Luck as a belief system: Why bird poo is not good luck

Everything happens for a reason.

It’s a phrase that’s said on a regular basis. As human beings, we like to understand and see patterns – to comprehend. Of course, we have numerous studies to help us with that. We have numerous languages in the world, and the ‘humanities’ subjects taught us about different religions (Religious Studies), the past (History) and the world we live in (Geography). But sometimes, things happen and we don’t know why. It may happen with or without our input, but either way, we say it happens for a reason. In order to comprehend the phenomena, we call it ‘fate’ and – depending on the outcome – we consider it good luck or bad luck. Whilst I think ‘fate’ is very much a real concept, I believe luck is nothing more than a belief system – designed to preserve our self-esteem.

The idea for this post came to me during a discussion with two fellow bloggers (The Nerdy Me and Kirsty Talks), and it reminded me a lot of a Derren Brown show I saw as part of his series, The Experiments. In The Secret of Luck, a rural town is made to believe that a statue of a dog is ‘good luck’. Of course, the dog isn’t ‘lucky’ at all, but by believing it and visiting the statue, people went on to achieve positive outcomes. Since watching the show, this idea of luck has been something I’ve believed in. I should also stress: if you believe in luck, then that is completely your decision. After all, it is a concept you believe in and I respect that. These are just my thoughts…

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate my stance on the issue is with an example. First of all, I’ll take the scenario of a bird defecating on someone’s head – as the title of this post humorously mentions.

Whilst the fact that this bird, at that specific moment, chose to do its business on a certain individual’s head is unexplained (fate), that person cannot then say that it is luck. First of all, our interpretation of luck comes from our own actions. If I found that repeating a certain action led to a positive or negative consequence, then I would either continue or stop doing that action. In the case of the bird poo, it’s either that the individual desperately searches for an example where someone has benefited from having bird faeces on them, or – more likely – they consider it good luck because we need cheering up. Bless them.

Therefore, I think luck is there solely to protect our self-esteem. After all, we like to feel happy (who doesn’t?) and so we do anything to protect that. This is why I stressed earlier that if you believe in luck, that’s OK. It’s whatever makes you happy, after all.

Do you believe in luck? Does everything happen for a reason? Comment below!

Liam

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22 thoughts on “Luck as a belief system: Why bird poo is not good luck

    • Admittedly, the title was a bit ‘click-baity’… Haha!

      Thanks for your thoughts! I think one idea I forgot to mention is that it is also used as a motivational tool as well as a preserver of our self-esteem. If you want to get work done, luck can be a good motivator!

      Thanks again for inspiring this post and for commenting!

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  1. There is a saying “Whatever happens, will happens” or “What will not happen, will not happen”.

    Certain actions will increase the chances of a bird poo on the head, such walking under the usual flight path of pigeons at certain times of day when the bird has digested and pass out its poo. No chance of this at nighttime!

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    • Oh absolutely, it’s the actions we take which determine these things, on most occasions.

      More often that not, we then blame that decision for being the cause of good or bad luck. That’s how we get superstitions. For example, if we took a certain bus and it led to something bad happening, we would blame the bus when it is actually our own decision to go on that specific bus.

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      • Just in general life. If someone was to buy a lottery ticket after being pooed on by a bird, and then won, what would you say that is?
        I totally agree that the decisions made increase or decrease your chances of good things happening

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting! I would still say that it is fate because everything happens for a reason. If, after that event, I saw it as good luck (which I probably would – let’s be honest I’d need cheering up. Haha!) this would then lead to me buying a ticket.

        I suppose you should call it coincidence. But even with the lottery something happened (what, we don’t know) which led to those balls being chosen. It is then also your decision as to which numbers you choose. Sure, the numbers might have been a random choice, but there is still a decision element involved.

        If we were to win, we’d see it as luck because of the bird, not because by ‘coincidence’ we chose those specific numbers.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really interesting topic! I’m not sure I believe in ‘luck’ as such, but I do think that positive actions lead to positive outcomes. For instance, if I want something positive to happen (or something negative not to happen) I’ll do my best to be positive & do good things. Hasn’t worked on winning the lottery just yet but as for everything else, it certainly does no harm! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Maeve! I’m thrilled you found it interesting!

      Oh absolutely. As I said to a fellow commenter, ‘luck’ is also a great motivator and it kind of works alongside a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you will fail in an exam, there’s no doubt that you will because of the negative thinking. I think ‘luck’ has just become a scapegoat for our own fortunate (and misfortunate) actions.

      Thanks for commenting, Maeve!

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  3. I totally agree! If you did something wrong, which could have been prevented by a different action, then by the very definition of ‘luck’, there was no ‘chance alone’ involved. Every decision we make is by our own actions and not by mere chance only. However if something is out of our hands, for example questions on an exam paper, then it is ‘luck’ to whether they are the ones we can answer at that time or not. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh absolutely! In terms of the exam paper, I suppose so. Although, that decision comes from the person writing the questions. We consider it ‘lucky’ because there’s an unknown factor – this ‘unknown’ factor being the question setter choosing those questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with the idea that ‘luck’ is a belief system. Luck requires chance, and as every effect must have a cause, then chance does not exist. As the concept of ‘luck’ has no evidence it is automatically considered to be a belief.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a bit hackneyed, but I’m all about making your own luck – it’s a positive mental attitude/placebo thing – the terminally unlucky expect little and perhaps strive for less than the ‘lucky’ – who perhaps are actually just maximising opportunities and more likely to try and open new doors?

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    • Oh absolutely! My, I hadn’t thought of that and you’re absolutely right! The placebo effect is essentially believing in something which isn’t there, so it’s very much the same when it comes to luck. Luck can have a placebo effect and creates self-fulfilling prophecies – it’s an intriguing belief system.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

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