How foolish can you get?
That was the one year challenge Stevyn Cogan posed to himself. He shared the his findings in a world premiere talk titled “What’s Luck Got To Do With It?” with the High Wycombe ‘Skeptics in a Pub’. I share a pint here periodically especially since ‘scepticism’ is a pet topic here (being the ‘embrace of knowledge’s failure). Cogan embraced the wild and diverse superstitions of Luck. The subject itself was another plus for me since if there is one word that underpins most of the material on this site it is ‘Risk’. Cogan mapped out a semi-scientific, fully tongue-in-cheek year study time-series study into the impact of various ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Bad Luck’ beliefs on his actual ‘Luck’. In good ‘Leader/Upside’ and ‘Manager/Downside’ style, he balanced the two out by embracing ‘Bad Luck’ one third of the month, ‘Good Luck’ one third of the month, and ‘status quo’ the final third of the month (sort of a crude ‘control group of observations’). He then examined how his ‘Luck’ fared over those periods.
He walked under hundreds of ladders and even got the local fire department to create the largest array of ladders one could assemble so that he could walk under them all at once. He even got creative in his pursuit of luck charms. The photo below shows him standing under one of the biggest ‘ladders’ in the world carved into the Bath cathedral. He nearly gave himself tendonitis walking around for 10 days with his fingers crossed.
The methodology was shaky and the result conclusive in the total lack of correlation between luck superstitions and luck outcomes. The best part was just his audaciously ambitious embrace of superstitions. He even researched superstitions to try out one that I had never even heard of like Cornish pixie statues and bizarre amulets.
Though perhaps he just didn’t give himself enough time for the luck dosage to take effect. I propose this conjecture based on his 10 days of eating Luck Charms cereal (see photo above). I consider myself to be a very ‘lucky’ individual though I would have to admit that I use this designation more in terms of a personal outlook and philosophy of optimisim and appreciation. Still, maybe it’s just a lifetime of eating Lucky Charms cereal. In fact, I’m in the USA and bringing home a fresh supply!
Good Luck All!