I’m inclined to resort to “meant to be” or “blessing in disguise” thinking, and keep moving towards a silver lining.

If I believe my socks are lucky, are they? Apparently, there’s something to it. But in the end, the magical thing… is you. Your power, your perseverance, your drive, and positivity. You are your own lucky charm.

 The influence of the charm depends crucially on your belief in its inherent powers. Once you acknowledge that performance is a function of what goes on in your brain rather than a product of any mystical properties of the object itself, it becomes useless. That feeling of “I can do this” will wither away as soon as you realize that nothing external, nothing mystical, will influence how you perform – it’s just you and your abilities.
– Scientific American

7 Replies to “Wishes, Lucky Charms and Magical Thinking”

  1. You ended with a quote from Scientific American, which I reread several times. IMO, it’s a bunch of BS doubletalk. There is so much we have little or no control of, and we do the best we can with what we have. Plan and hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and deal with what happens. That’s life. Bob

    1. They’re saying that there really isn’t any actual power in a “lucky thing.” the power is always within you to do better – at least with the regard to the tests they were doing in that article. people’s belief in the charm makes them perform better. it is never the charm itself, it is you. What it amounts to is that people trick themselves into performing better. what’s BS about that?

      1. Sorry, but that’s not what I take away from that quote. Maybe it would make more sense to me in the context of the article. I’ll look for it. Meanwhile, we can agree to disagree.

          1. Yep, found it and read it several times. I stand by my original statement. I find the article full of contradictions. Sorry.

  2. “The sparkle of perfection…” Love that phrase. Fits well with magical thinking. I think many suffer that delusion — riders and others.

    An interesting topic. While easy to use the mature mind to explain, dismiss or categorize the processes, I feel that magical thinking is more in line with reclaiming the precocious child within us. That little flame that is slowly extinguished as we become participants in a world of expectations, rules and boundaries. Escaping in to wishing and magical charms is that child screaming to get out, if only for a moment, and let us experience the world in a different way.

    I have no lucky socks. Utter nonsense. I have a lucky pen. It’s real and performs magic. And I have magical boots, a powerful pocket knife, and can, when necessary, leave my body to scout the unseen road ahead.

    I wish this happened more often. I like talking to that kid who used to scrounge the neighborhood for old lumber to build the fort of forts. Or make plans to drift in an inner tube from Pittsburgh to the Gulf of Mexico.

    In the meantime, until that child shows up again, as you say, I’ll have to be my own lucky charm.

    Your posts of late are pretty thought inspiring. Did you wash those socks in magic water or something?

    1. 🙂 no, no magic water here.

      I like that idea of the kid you’re talking about, the one who sees everything as possible. I knew a kid like that once. Anything was possible and nothing else mattered but whatever that “anything” was.

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