I almost entitled this blog post with a smart-alecky reference to that still relevant and catchy Stevie Wonder song. But then I realized such a headline might launch this week’s post into blogging purgatory, so I refrained. In honor of the Ides of March doing the heavy lifting for Friday the 13th this month, I thought you might enjoy learning more about the fascinating world of business superstitions.
So, I conducted a quick and dirty survey with some businesspeople I know. I found out that some of these friends perform rituals they think prevent them from making costly professional mistakes. And so, where there is a blogging need, I will fill it. Et tu, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Warren Buffet?
Lucky Charms Are Not Just for Breakfast: It turns out that many business owners and professionals have superstitions or rituals they follow when future success sings her siren song. Some of my dearest business friends either wear or carry upon them trinkets of belief when they’re heading into an important meeting or presentation.
Some of these good luck charms include a power tie and suit, a pair of well-preserved shoes, a miniature owl from Epcot Center (for wisdom), and a slip of paper from a Chinese fortune cookie:
“The eyes believe themselves; the ears believe other people.”
Forget Whistling Past the Graveyard – Don’t Ever Do It Indoors: Apparently, Russians are a notoriously superstitious group of people. If you know a business owner of Russian descent, I’ll wager they never whistle while working indoors. Ever! According to my research, whistling indoors (or in your car) is a nyet-nyet, not a da. If you do it, you will frighten the guardian angels protecting your home or business, which will result in financial problems. So if you need to whistle a happy tune, consider doing it outside…
Seven is a Marketing Coup, but Thirteen is Invisible: In the business world, these numbers have impacted everything from marketing to physical structures. The number seven is considered lucky in Western cultures and has been used in creative advertising campaigns. The number thirteen generates a Pavlovian response like no other, especially in our American culture.
Surely you’ve been in a hotel or office building where the 13th floor has been sandblasted from existence. And on Friday the 13th, some people think twice about making important decisions. Very superstitious!
The Stock Market Doesn’t Open and Close – It Rises and Sets: I was somewhat shocked to find an article correlating previous solar eclipses with lower-than-average stock returns, but find it I did. Would you believe my source is a blog network affiliated with the lofty Harvard Business Review? And that someone from the Copenhagen Business School compiled eclipse occurrences (from 1928 to 2008) and matched her data against four American stock indices?
Go on, read the article for yourself, and then beware your financial investments during the next partial eclipse!
What lucky rituals or superstitions do you faithfully follow before an important business milestone or event? Do you truly believe your behavior brings about the desired result? Or is it just a way to calm your nervous thoughts and remain positive regarding what’s about to happen to you and your business? Whatever the answer, I’ll be sure to send you a lucky bamboo plant to keep the good karma flowing…
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Call her (856-810-9764) or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a no-obligation project quote today!
I once stayed in a hotel in San Francisco that not only did not have a 13th floor, none of the room numbers had the number 13 in them. When I was assigned to room 1414 on the 14th floor, I secretly smiled at my good luck, since I was actually in Room 1313.
Thanks for stopping by the Moonlight Blog. Your San Francisco hotel story validates what my research revealed for this blog post – the number 13 is perceived as bad for business! Despite 21st century advancements in medicine and technology, we human beings continue to find comfort (and profit?) in particular beliefs and rituals…