Good Luck Charm.


I was at the doctor’s yesterday getting a blood test. I’m anaemic and need to be tested every three months as occasionally my iron levels plummet and I become constantly light-headed and so fatigued I can barely get out of bed. As usual, even though I had an appointment, the surgery was crowded and the doctor was running behind schedule.

I settled in with some tacky magazines. The air conditioning in the surgery wasn’t working – the stuffiness was oppressive. I knew without having had the blood test that my iron levels were lower than usual because I was feeling whoosy and my vision was blurry. I think I misread some of the magazine headlines – is it true that Oprah is having an affair with Dr. Phil and that Paris Hilton tried to get an elephant drunk?

After waiting for over half an hour I got talking to a man sitting nearby. Martin was in his sixties and was waiting to get the results from a recent blood test. He was recovering from cancer. A good result from this test would indicate he was in remission. He had been through a terrible time with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation but believed he was lucky. ‘I’m going to recover completely,’ he said. He was planning a driving holiday around Australia to celebrate getting the all-clear.

Martin believed much of his luck was due to a talisman he carried in his pocket – a little cat made from silver. It was from a charm bracelet his mother wore as a child. Over time he had sold most of the charms but had always held on to the little cat. ‘She’s too special to let go,’ he said.

Martin placed the cat charm in the palm of my hand. It was heavier than I had expected and warm to the touch. The cat regarded me as if it could read my thoughts. If was strange, but I felt a form of energy coming from it. Could it be that Martin’s faith in it as a good luck charm had imbued it with some kind of power? Is the power of suggestion and strength of belief powerful enough to manifest good luck?

Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK believes our thoughts and behaviours are responsible for our good and bad fortune. He says lucky people generate good fortune due to four principles:

1. Skill at creating and noticing chance opportunities

2. making lucky decisions by listening to their intuition

3. creating self-fulfilling prophecies via positive expectations

4. adopting a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

Martin was called in to see the doctor. I couldn’t settle. I couldn’t be sure if the air was filled with promise or dejection. The receptionist laughed, talking on the phone, eyes alight as if talking to a lover. An elderly lady napped. A young guy kept looking at his watch, poised on the edge of his seat as if ready to take flight. A man with a crushed linen shirt and a three-day growth fussed with his Blackberry. The second hand on the clock on the wall refused to lighten the load of waiting. I became convinced it was moving backwards.

A door opened. Martin emerged. His face was unreadable. He paid his bill, shoulders held dead straight as a tin soldier. I was giddy with not being able to stand it.

Martin turned, gave me a wink. ‘I got the all clear,’ he cried. ‘I’m off around Australia.’ He held the little silver cat up above his head, victorious. She gleamed, glorious as starlight. I felt small against the vastness of his certitude.

Maybe Tennessee Williams was right when he said:

“Luck is believing you’re lucky.”

Maybe that belief is all we need to change the course of our destiny.

12 thoughts on “Good Luck Charm.

  1. That is a great quote and a great way to live. Why then again am I so unlucky though!!

    I have to have my blood tested every 2-4 weeks because I am on blood thinners for my artificial heart valve.


  2. “Luck is believing you’re lucky.”

    2.2.3 Luck
    “The last in the list of mistakes and misunderstandings is the gambler’s mistaken belief in “luck.” A disturbing result of the research of psychologist Willem Wagenaar shows that many people believe that chance and luck are different things.[26] People trust a lucky number, a lucky rabbit’s foot, or some other lucky thing to make them rich. Wagenaar and his associates found that people believed “You should wait until luck happens, and in that sense it is much like chance. On the other hand you can lose your luck easily by using it unwisely. You can also fail to utilise it, when it happens, for instance by not even noticing that this is your lucky day, or lucky deck, or lucky dealer. In this sense, the utilisation of luck is more like a skill.”[27] Many also believe that luck is more important than skill and more than twice as important as chance in determining the outcome of a gamble. In reality, most gambles are determined entirely by chance, with no influence of skill or luck. Yet greed makes us believe that there are moments when the universe or some cosmic force wants to make us richer.
    This belief in luck indicates a failure of parents and schools to teach the basic truths and facts necessary to avoid fraud and deception. Gamblers’ belief in luck and in the influence of skill in using their luck makes them susceptible to deception and manipulation by lotteries, casinos, racetracks and other gambling establishments.”
    Gambling: What are the Odds? Tyler J. Jarvis


  3. Paisley – I’m beginning to believe that more and more….

    Michael C – so glad you stopped by. I am honoured indeed. I also think I am unlucky – maybe that’s why I am (lightbulb goes on.) Hope the artificial heart valve is improving your health. Regular blood tests can be a hassle but at least they give us some material for our writing. The last nurse who took my blood was the most sour-faced, humourless person I have ever met. She told me to clench my fist. I thought she only meant for a second or two. When I unclenched she shouted: ‘I said clench your fist, don’t you understand English?’ I was afraid to argue because her eyes were bloodshot, she was spitting and holding a hypodermic needle.

    Meleah Rebeccah – that is so true!

    Laurie – maybe luck, faith and belief are interchangeable in some respects.

    Mis Britt – I do too. I spend too much time considering the possible negative outcomes.

    PWADJ – I am starting to believe it. Positive energy seems to have a power all of its own.

    David – so glad to see you back. I was beginning to worry. That quote is a pertinent one for me as my uncle lost his business and his home due to gambling. He bet more and more believing eventually his luck would change. It didn’t.


  4. Hoo boy. Groovy here to be totally politically incorrect and spoil the party of feel-goodedness. But I’ll keep it very brief or Selma will kick away my soapbox! :-O

    In a nutshell: There is a God who created us, who loves us and who is in Control. If we believe in HIM through the finished work of Jesus, then and only then does “belief” or “faith” have any merit. Belief and Faith and warm fuzzies without a reliable truth to back them up are a sham.


  5. Positive thinking can go a long way. I’ve been in waiting rooms on and of since this summer and I know I look at people sitting around and wonder what their stories are. One time I did have a lady strike up a conversation with me, something like Martin with you. She saw that I was nervous waiting for results and started talking to me saying that I’m young and have a whole life ahead of me, to think positive and no matter what to always have a smile, since she said that she couldn’t help notice my smile when she looked at me. Little did she know when I get nervous I tend to be giddy and have a nervous laugh/smile LOL! Even my best friend gave me a long talk about staying positive, that it will help me heal and recover. And you know what, I do have a different outlook, sure I get my low points and get scared but this positive energy does help – and good people too! I’m so glad Martin got good news, I never saw my lady since when I came out of the doctor’s office she wasn’t there anymore. I still wonder if she got good news, since her too she was waiting for an all clear. I hope she did…


  6. Groovy – you are right. I wish I had your strength of belief.

    tball – I hope the results you’ve had to wait for recently turned out to be O.K. Hope you are feeling better at the moment.

    Michael C – she was rude. I was a little afraid until I noticed she had lipstick on her teeth…..


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