When we wish you a happy new year filled with lots of good luck, we’re being literal: Grab that pair of lucky socks you wore when you scored your first high school soccer goal and listen up. Studies have shown that good luck charms actually work.
When the tasks at hand require some sort of skill, hard work, or fortitude, good luck charms have been proven to actually increase the rates of success. Some test subjects in a study were told that golf balls were lucky, and some weren’t. The recipients of “lucky” balls performed 35% better than the control group.
If At First You Don’t Succeed… Try, Feel Lucky, And Try Again
Although we might be tempted to slack off and let the magic of luck do its work, special charms tend to make people feel more confident and work harder for the things they want, since they’re more convinced of their potential to succeed. This is effect, which has been noticed in world-famous athletes like Serena Williams, has been shown in both physical tasks like golf putting and mental tasks like memorization and spelling. Suffice it to say, our minds are powerful tools. Regardless of whether the charm is really magical, that reassurance tends to help people open up and face risks, which translates to bigger successes.
Fortune Favors The Flexible
In our discussions with readers and experts, we’ve consistently found that feeling nervous in general often causes people to close up, stick to safe routines, and avoid additional danger. Of course, we also know that investing and managing money well requires at least some healthy risk—if you only invest in things that are safe, you may find yourself with a safe but far-too-tiny sum when you hit retirement. Similarly, sticking to a set routine can feel comforting, but new possibilities are born from serendipity and taking healthy chances. So, in 2011, take the plunge and start investing like you’ve been meaning to, accept a date with that friend-of-a-friend, and carry yourself with openness and confidence. Whether physical or mental, your good luck charm is you.
Think about how you can open yourself up to new possibilities in 2011: Take a different route home from work, go out to drinks with new acquaintances, accept an invitation you’d normally decline, or finally try out a networking group. Don’t go in with specific expectations, but remember that mixing up your routine will put you in contact with different people and give luck a runway. Your fortuitous new acquaintance could always lead you to the next side project, job opportunity, friendship, or more. Whether or not you see immediate results, play the numbers game and remember that the more you put yourself out there, the higher your odds of success.
With or without those smelly socks, luck is on your side.