Why it's not a good idea to walk below a ladder (Psychological analysis)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

I don't believe in superstition

First of all let me begin by making it clear that i don't believe in all kinds of superstition. I don't think that a black cat can bring me bad luck, the number 13 for me is like any other number and i don't mind passing under a ladder if no one was working on it (For safety reasons).

So why do i think that it's not a good idea to walk below a ladder when i don't believe in superstitions?
In fact i don't just advise you not to do it but i also strongly recommend that you avoid challenging any of the common superstitions.

To answer that question let me first give you a brief idea about superstitions and how they develop. Walking under a ladder is a relatively unsafe action. The person working on the leader might drop something on you, drops of paints might stain your clothes or even worse you could accidentally make the person on the ladder fall if you hit it.

Many superstitions arise when some kind of a risky activity results in misfortunes. Because the human mind always wants an explanation even if it's irrational people started to associate walking under ladders with bad luck.

Of course there are other theories why walking under a ladder is considered back luck that has nothing to do with safety but i am just referring to the fact that humans can be very irrational.

Why it's not a good idea to walk below a ladder (Psychological analysis)

The reason i strongly recommend that you don't challenge any of the popular superstitions is related to the way your mind works. Let's suppose that you decided to bust the myth of the unlucky number 13 by taking an important decision on Friday 13th.

In such a case your mind will start to get more tuned to every single bad event that might happen to you even if you don't believe in the bad luck of no13. As a result an ordinary even that happens frequently can be perceived as bad luck. (see How your beliefs and concerns affect your perception)

And while one single event will hardly change your beliefs the series of clues your mind will pick might actually let you end up believing in the bad luck of number 13.

If you have an old car that breaks down often then you might believe that Friday 13 is an unlucky day if it broke down on it. The same exactly might happen if the car broke down the day you decided to bust that myth.

Our Subconscious minds filter the data that doesn't match our beliefs and collects data that proves our beliefs true. Now here is an important fact about the mind: A statement ,even if it was not turned into a belief yet, can cause the same effect.

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that a child who was told that he is dumb might start looking for clues to prove that belief true even if he didn't fully believe in it.

Bad things happen all the time

Life is anything but perfect and bad things happen all the time to all people. If you decided to challenge a superstition then make sure you count the bad events that happen to you on a regular day because if you didn't do that then the same events will be interpreted in a different way once you put your mind in the state of challenging a myth.

In my previous article Why do people consider Friday 13th unlucky i said that people sometimes believe in Friday 13ths bad luck because they unconsciously want to believe that they are safe on all other days of the year.

Our desire to be in control, our hard wired need to find proper explanations and our lack of knowledge can always let us fall prey to superstitions. This is why i said that it's not a good idea to challenge popular myths unless you know what you are doing.

So what about my personal beliefs? Apart from psychology i believe that Luck comes from God and nothing else.

2knowmyself is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

The Solid confidence program was launched by 2knowmyself.com; the program will either help you become more confident or give you your money back.

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