We all go through life trying to figure out how to to make things go smoothly and in our favor. Sometimes we look for magical solutions or attempt to create our own. Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. In order to win games, some of them carry special trinkets, listen to the same song every time before they go to bat, adjust their clothing in very particular ways, cross themselves in the Catholic tradition, etc.
Anthropologist George Gmelch explains that the baseball players are trying to reduce chance and their feelings of uncertainty, the most common way of doing so to develop and follow a daily routine. The baseball player’s skill level is pretty much the same night after night. Gmelch says, “He seldom attributes his success to skill alone.” On nights when the player performs exceptionally well, he is going to attempt to replicate those behaviors that led to that performance because he sees those actions as influencers on the outcome of his game.
Most of us are probably like these superstitious baseball players in some ways. We often don’t trust in our own skills to deliver a positive outcome, and there are other uncontrollable factors involved. In order to give ourselves confidence in our abilities and/or remind ourselves to trust in something divine, we develop routines, tote around good luck charms, rely on the perfect outfit, etc. to help the situation out.
At the end of his article, Gmelch concludes that if we really believe in something, it probably will help our performance. So magical acts and magical thinking are essentially tools to reduce our perception of risk and uncertainty, thus helping us think positively and get shit done… to live Bullishly! So how do we pick the right magical words, rituals, or objects to help boost our self-confidence and create magical outcomes?
Pick something, anything, and believe that it works. If Gmelch’s theory is correct, if you believe in something, it will help you. If your magic isn’t attracting good juju, go back to the Hogwarts drawing board and conjure up a different phrase or token or ritual that feels right and powerful to you.
For me personally, my catchall magical phrase is JUST DO IT! Definitely a snappy response for a Bullish life. I use it most when psyching myself up to go to the gym (because it is motivating, not because I’m wearing Nike), but it is also effective in other situations when I need a special mental boost. If I repeat “just do it” enough times to myself, like spell casting, the initial hesitation to start the task dissipates, and I have a greater feeling of self-determination. That is, in its essence, magical thinking. It’s for all situations and purposes! Even the gym.
You may have read Gala Darling’s blog about self-love. She is a big proponent of using magical tools such as crystals, tarot cards, and astrology to engage in decision making processes and increase self-esteem and positive energy. Crosses, as in the crucifixion variety, have been used as magical tools for at least two millennia. Lucky coins, heirloom jewelry, personal journals, four leaf clovers, fancy fountain pens, photos of ancestors, new sneakers, and Buddha figurines are all examples of objects we associate with magical properties. Rituals can include acknowledging or honoring these objects, or using words to conjure up some action and intention.
As far as words go, prayers, invocations, songs, mantras, slogans, blog posts, spells, motivational posters (and on and on) all use words infused with special meaning to reduce our fear of risk and boost our self-assuredness. Oprah is into conversations about Higher Power. Deepak Chopra is into iPhone app mediation. Jesus is into individual and group prayer. Gabrielle Bernstein is into Instagram quotes. Tim Ferris is into life hacking. Jen Dziura and the GetBullish ladies are into Bullish advice and discussing how to create a badass, gentelwomanly life. These are all valid methods of tapping into magic… if you believe in them! I suggest picking some magic, especially of the Bullish variety, believing in it, and seeing what works for you. If one of these voodoo tactics isn’t your cup of magical mushroom tea, just move on to the next!
What magical words, rituals, or objects do you use to make yourself feel more badass and give yourself confidence in your abilities?